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10 Best S/F Films That Never Existed 647

Posted by Zonk
from the lament-the-loss-of-these-films dept.
Jamie mentioned (via a Metafilter discussion) a great article entitled The 10 Best Sci-Fi Films that Never Existed. From the piece: "There was a movie that perfectly captured the Douglas Adams experience, the combination of bitter sarcasm and sharp imagination, the droll British wit and whale-exploding slapstick that infused his novels. And that movie was Shaun of the Dead. That movie was not, unfortunately, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a movie that floated around Hollywood for about 20 years before it finally appeared in theaters as a flat, lifeless, americanized lump that was mostly hated by people who liked the book and loathed by people who hated the book. "
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10 Best S/F Films That Never Existed

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  • Oopsie. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robyannetta (820243) * on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:22PM (#14719894) Homepage
    They forgot one: Neuromancer by William Gibson.

    As a filmmaker, and after reading this book cover to cover many times, I've come to the assumption that this book is truly unfilmable. I have read a few scripts based upon it found on the 'web, one particular written by Gibson himself, but there is just absolutely no way to capture the depth of environment this novel creates.

    I don't care how big your budget is, it "ain't gonna happen."(tm)

    • by Doktor Memory (237313) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:25PM (#14719923) Journal
      At least Gibson's treatment for Neuromancer didn't get filmed. His script for Johnny Mnenomic did, and it was a complete and total atrocity.

      (That said, his script for Alien 3 would probably have been better than the abortion that Fincher foisted off on us.)
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Gibson's script is nothing like the finished movie, which was taken AWAY from director Robert Longo by Sony Pictures. Read Gibson's published screenplay for Johnny Mnemonic, as well his blog. Your comments are ignorant and lame. Johnny Mnemonic could've been great if Sony hadn't decided to re-maked totally unlike the writer and director had intended. In fact, there may still be a great film lying around in Sony's vault - assuming the original footage hasn't been lost.

        Let's go, Sony. Give us the complete Dir
      • (That said, his script for Alien 3 would probably have been better than the abortion that Fincher foisted off on us.)

        Remember that Fincher was like, the 3rd director to take over filming, and he had to work with what he was given. Personally I don't think he did that bad a job. Before you write off Alien3 completely, you should watch the Special Edition, it's a much more complete film.

        And anyway if Fincher hadn't have got the opportunity to direct Alien3, we'd have never had Seven (at least not as good).

        -Ja
    • by s20451 (410424) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:00PM (#14720243) Journal
      Everyone remembers the exact moment when they realized that their Phanom Menace sandwich was filled with shit.

      I think that would make a good Slashdot poll. When did you realize that George Lucas had defecated on your childhood memories?

      - Opening sequence: "The taxation of trade routes to outlying systems is in dispute."
      - First appearance of Jar Jar
      - First mention of midi-chlorians
      - The creepy virgin birth thingy
      - First appearance of the annoying brat who played young Anikin
      - First appearance of the wooden teen-aged brat who played older Anikin
      - ???
      • Missing Option (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Valdrax (32670) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:29PM (#14720470)
        - Greedo shot first.
        - Han Solo steps on Jabba's tail without getting killed.*
        - BS explosion rings from the Death Stars.
        - Ewoks Cartoon.
        - Droids Cartoon.
        - Star Wars Christmas Special.
        - Ewoks instead of Wookies on Endor in RotJ.

        My personal pick is when Greedo shot first.

        (* Yes I know that it was because when they originally filmed the deleted scene Jabba was a man instead of a slug-like alien and Harrison Ford moved around him in ways that didn't work later, but this did sort of help break suspension of disbelief.)
        • Re:Missing Option (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Gleng (537516)

          - Han Solo steps on Jabba's tail without getting killed.

          Yes. That's the point when I got the first sensations that something, somewhere was horribly, horribly wrong.

          (I don't actually dislike the new Star Wars stuff. I just now see them as entertaining movies, rather than the magical land of wonder and arse-whoopery that it used to be. The prequels are like finding out that Santa doesn't really exist. You knew all along, but there it is in black and white.)

        • Re:Missing Option (Score:5, Insightful)

          by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @10:31AM (#14724035)
          Han Solo steps on Jabba's tail without getting killed.

          I think that's actually worse than Greedo shooting first. Sure, the Greedo scene undermines Han as cold-blooded-badass-and-not-necessarily-a-good-guy , but on the plus side it does emphasise his leet smuggler's reflexes: Greedo fires, Han gets his head out of the way of the bolt so fast even a Jedi could hardly follow it, and next thing you know Greedo's toast. Han's a dangerous guy to cross. Very Clint Eastwood.

          The scene with Jabba, though... he's trying to talk his way out of a deep, deep hole. Han owes Jabba money. Jabba's already sent murderous bounty hunters after him. Han needs to talk Jabba around. We're talking edgy diplomacy here.

          And then he steps on Jabba's tail. This we might not have noticed, it could have been fudged away, but Lucas has Jabba clearly react to it. Han's already in considerable trouble, and he's just flagrantly disrespected the biggest syndicate boss on the outer rim in front of his henchmen. Han is dead. Very, very dead. Eventually dead, after an extremely nasty interlude involving hot sharp things. His head's going up on a spike in front of Jabba's palace, and the rest of him's getting fed to the banthas.

          That scene made Star Wars just... silly. Absurd. From there on, it's downhill all the way to Jar Jar Binks.

      • by vertinox (846076) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:40PM (#14720550)
        First mention of midi-chlorians

        That had to do it for me. I was under the assumption anyone could be a Jedi if they just tried hard enough and not because of some noble upbringing or good genetics.

        Secondly, it added nothing to the movie. It isn't as if we didn't already have some knowledge of what the force was coming from the first three movies. I mean they could just have wandered by and said "I feel a strong presence in the force with this child" or something like that. Not this "let me whip out my tricorder and talk about something that wasn't mentioned in the first three films.

        Those are one of the things I hope George takes out in the first movie. Heck... Why doesn't George just do them all over again.

        "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!", pretty much sums up my Star Wars I,II,III experience.
        • by imadork (226897) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @09:56PM (#14721417) Homepage
          Are people still worked up about this midi-chlorian shit? That's the part of the prequels that bothered me the least. I do at least understand why you're all pissed. Who would have ever thought that a mystic bad-ass Jedi Knight would have essentially whipped out a tricorder and punched a few buttons to get the answer? It just seems wrong, right?

          You see, that's the whole point -- it was wrong. The Jedi Order from the prequels was getting a little too big for its britches, a little too political, a little too technical. They were starting to abandon the mystical connection to the Force in favor of things that they could see and measure. As a result of this, they started to miss the whole point of this Force business, and the only way to rescue things and "bring balance" was to fucking kill them all, and start over from scratch.

          At least, that's how I would have wrote it.

          • MOD UP (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Julian Morrison (5575) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @11:48PM (#14721979)
            So many other folks don't seem to get how the Jedi Order in the prequels was intentionally a bit crap. The "return" in ROTJ means Luke is restarting the Jedi, but it also means that the purity has returned, the Jedi are back to their ideal.

            Note how neither Yoda nor Obi-Wan try to teach Jedi culture to Luke. No "council", no rules, no "padawan" or other ranks. If they hadn't the time while alive, they could still do it while blue and glowy - but no. I'd call that deliberate.
          • Are people still worked up about this midi-chlorian shit? That's the part of the prequels that bothered me the least. I do at least understand why you're all pissed.

            The problem is that the prequals were full of crap like this that could have been done in 1/4th the time and with heightened mood in the hands of a college-level competent filmmaker. We didn't really need to see Anakin tossing and turning in his bed for 30 seconds before Amidala comments that he's been having nightmares. We could have had a si
        • Obligatory Link [weeklystandard.com]. From the linked article:

          The Force, it turns out, is an inherited, genetic trait. If you don't have the blood, you don't get the Force. Which makes the Jedi not a democratic militia, but a royalist Swiss guard. And an arrogant royalist Swiss guard, at that. With one or two notable exceptions, the Jedi we meet in Star Wars are full of themselves. They ignore the counsel of others (often with terrible consequences), and seem honestly to believe that they are at the center of the universe. Wh

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:48PM (#14720619) Journal
        You know what would have worked, if Lucas wanted to do prequels, is, say, a movie dedicated towards the ancient history; say a movie about the first confrontations between the Jedi and the Sith. A second could deal with the rise of the Republic, and then one single movie to deal with Anakin becoming Darth Vader.

        The way I figure it, Episode I was a total waste of time. It was dull, badly written, poorly acted and just generally no damned good. What Liam Neeson was doing in this movie I'll never understand, and the introduction of idiocies like midichlorians and Anakin-as-Jesus-virgin-birth crap was nonsensical, and would require the most bizarre explanation for Anakin's brother Owen in the next film.

        Episode II just didn't seem to know where to go. Did it want to be Obiwan's detective story? Did it want to be the love affair between Anakin and Padme? About Anakin's descent into the dark side? The Sith's bizarre machinations (including a Sith apprentice who tells Anakin that "oh yeah, the Sith control the Senate")? Or is it a political thriller? It wanted to go so many places in two hours that it ultimately went very little distance at all. One way to have patched things up would have been for Anakin to become Darth Vader at the end of that film, which would have made the next film much more interesting.

        Episode III. As close as we'll ever get in Lucas's post-1980s world to a good Star Wars film. Still clunky, but at least the Emperor comes off interesting (by now he's clearly the only character in the prequels that is really all that interesting). Still, way too much deux ex machina. Anakin still seems to sort of abruptly become Darth Vader rather than a slow descent into evil (which is why I think the more natural transition would have been at the end of Episode II). The whole "my apprentice is in trouble" which gets the Emperor on a ship to fly to Vader's aid was the worst example. The ending was idiotic, the Darth Vader suit sequence seeming anticlimactic, and the whole bit about Padme dying not only ridiculously maudlin but making the Epside VI statement by Leia that she could still remember her mother rather odd, considering Luke didn't.

        I think Lucas's whole reason for making Star Wars films changed between 1976-1983 and the 1990s. The earlier films, even as they got a bit deeper and more philosophical on the nature of evil in the Star Wars' universe, still maintained a fun, swashbuckling feeling. The plot holes in Episode VII could be ignored because, goddamnit, those Ewoks were cute, the Millenium Falcon was way cool flying into the Death STar, and the Emperor was so fucking evil in a basic, elemental fashion, rather than as some political plotter more in the line of Idi Amin than a Dark Lord holding extraordinary powers.

        I think Lucas decided to take his space opera and turn it into some sort of political parable. The problem is that Lucas isn't a very good writer, so loads of nonsense like midichlorians get loaded into the brew just so he can progress his almost-plot with as little effort as possible. He's so busy with his wannabe-political-philosophy nonsense that he forgets that a movie has to be interesting, whether it aspires to greater things or not.

        Lucas is a good idea man, or was, but ultimately, his instincts are all wrong. He overestimated his abilities as writer, and misjudged want the fans wanted. The fans didn't want The Galactic Manchurian Candidate, but rather Star Wars, as they saw it between 1977 and 1983.

        I disagree with the article that the prequels were a bad idea, though they clearly would have the limitation that we all know Anakin turns into Darth Vader. There's no "Wow, Luke is Vader's son" or "Hey, Darth Vader ain't so bad after all" moments. Those that read the original novel adaptations even knew basically how Anakin received the injuries. I really think that the entire Anakin-Darth Vader could have been done in a single movie, and without all the virgin-birth nonsense. Two other movies could have given us a better background of the Jedi-Sith struggles and the Republic.

        • by servognome (738846) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @08:41PM (#14721008)
          You know what would have worked, if Lucas wanted to do prequels, is, say, a movie dedicated towards the ancient history; say a movie about the first confrontations between the Jedi and the Sith. A second could deal with the rise of the Republic, and then one single movie to deal with Anakin becoming Darth Vader.

          I think that would be way too much history to cover with only 3 movies. One of the things I liked about the OT was that it didn't try to tell the whole story of the rebellion, it focused on the adventures of a few key characters. The civil war served as a backdrop, with the story threads winding in and out of it. So you end up with a grand universe that allows for many interesting stories to be told in the EU in parallel with the OT events.

          I agree with your description of the first 2 prequels. The problem I had with those movies, is that there was no sense of history (the OT had allusions to the republic, clone wars, etc), the universe seemed revolve around the main characters. That is what made them so shallow, Lucas tried to handhold the story of the creation of the empire entirely through a handful of characters. The thrid prequel had more of that sense of "a grand universe" that was in the OT.

          I think Lucas decided to take his space opera and turn it into some sort of political parable. The problem is that Lucas isn't a very good writer, so loads of nonsense like midichlorians get loaded into the brew just so he can progress his almost-plot with as little effort as possible. He's so busy with his wannabe-political-philosophy nonsense that he forgets that a movie has to be interesting, whether it aspires to greater things or not.

          If he was a good writer the prequels could have been very interesting. He does bring up several good points on the failure of democracy during crisis, liberty vs security, law vs morality, but ends up skimming over them. The prequels could have been filled with political intrigue, backstabbing, the grey of good vs evil. After watching the TV series "Rome" on HBO, I thought a similar story would have been great for the prequels. The underlying elements were similar (political disputes, assassination, self-interest, etc) just Star Wars didn't make it interesting.
          • by Christopher B. Brown (1267) <cbbrowne@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @11:33PM (#14721902) Homepage
            ... If Count Dooku had not been consciously Sith-influenced, but rather an honest "loyal opposition."

            This would have required only minimal changes to the sequencing of things, and could have shown off off the fall of the Old Republic as an honest-to-goodness tragedy. Having the Sith successfully playing off two honestly well-intentioned sides against each other could have worked out excellently well.

            What was also unfortunate is that little more than lip-service was paid to the various "failures of democracy." It seemed to me that when Dooku explained, in Kenobi's earshot, why he was collecting up forces to oppose what was going on in the parliament, he had some pretty legitimate reasons for concern.

            Unfortunately, all we saw, after the various "things failing," was that people seized at power of one sort or another to respond to them. What perhaps wasn't clear enough was that seizure of power was, in every case, a mistake.

        • by MsGeek (162936) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @09:14PM (#14721173) Homepage Journal
          The way I figure it, Episode I was a total waste of time. It was dull, badly written, poorly acted and just generally no damned good. What Liam Neeson was doing in this movie I'll never understand, and the introduction of idiocies like midichlorians and Anakin-as-Jesus-virgin-birth crap was nonsensical, and would require the most bizarre explanation for Anakin's brother Owen in the next film.

          Agreed. Episode I raped my childhood. I've already gone off about midichlorians. The idea of Anakin being a created being caused by Sith force-manipulation of one of Shmi Skywalker's ova is interesting, but was introduced clumsily in Episode I. This revelation might have been something for a later episode. Or maybe an aside in a single prequel movie.

          I always come back to it, again and again: Episodes I, II and III would have made a bitchen single movie.

          Another thing that rankled about Episode I was the blatant pandering to the juvenile audience. Jar Jar Binks was only the tip of the iceberg. Young Anakin as a boy genius was just intolerable and gag-producing. Episode I didn't have to be kidvid. "The Phantom Edit" proved that.

          Episode II just didn't seem to know where to go. Did it want to be Obiwan's detective story? Did it want to be the love affair between Anakin and Padme? About Anakin's descent into the dark side? The Sith's bizarre machinations (including a Sith apprentice who tells Anakin that "oh yeah, the Sith control the Senate")? Or is it a political thriller? It wanted to go so many places in two hours that it ultimately went very little distance at all. One way to have patched things up would have been for Anakin to become Darth Vader at the end of that film, which would have made the next film much more interesting.

          Again, if the prequels had just been one movie, a lot of this weirdness could have been just asides and flashbacks. Also the main weakness of the film was the actor chosen to play Anakin as an adult. Sorry, but Hayden Christiansen falls completely flat as a pancake. He reminds me of the deer-caught-in-the-headlights performance of John Travolta as "The Boy In The Plastic Bubble." He might have been good elsewhere, but he was a bad Anakin.

          Everyone screamed when Leonardo DiCaprio was considered as Anakin. However, he had chops as an actor before "Titanic," (Go rent "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and "The Basketball Diaries" sometime) and he definitely showed he had chops and could portray a character like Anakin in the movie "The Aviator." DiCaprio's Howard Hughes was a swashbuckling, rogueish guy who started coming apart at the seams. Anakin Skywalker always struck me as a swashbuckling roguish guy who came apart at the seams. DiCaprio is going to wind up like fellow ex-teen idol Johnny Depp...a really awesome character actor who can do anything he wants to. I don't know if his oevre will be as quirky as Johnny Depp, whose work I love.

          Episode III. As close as we'll ever get in Lucas's post-1980s world to a good Star Wars film. Still clunky, but at least the Emperor comes off interesting (by now he's clearly the only character in the prequels that is really all that interesting). Still, way too much deux ex machina. Anakin still seems to sort of abruptly become Darth Vader rather than a slow descent into evil (which is why I think the more natural transition would have been at the end of Episode II). The whole "my apprentice is in trouble" which gets the Emperor on a ship to fly to Vader's aid was the worst example. The ending was idiotic, the Darth Vader suit sequence seeming anticlimactic, and the whole bit about Padme dying not only ridiculously maudlin but making the Epside VI statement by Leia that she could still remember her mother rather odd, considering Luke didn't.

          Episode III would provide the backbone to a potential "Mega Phantom Edit." Every important element that moved the plot forward in Episodes I and II could be told in flashback around the framework of Episode III.

          The whole relationship between Padme and A
        • It's been suggested that Palpatine was responsible for Anakin's "virgin birth". This does make sense, from a certain point of view. Darth Plagius (sp?) had the ability to create life. Plagius taught his apprentice all he knew. Palpatine strongly implies in Ep3 that he was Plaguis' apprentice. And given his grand ambitions it's not inconceivable that he might have engineered Anakin's fate right from the start. Though why he would choose a nobody from the arse end of the universe isn't exactly clear.

          Do not

        • the whole bit about Padme dying not only ridiculously maudlin but making the Epside VI statement by Leia that she could still remember her mother rather odd, considering Luke didn't.

          Actually this is not quite as outlandish as it may appear. Leia was raised by people who knew her mother, and would have been able to relate an experience of Padme to her. You or I may not consider this to be a true memory, however I strongly suspect that you have installed memories from your early childhood that if you really t
      • by sd_diamond (839492) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @09:21PM (#14721210) Homepage

        First appearance of the wooden teen-aged brat who played older Anikin

        Don't be so hard on him. Hayden Christensen is actually a good actor. As are Natalie Portman, Samuel Jackson, Ewan MacGregor, Liam Neeson and Jimmy Smits. But their performances in the Star Wars prequels all uniformly sucked. Only one person can ultimately be blamed for that.

      • When did you realize that George Lucas had defecated on your childhood memories?

        Jar Jar, or the Midiclorians. But still... I could have lived with these annoyances if the rest of the movies had been anywhere near the standard of the 1st three. They weren't. And I wasn't sure why. Like the article's author, I thought the CGI was way, way over the top at times, especially during the space battles and chase scenes. But still not enough to ruin a good movie. Then I read this: "The universe gets smaller

    • Re:Oopsie. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Thangodin (177516) <elentar@sympa[ ]o.ca ['tic' in gap]> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:21PM (#14720408) Homepage
      It has already been made, and it's called Blade Runner. Gibson was working on Neuromancer when the film came out, and he came out of the theatre buzzing. It was exactly the world he envisioned for Neuromancer.
    • Re:Oopsie. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hortensia Patel (101296) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:27PM (#14720447)
      Nah, I don't think Neuromancer is unfilmable. You want unfilmable, try Vernor Vinge's A Deepness In The Sky.

      The principal protagonists are giant hairy carnivorous alien spiders. And you're rooting for them all the way.
      • Re:Oopsie. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by crabpeople (720852)
        every time i hear someone talk about RFID i think of localizers.

      • Re:Oopsie. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by imgumbydammit (879859)
        Funny that you should mention Vernor Vinge. Read his story True Names (published years before), then read Neuromancer again. Neuromancer seems like a bit of a rip off.
      • Re:Oopsie. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Stinking Pig (45860)
        Oooooooooo, I'd be in line. That book and A Fire Upon The Deep are on the short list of books I've re-read more than once. A Fire Upon The Deep would be even harder, imagine trying to film the interaction of even a single pack, much less a city full of them?
      • I still think A Fire Upon the Deep would be even more unfilmable. How could you possibly get across the scene where Jefri runs up to Steel and cuddles him?

        Background if you haven't read the book: Jefri is a human child, orphaned and taken in by a tribe of Tines, which look sort of like a pile of puppies. Individually, they're about as smart, too, but when gathered into packs of four to six, communicating via short-range ultrasound, they become human-smart. Because it would badly confuse them to hear someone
    • They forgot one: Neuromancer by William Gibson.

      No they didn't. You REALLY need to see Johnny Neumonic. It has some of Keanu's best 'Whoas' that he ever commited to film...
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:23PM (#14719912)
    A: Do you remember seeing that one?
    B: No
    A: Me neither ... but it was good
    B: Yeah, Totally
  • No it wouldn't.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:25PM (#14719922) Journal
    Re: Snow Crash:

    It's so cinematic that I didn't just desperately want a movie to be made from it, I was always shocked they didn't make one.

    Nope, a Neal Stephenson movie wouldn't work for the same (real) reason The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy didn't work. The joy of those books is in the expository language. Even the best adaptation would still disappoint the hardcore fans.

    Imagine turning the Cap'n Crunch seen in Cryptonomicon into a movie -- Randy Waterhouse eats a bowl of cereal in a Manila hotel room. Woohoo!

    • by cornface (900179)
      The problem with Snow Crash is that the ending was stupid. It seemed like he just got bored and wanted to hurry up and finish the book. I liked it right up until the end. What a cheesy, lame, let down of an ending. Sheesh. I'm guess maybe I'm a little bitter.
    • I remember reading somewhere that Stephenson's original plan for Snow Crash was a graphic adventure game. He had the outline worked out, but found out that the top "multimedia" platforms of the day (Atari ST, Amiga) weren't powerful enough for his ambition, so he turned it into a novel.

      After reading that, I thought back to the end of the book and said to myself, "Ah, so that's why Hiro was carrying [spoiler] in his inventory!"

    • I'd love to see someone try to cram the Baroque Cycle into 2 hours... : p
    • Some books may truly be unfilmable, but it's hard to tell in advance.

      I would have thought that Fight Club was unfilmable, but man, was I wrong...
    • Cap'n Crunch. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:47PM (#14720123)
      Imagine turning the Cap'n Crunch seen in Cryptonomicon into a movie -- Randy Waterhouse eats a bowl of cereal in a Manila hotel room. Woohoo!
      Yes, imagine it. Imagine trying to convey the sense that this guy has some serious issues using only his cereal ritual.

      I'd film it by putting a digital clock on the table. Hook the clock to a sensor pad. The clock starts when he puts the milk on it. Focus on how he keeps his eyes on the clock while eating.

      Then, have the phone ring. He turns to the phone and drops his spoon. He reaches down to get the spoon, gets a bit frantic when he can't grab it, then grabs it and comes up. He stares at the timer.

      "Fuck....."

      Then he gets up, washes out the bowl, focus on all the cereal in the sink's drain. He dries the bowl. He dries the spoon. Then he takes them over to the table again.

      He fills the bowl with cereal, re-sets the timer, looks up, goes to the phone and carefully unplugs it and wraps the cord around the receive. Then he goes back to the table and reaches for the milk ...

      Don't focus on eating the cereal. Focus on the person who has a ritual that complicated just for eating cereal. Focus on the effects that interupting that ritual has on that person.
      • Re:Cap'n Crunch. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jackbird (721605)
        That sounds more like an episode of Monk. I don't read Randy as OCD, just as a man who is very, very particular about his cereal. I'd lean more towards something along the lines of the heroin-shooting scenes in Requiem for a Dream, but perhaps drawn out to show the memories and associations and hard work of preparing the ultimate cereal experience.
    • by jkauzlar (596349)

      Nope, a Neal Stephenson movie wouldn't work for the same (real) reason The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy didn't work. The joy of those books is in the expository language. Even the best adaptation would still disappoint the hardcore fans.

      I think The Lord of the Rings proves you wrong. Relatively few, compared to HHGTTG were disappointed, and most thought the movie was incredible in a different way than the books. Jackson put a sort of 'horror' spin on the otherwise lyrical and children's fantasy mood

  • by dex22 (239643) <plasticuser@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:26PM (#14719936) Homepage
    ...who has struggled for years to fund my various off-the-wall projects, like Best Served Cold [plasticuser.com] I know how hard it is to do anything different.

    I've been working on the project that follows BSC for a year now. It's a cheesy B movie pisstake with zombies and alien bugs, and it'll be a scream. But can I get funding? No! My low budget productions are well made and funny as hell, but fundraising when you're deliberately making cheesy movies, or movies with gorgeous fat chicks, well, it's tough.

    Anyone got $15,000 I can use? :)
  • I read this a few weeks ago and realized that I really, really want to see Snow Crash on the big screen. It wouldn't require the typical overload of crazy description that the book uses (cf. Cryptonomicon's Captain Crunch dissertation) - just hire incredibly good visual effects folks to nail the details and you've got a gritty believable near-future in which we can sit back and watch Hiro whup up. Please, world, someday.

    Of course I'm sure it'll still be better in my head. :\

  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:28PM (#14719957) Homepage
    In a post-apocalyptic world where websites mysteriously drop from existance, server hardware is reduced to mere slag and ISP lawyers roam the shattered earth a hero shall rise [nyud.net].

    Coming this summer from Forks Searchlight Entertainment:
    ths slashdotting
  • Classics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Belseth (835595) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:31PM (#14719985)
    Guess they weren't concerned with novels. Little things like Mote In God's Eye and Ringworld. Even Lucifer's Hammer blew away any of the meteor films that got made, although many stole from it. Science fiction novels done properly for cinema are virtually nonexistent. There are rare exceptions like 2001 but the script was by the writer of the novel and Directed by Kubrick of coarse.
    • Re:Classics (Score:3, Informative)

      by the phantom (107624) *
      More acurately, Kubrick and Clarke collaborated on both the book and the script. The book was being written as the movie was being made.
    • Re:Classics (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TopShelf (92521)
      Heck, if they want a classic, how's about Stranger in a Strange Land? You wouldn't even necessarily need a big budget, just clever direction and acting to bring a captivating story to light...
    • Re:Classics (Score:5, Informative)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:04PM (#14720281) Homepage
      There are rare exceptions like 2001 but the script was by the writer of the novel and Directed by Kubrick of coarse.
      Actually, that's not true at all. Kubrick wrote the script, and Clarke wrote the novel - in parallel. Clarke's writings make it quite clear that his contributions to the screenplay were minimal and that Kubrick's contributions to the novel were equally minimal, even though they extensively borrowed from each other..
    • Re:Classics (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)
      Little things like Mote In God's Eye and Ringworld

      Ringworld was an amusing technical conceit. But not much of a story.

  • by IAAP (937607) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:34PM (#14720010)
    the Wachowskis thought that people went to see the movies because of the Car chases, bullets flying, and the Kung Fu fight scenes. Maybe some people did. But what got me hooked on the first was things like this line, "Knowing the path is different from walking the path." I thought, "Ooooo" these guys are going to do something different and possibly something that has a deeper meaning than, blam-blam-blam-blamblam-blam". But noooo, that's not how it turned out. And if they did it the way I thought they were going to do it, it would have cost much less and they would have made more money.
  • by el borak (263323) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:34PM (#14720011)
    Although I'm sure many only know the character of Conan from John Milius' big screen romp with steroid-giant Ahnold (or possibly from the even more wretched TV series or the comic books), no one has yet had the guts to film a real movie based on the original Robert E. Howard stories from the 1930's.

    The real REH Conan wasn't the dumb as a board Ahnold, he was a multilingual leader of men, an accomplished horseman, a stealthy and dextrous thief, and many other things that neither Milius nor Ahnold understood (and still don't to this day). He was a product of the pulp era and the Great Depression. He was the toughest guy not because he was chained (for no apparent reason) to a wheel for his entire life, but because he had survived as only the fittest did in his environment.

    Hollywood very rarely avoids the trap of going for the "easy story". Why create a complex character that is truly interesting when a one-dimensional revenge-fest is so much easier to explain to a suit? Why respect the original stories when just grabbing the trademark name to use for promotion takes less time? Why cast an actor who can actually act when a steroid-giant looks so cool on screen?

    I've given up on any story or book adaptation ever coming close to the original and hence am no longer disappointed. And that way I enjoy the very rare occasions when they do actually get it right. But for every Maltese Falcon there are hundreds of I, Robots.
    • "The Savage Sword Of Conan" comics did a pretty good job, IMHO. Conan was often depicted as an accomplished military strategist and generally the one in a group who used common sense and critical thinking. He made allies easier than he made enemies. The series even took him to the point where he became king of his own land. And Conan was tough clearly because he was a Cimmerian, and the many reference to Cimmeria were laced with fear and a "you do not fuck with the Cimmerians" mood.
    • No one has done Howard right and probably never will. Kull was Godawful and Red Sonja was silly, not that it was Howard just ripping off characters. There have been threats of doing Solomen Kane but fortunately that never happened. A great character but ripe for abuse. I completely agree on Conan. I never understood the dumb barbarian characterization. I brilliant leader that could speak a dozen languages and read and write in nearly as many, some ancient, would be considered a genius today. The excuse I he
  • I don't think Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy could ever have worked as a movie no matter who made it. It relied far too much on imagination and the images were so wacky that the act of trying to translate them into *actual* images on a screen could only ever diminish them.
  • I can understand if the guy was pointing to specific versions of screenplays that never made it to the screen or where horribly compromised by hack job editors (i.e. what happened to Brazil when the Exec stuck goddamn LOVERBOY on the soundtrack and turned it into a romance. Or the massacred versions of Ciminos Heaven's Gate or Leone's Once Upon a Time in America) but what he has here is an uneven list fifteen year olds would come up with after sneaking too many of mom's Bacardi Breezers. The list leads of
    • And then there's all the weak sellouts of Philip K Dick's work

      Actually, at least one good PKD adaptation has been done that I know of: Screamers [imdb.com], based on the story "Second Variety".

      Granted, not one of his major works -- nor an awesome film -- but a credible one.

      (Frankly, I think that A Scanner Darkly looks like it might actually be a good adaptation, despite Keanu starring in it. We'll see...)
  • by Y-Crate (540566) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:38PM (#14720038)
    Alien 3 was further brutalized by the studio cut that utterly ripped the guts out of the film. If you haven't already, go and watch the Director's Cut on the Quadriology (you can often rent it by itself). The film is infinitely better, and actually works as a small, dark, claustrophobic piece. It's not what fans were promised, it's not what they were expecting, it's not what should have been filmed. But it works. That's tough to admit, but it's nice to find a silver lining to the nightmare that was the movie's production.

    Which brings me to...Alien 5

    Since in the minds of Alien fans, Alien Vs. Predator simply does not exist, Alien 5 was intended to be something along the lines of what Alien 3's teaser promised. Long story short: James Cameron and Ridley Scott went to the studio with the pitch, the studio told them they were going to do A vs P instead, Cameron told them if that movie was made, he would walk. You know the rest. The film is officially, 100% dead [aintitcool.com].
  • I can't believe no Ellison stories were mentioned. His script [amazon.com] for I, Robot was just amazing.
  • by eshefer (12336) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:40PM (#14720049) Homepage Journal
    it was better then I expected when - taking into account the fact that it was backed by disney. note: I'm a die hard H2G2 fan.

    Not that it was perfect, far from it. It was a pretty good effort IMHO, with some great moments. some of them (the knitting stop-animation scene, for example) were great, even though I doubt DNA scripted them in. It was a worthy effort. Much better then the TV series, for example (and even better then some of the books).

      Granted, the missed some of the better jokes ("I wish I listened to what my mother told me.." for example), but all in all, it was a good film. the fact that it wasn't a great success says more about the american audience then the quality of the flick - take a look at Kiss kiss, bang bang, which I thought was a great flick, but it totaly Bombed in the box office.
  • Odd John by Olaf Stapledon is a ground breaking but dated SF novel about a superior mutant kid growing up and finding others of his kind.

    It is still in print, teamed up with a much better novel about an intelligent dog:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0486211339/ [amazon.com]

    Now, the curious thing about the edition noted above is the copyright notice. It is: (c) 1961 by George Pal.

    George Pal is the emigre filmmaker responsible for War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao and many others.

    Huh?

    I puzz
  • Aliens3 (Score:3, Funny)

    by McCarrum (446375) <mark.limburg@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:41PM (#14720057)
    Aye, I'm one of the many who has printed out the script that Gibson wrote and it's now in a nice handmade book on my shelves. I am utterly amazed that it wasn't picked up - my experience with film making is minimal, but the visions of the end production from that script still inspires me.

    HICKS: I thought you were programmed to protect human life?

    BISHOP (with android blandness): I'm taking the long view.

    Is it just me, or would this be one of those lines that would have entered the hall of "best lines ever". I can just see it being delivered in that dead-pan quiet and logical manner from Bishop. Mechanical eyes passively in hope that the human understood what had to happen.
  • by netfool (623800) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:42PM (#14720062) Homepage
    Google Cache [72.14.207.104]

    Plus, I just have to copy and paste this quote for Snow Crash, I think it's hilarious because it's completely true:

    "Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live,devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad."

    So true, so true.
  • Æon Flux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slavemowgli (585321) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:43PM (#14720075) Homepage
    You absolutely forgot Æon Flux, guys. The series was prodigal; the movie was a piece of soulless, mass-compatible hollywood crap. It definitely would've earned the top spot in this hall of shame.
  • good author (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:08PM (#14720311) Homepage Journal
    So what happened?

    The Chicago Cubs, that's what. The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908. Why? Because Cub fans sell out Wrigley Field every game, regardless of how bad the team is. Management makes money regardless of whether or not the team is winning, so why bother?

    Likewise, studios think video game fans will pile into the theater on opening weekend regardless of whether or not any effort was put into the film. Will that change? Come ask me after I've seen the Peter Jackson-produced Halo.


    this author, davd wong, good author. i've seen people say the same thing he just said, but less effectively, with ten more sentences to play with. he gets big ideas across forcibly and quick. sign of a good author
  • Some biggies... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Foo2rama (755806) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:19PM (#14720388) Homepage Journal
    Forget Doom...

    Enders Game
    Stranger in a Strangeland - purchased by Tom Hanks is the rumor
    The Cat who could Walk Through Walls - Heinlin again
    I have no mouth and I must Scream - Ellison
  • by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @07:43PM (#14720577) Homepage
    ...I'm so happy someone is putting on a slashdotted website my feelings about this whole CGI thing. When referring to the Star Wars prequels, he says,
    The first one looks like they're actually standing on something (Jabba's flying barge thing). See the scratches? The beat-up paint? Nobody notices that during the movie but it's a subconscious little hint that this vehicle has been used. It has a history. It's a real object. The second shot, you look at it and expect little power-ups to be floating around. You look for your control pad. Thank you, CGI. Thank you for letting the director project the most expansive reaches of his imagination into a bright, neon digital rendering that doesn't for one second look like a universe you could live in. Don't get me wrong, when I saw that space battle in Revenge of the Sith I did turn to my friend and say, "damn, those are some phat-ass effects!" Which was nice, but when I saw the barge scene from Return of the Jedi 20 years ago, all I could think was, "I wonder how Luke is going to get out of this one!"
    I have been mentioning this to friends for years (including some who worked on the special editions and Eps I, II & III). The thing that makes Ep IV, V, and VI really cool is that the ships look real, beat to hell, and like they're really in front of you! GL always goes on about "suspension of disbelief" - well 30 years later, Star Wars still looks great with its low-tech special effects. Meanwhile, TPM already looks dated, having tried the "latest and greatest" CGI. Okay, end rant. Nice article.
  • Getting Movies Made (Score:5, Interesting)

    by podperson (592944) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @08:14PM (#14720829) Homepage
    Wishing for novels or computer games to be made into movies, or better movies, is to be ridiculously naive about the moviemaking process. The problem with, say, the DOOM movie is that it's a dumb concept so it doesn't attract good people. Good people are a necessary, but not sufficient, precondition for a halfway decent movie. You options are to pay lots of money to find someone obviously good (e.g. Ridley Scott) and try to get them interested in your movie, or try to pick someone you think will be good, and hope...

    Why has StarCraft not been made into a movie? It's not so incredibly well-known that someone with $50,000,000 can be reasonably sure that folks will watch it despite it having a no-name director and no-name actors, and it isn't that interesting a concept. Aliens, only bigger. People in power armor. More aliens. Big deal. Any fool can come up with this concept, and many have.

    And even if you have a great concept, there are other obstacles.

    Why has Snowcrash not been made into a movie? Not because of any conspiracy, but because it's in creative purgatory somewhere. I guarantee you that (a) someone owns the movie rights, (b) that person has been trying to put the project together since the book was written (or he/she got the rights from the last person), and (c) the project has looked like it might happen at least ten times. The same thing happens to pretty much every halfway decent novel. "Forever War" -- for example -- has been optioned since it was published, and has had directors such as Ridley Scott interested in it, but there are only so many projects a top guy (like Paul Verhoeven, for example) can take on, and stuff gets left by the wayside. Meanwhile, do you want your brilliant SF movie directed by Ridley Scott in ten years or whoever's available today? Down one path lies a movie that never gets made; down the other lies DOOM: The Movie.

    Look at the books that do get made into movies... They're either something that has grabbed the attention of someone with serious clout (e.g. Clint Eastwood or Oprah or whoever) or they're absolute no-brainers ("The Da Vinci Code").

    Aside:

    Hitchhiker's Guide was originally a radio play, so statements (from TFA) such as "since most of the comedy was in the narrative language and descriptions" are baloney. This reminds me of the director of "The Saint" (the version with Val Kilmer) who referred to having researched "the original TV series" (sorry, bud, it was originally a series of books).
  • Jodorowsky's Dune??? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rleibman (622895) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @08:28PM (#14720919) Homepage
    Where the hell did this guy leave This [duneinfo.com] Movie? Dali, Jodorowsky, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Giger (pre-alien), Orson Wells.
    This is the greatest S/F film never made.
  • by swordgeek (112599) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @08:50PM (#14721059) Journal
    Yeah, they made a movie called I Robot. It wasn't Asimov's story, and it wasn't Ellison's magnificent screenplay--it was typical hollywood dreck eye-candy, and it was a total waste of time, money, and resources.

    Someone show me an intelligent, dramatic movie of I, Robot or in fact ANY SF story, and I'll be happy.

    (Note: "Intelligent" does not mean bullshit pseudoscience, and "dramatic" does not mean blowing shit up)
  • Ringworld (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OldManAndTheC++ (723450) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @09:59PM (#14721434)
    Ringworld was supposed to have been made into a movie. Now it appears that Halo will make it to the screen first, and after it does, what studio would dare bring out a "Halo ripoff"?

    Another book I'd love to see on the big screen is "The Shadow of the Torturer" by Gene Wolfe. I think there was talk of this happening, but it fell through as do so many movie projects.

    Oh and just about any Heinlein that has not already been made into a movie. "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", "Stranger in a Strange Land", and "The Number of the Beast" would top my list.

  • by LiberalApplication (570878) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @11:27PM (#14721871)
    Please, /. and Sourceforge, for the love of dog, create an open source system for the management of open source movie scripts! I've dreamt of this and only not done it myself for lack of ability.

    Imagine a system where multiple authors could contribute to a WIP screenplay, with a group of project leaders at the helm. A movie studio could purchase the rights to a project, and the contributors would donate the proceeds to charities and foundations of their choosing, divided as desired. In exchange, those so devoted and committed would receive rights to approve and nix studio decisions on visualisations, casting, and staffing (i.e no Uwe Boll), in addition to being able to sleep soundly at night, knowing that the works which inspired them will be preserved in spirit.

    During the authoring and editing process, discussions much like those which are held on this very page could help resolve disputes or vagaries in the adaptation. Slashcode is great this way. You visit your personalized SlashScript homepage and see all of the adaptations-in-progess that you are interested in, posted by discussion topic and franchise. Click. Read. Participate. If you are so inclined, become a project contributor. If not, add your two cents to a particular issue.

    So read the comments in this discusion.

    Realize the potential we have collectively to produce works which will encourage future generations to pursue interests in computer sciences, physics, and freaky flights of fantasy. Let Keanu Reeves never be cast as an intelligent character again. Let terrible directors be dismissed, and idiotic screenplays be tossed in the rubbish. Let there never be another "I, Robot", "Alien 3", "Doom", "Resident Evil", or what may turn out to be a very bad X-Men 3.

    The incentive for studios? Classics like 2001. Reduced price on screenplays. Favorable press for charitable donations.

    WHO'S WITH ME?!? (I've never shouted on /. before)

  • Other nominations (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Flyboy Connor (741764) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @04:44AM (#14722935)
    "AI: Artificial Intelligence," written and directed by Stanley Kubrick instead of written and directed by Steven Spielberg based on a rejected script by Stanley Kubrick.

    A modern version of "The Power," this time true to the novel by Frank M. Robinson. This book is so written to be turned into a movie that there was no good reason to dumb it down and remove all the cool philosophical and psychological bits from the book. Of course, in 1968 movies could not be that dark, but today it should be possible to turn this book into a kickass SF/mystery movie.

    ANY book by Philip K. Dick, directed by Terry Gilliam.

  • The Matrix Re-Edited (Score:5, Interesting)

    by payndz (589033) on Wednesday February 15, 2006 @05:49AM (#14723092)
    I'm pretty sure if you give me Reloaded and Revolutions and a knife, I can cut you a lone, 100-minute Matrix sequel that would flatten your balls.

    I actually did that, just for the hell of it. It wasn't 100 minutes, but 117 isn't too far off. As to whether it flattened anyone's balls, I couldn't really say - but I do know it's now the only way I can watch the sequels, because it made me realise just how awfully bloated and padded and pretentious they are.

    The major changes:
    All the 'Trinity's death' dream sequence (and references to it) removed.
    Film now starts with Smith possessing Bane, then cuts to Neo jolting awake on the Neb as if that's what woke him.
    Meeting of the captains shortened.
    Arrival at Zion shortened.
    The Kid excised almost completely (I accidentally left one shot of him in).
    The rave deleted.
    Neo's fight with Seraph removed.
    The Oracle's conversation with Neo shortened.
    Most of the meeting with the Merovingian taken out (including the 'virtual orgasm').
    Chateau fight shortened.
    Twins fight shortened.
    Car chase shortened.
    Fight between Morpheus and the Agent deleted.
    The scene where the Machines destroy one of the ships re-edited to take out the 'WTF?' accident that kills the crew (now they just get blown up).
    The Architect's bafflegab shortened.
    Trinity/Agent fight shortened.
    Trinity doesn't get shot while falling - Neo simply grabs her, so the scene of him taking out the bullet also goes.
    The 'DUN!' ending of Reloaded re-edited using a shot from Revolutions so that the two films blend together.
    The entire Mobil Avenue/Club Hel/Morpheus and Trinity meet the Oracle section deleted.
    Neo's meeting with the Oracle shortened.
    Smith's meeting with the Oracle, ditto.
    The standoff between Neo and Bane as Trinity's held hostage removed.
    The three stories at the climax are now intercut - Neo's flight to Machine City, the Hammer's Sewer Shark fight and the Battle of Zion now all take place at once.
    Huge amount of cutting of the Battle of Zion - the only minor character who now gets any screentime is Mifune (Zee and all her pals are completely gone).
    Major re-editing so that Mifune, not The Kid, opens the door.
    Trinity's death scene cut by three frickin' minutes!
    Super Burly Brawl shortened.
    Meeting between the Oracle and the Architect cut - the film now ends with Neo's apotheosis cutting straight to sunrise over the Matrix.

    All done using iMovie and iDVD! I know that some Matrix purists were enraged by the mere idea of cutting any of the existential dialogue when I posted about this elsewhere, but screw 'em - if you live your life according to the philosophy of a movie, you've got bigger problems than some guy doing his own edit of it.

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. -- Confucius

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