Daily Archives: 04/16/2012

“Need for Speed” speeds to the big screen

The only good thing about "Need For Speed:Undercover" - Maggie Q...

In news which might have seemed like a hot deal right after the release of “The Fast & The Furious” back in 2001 but which now seems like a case of Hollywood being predictably behind the times, DreamWorks have emerged as front-runners in a battle to nab the film rights to EA’s long-running and iterated-up-the-whazoo racing games.

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I’d be reasonably happy to see a movie based on this franchise, as there’s always been an element of story attempting to knit together otherwise unconnected races, stunt challenges and general law-flouting, cookie-cutter rebellion – it couldn’t be any less absurd than the last Fast & Furious flick, but it would have to go a hell of a long way to be half as enjoyable as Justin Lim’s feverish nitrous dream.

John Gatins, who previously brought you robot-bashing hug-em-up Real Steel is down to write the script, which hopefully may aspire to more than sweaty, C-list CW studs calling each other ‘Bro’ and engaging in physics-defying, CG-assisted vehicular mentalism.  I also predict the reassuring presence of many hot ladies to carefully negate any sense that all of these devil-may-care, hot-headed rebels are eager to explore each other’s manifolds between life-or-pink-slip races.

All very nice for EA, I’m sure, but where’s my frigging “Burnout” movie already?

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“Iron Man 3” gets Chinese connection

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As movies get bigger and more spectacular, it makes sense to cover some of the financial risk by attracting deep-pocketed investors to share the finances and eventual rewards.

Cue Marvel, whose next Iron Man 3 will be a Chinese co-production.  On the face of it, this makes a lot of sense as China is the very definition of an emerging film market, with a potentially massive audience primed and ready to enjoy the visual kinetics of this superhero sequel and shell out on the acres of spin-off merchandising which usually accompanies such a prominent franchise entry.

Sure, there’s that whole piracy thing to take account of, but the fact that China is allowing more Western films to be distributed and made there would indicate that all concerned realise that there’s a lot of cash on the table and what better than a film featuring the world’s most risk-averse fictional capitalist to be at the vanguard of this cultural expansion?

Just don’t mention Foxconn or anything…

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Assimilate this!

I read this story over at The Mary Sue today and did a momentary “WTF?” after finishing it – former NASA scientist disses “Star Trek”.

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Bear in mind that I’m not the biggest Trekker in the world – when I was younger, classic “Trek” was something that I endured rather than enjoyed, and felt rather slow and staid next to the glitzier, more elaborate cinematic fantasies of the post-Lucas/Star Wars era.  I was too young to fully appreciate the pioneering role that it played and the influence that it had on a generation of nerds, which is why I like to take time to sit down with my wife and catch up on it now, as she’s always had the good sense to be a Trekker of the highest order.

I can understand why some members of the scientific community might hate on popular culture (or aspects of it) for making their job harder and for diminishing the hard work and graft which goes into achieving scientific success – but it also makes the idea of space travel, of investing in technologies which might make our world better, of valuing the importance of ideas over superstition more accessible to an audience whose scientific knowledge started and stopped with their school career.

I’m all for the odd bit of hard science to balance out the laser swords and wise cracking androids but to blame “Star Trek” and pop-sci for diminishing science is more than a bit churlish, I think.  Shouldn’t we be pouring our scorn on things which genuinely deserve it? There’s a million more offensive science denying halfwits in positions of public influence who should be picked on and remonstrated with before you go about blaming a show/franchise which probably persuaded more than a few wide-eyed junior nerds that science was a discipline that they wanted to give their lives to.

“Star Trek” is most definitely not the problem here.

 

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