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Emmerich Plans Foundation As a 3D Epic 283

Posted by kdawson
from the pretty-darn-seldon dept.
spuke4000 writes "Roland Emmerich, the writer/director/producer behind Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012 is planning to adapt Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. The plans include using technology developed for Avatar including 3D and motion capture technology. When asked about using this technology Emmerich responded: 'It has to be done all CG because I would not know how to shoot this thing in real.'"
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Emmerich Plans Foundation As a 3D Epic

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:22PM (#31121528) Journal
    The same Roland Emmerich that wrote the script for Independence Day? The movie where Will Smith flies a spaceship out of an alien base and yells "Oh! Elvis has left the building!" ? Where Will Smith pauses after beating up an alien and says "Welcome to Earth!" ? Where Randy Quaid says, "Payback's a bitch, ain't it?" ? Where Randy Quaid is about to fly his ship up into an Alien fortress to blow it up and says "All right, you alien assholes! In the words of my generation: Up Yours!" followed by "Ha-ha-ha! Hello, boys! I'm back! " ? Where Jeff Goldblum says, "Must go faster!" ?

    That's the writing we have to look forward to? And the guy who wrote that is directing?

    *curls up into fetal position*

    Well, after seeing I, Robot I must say that at least they waited until Asimov was dead before hacking his works up into utter drivel in order to milk those cash cows. Gee, maybe if we're lucky we'll get to see the psychohistorian Hari Seldon played by Tom Cruise scream, "And that's my thousand year plan, bitch!" while snapping his fingers back and forth?

    So what are we looking at here? A movie full of catch phrases shot in a new technology that just broke records for box office revenues? Sounds like these executive producers are betting on a winning horse that I'd rather take a bullet to the head than see.
    • by Homburg (213427)

      I Robot is a pretty decent film, and is true to a lot of Asimov's themes (particularly, the effect of widespread dependence on robots on human society, as explored in the Elijah Baley novels).

      • I Robot is a pretty decent film

        Please tell me you're joking. The movie I, Robot may have been okay if it were simply a standalone film, but as an "adaption" of Asimov's book it was a travesty. About the only thing the book had in common with the movie was the title.

        While overly satirical and lacking in details, Maddox's review [thebestpag...iverse.net] isn't all that far from the mark.

        • by Homburg (213427) on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:47PM (#31121858) Homepage

          About the only thing the book had in common with the movie was the title.

          And the themes: The three laws; the ways in which these laws can be, unexpectedly, harmful (the point of about half of the stories in the book); a mystery based on trying to predict how these laws will play out in unusual circumstances (the point of the other half of the stories in the book); a society shaped by dependence on robots, and the problems this might cause (the subject of a number of Asimov's later robot books). Sure, there's a lot more running around and shooting and Will Smith being a badass in the film than there is in the book, but there's some definite common threads, too.

          I'm beginning to think that people who claim the book and film of I, Robot have nothing in common simply don't have a very strong grasp on what Asimov actually wrote.

          • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Friday February 12, 2010 @08:01PM (#31122062) Journal

            Uh, was there any running around and shooting in the book? The themes may have been similar, but was the actual PLOT of the movie anything like the book? Was the TONE of the movie anything like the book? If you admit that the only thing the book and movie had in common was the three laws and ubiquitous robots, I think we can agree.

          • I agree and back you on this one. I think that his stories were very complex and if one filmmaker were to try and present half the stories from I, Robot in the form they were presented in the book, nobody would like the film. Thinking cars and robots on Mercury and slumbering giants with no vocal abilities and cavernous computers ... those theatrical sets would be hard to reproduce. But to grasp what it means to rely on robots to the point that nobody knows who's in control, and everyone assumes the robots

          • by DangerFace (1315417) on Friday February 12, 2010 @08:10PM (#31122170) Journal

            From the wiki:

            The film that was ultimately made originally had no connections with Asimov, originating as a screenplay written in 1995 by Jeff Vintar, entitled Hardwired. That script was an Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery that took place entirely at the scene of a crime, with one lone human character, FBI agent Del Spooner, investigating the killing of a reclusive scientist named Dr. Hogenmiller, and interrogating a cast of machine suspects that included Sonny the robot, HECTOR the supercomputer with a perpetual yellow smiley face, the dead Doctor Hogenmiller's hologram, plus several other examples of artificial intelligence... Jeff Vintar... incorporated the Three Laws of Robotics, and replaced the character of Flynn with Susan Calvin, when the studio decided to use the name "I, Robot"

            I was genuinely angry after watching that film, mainly because the only copy of I, Robot I could get my hands on now had Will Smith on the cover.

            No, wait, it was mainly because the plots of the two works shared not one single point of congruence. And the film mainly focused on badassery and leaping around, which is true to Asimov's style - his trademark was always providing very little substance and just having huge set-piece battles between the protagonist and every other being in the story.

            No, wait. What really, really got to me was that the name I, Robot was used on some crappy spec script that had to be reimagined multiple times to make it sufficiently commercial and then had Asimov's ideas vaguely pinned on as a clear afterthought in order to give it some geek cred, instead of a tender reimagining of the lovingly crafted tales of understated strife that his works so deserve.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by hardburn (141468)

              By the sounds of it, the original script would have made a nice little indy film. I want to watch that movie.

          • by westlake (615356)

            Sure, there's a lot more running around and shooting and Will Smith being a badass in the film than there is in the book, but there's some definite common threads, too. I'm beginning to think that people who claim the book and film of I, Robot have nothing in common simply don't have a very strong grasp on what Asimov actually wrote.

            I still cringe when I hear a robot being called "boy" in his early stories.

            The positonic Stepin Fetchit.

            The Foundation Trilogy is an adolescent - intellectual's - fantasy of ba

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by wiredlogic (135348)

            That's all well and good except for the fact that the screenplay "Hardwired" was not written as an adaptation of Asimov's work. The title and three laws were just grafted on to pull in more ticket sales.

          • For some reason, with sci-fi in particular, you get people who seem to think that there is the One True Way(tm) that a story must be told. As such if you adapt it to a movie or something like that you have to maintain it precisely, 100% the way it was. If you change anything, you've "ruined" it. Also running along side that you get a sort of counter culture movement that says "If something is popular it can't be good." They can only like things that are out of the mainstream.

            That's what was going on here. P

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Except you've vastly overstated the degree to which the I, Robot movie resembled the book. It wasn't even remotely the same story (unlike Hitchikers) and it certainly wasn't true to Asimov's vision.

              If you want to know why sci-fi fans, particularly hard sci-fi fans are like this I'll tell you. It's because nobody ever makes a movie that appeals to them. The issues of morality and science that they find interesting are not elements of sci-fi on screen. The only thing they have is books. And when one of those

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by cduffy (652)

              Abso-fucking-lutely not in the spirit of the collection.

              Asimov's robots could in almost all cases harm an individual human only at the cost of their own self-destruction, if even then; being in a position to save only one of two humans would destroy them. In the case where the "zeroth law" does make its way into the original stories, the cost of violating the First Law remains severe.

              The movie did not respect Asimov's Three Laws, as originally imagined, beyond mere lip service.

          • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Saturday February 13, 2010 @12:36AM (#31124352)

            And the themes: The three laws; the ways in which these laws can be, unexpectedly, harmful (the point of about half of the stories in the book)

            The reason Asimov's robot stories are so famous is because he did not write 'robot as the monster' stories. His robots were machines, and broke down like machines. They did not go havok or turn on their creators. They had weird, unpredictable bugs that resulted in unexpected behavior, but did not violate their core concepts. His robots were safe: 'Made so.'

            Once he had that fully established, he played with it a bit in no more than a couple of stories, because he was too good an author to not do so. But even then, there was never a robot 'menace', or robots running around murdering people.

            Robots running haywire and trying to supplant the human race is exactly what Asimov was known for not doing. Making a movie where that's the plot and putting Asimov's name on it is like doing a movie about Lord of the Rings - and having Saruon as a misunderstood rebel, who's really all right underneath.

        • by koreaman (835838)

          If it is okay as a standalone film, then it is okay.

          Films should be judged on their merits as films, not on their fidelity to other media.

          This is why I prefer never to have read a book before seeing a film adaptation.

          • by Korin43 (881732)
            If the directory of I, Robot didn't want people complaining that it was nothing like the book, they shouldn't have named it "I, Robot".
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mustafap (452510)

            >This is why I prefer never to have read a book before seeing a film adaptation.

            Try reading books and ignoring the film. You'll find the pictures are better.

          • by Darinbob (1142669)
            That's the big problem - if a movie is presenting itself as based on existing subject matter you can't really judge it on its own. A different title and "I Robot" would have been an interesting movie. But with that title you can't help but be struck by the dissimilarities and will wonder if it was just meant to be marketed to people who haven't read the books. The title is what makes the movie into a poseur when it could have just tried to stand up on its own merits. There's also the bait-and-switch asp
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by dpilot (134227)

          It didn't just have the movie title, it had "Susan Calvin, Action Hero!"

        • Not true... (Score:3, Funny)

          by denzacar (181829)

          The movie I, Robot may have been okay if it were simply a standalone film

          Sorry... can't agree on this.

          It was on TV just last night and it is BAD.
          This isn't the first time I've seen it mind you.
          First time was truly a torture - particularly cause I've just reread the Robots couple of months prior.

          Last night though, I've tried to analyze it to see if it could be made into a watchable movie with some creative editing.
          I came to conclusion that it would have to be cut down to about 1/3 of the current length.

          - Drop most action sequences. Like Will Smith running after a robot - to point

        • It is unfortunate that I don't have any mod points right now. I couldn't agree more.... I, Robot was an absolutely hideous movie compared to the book. It completely missed the point of the book and certainly didn't really explore the concepts of the laws of robotics in more than simply a superficial fashion.

          Of the other movies in his resume, the other Roland Emmerich films also give me the shudders to think of how bad they could be. Heck, I think it would be an improvement for some of those films to have Jar Jar Binks come walking into the scene with some singing Wookies.... if you know what I mean from the George Lucas films.

          I sort of enjoyed Independence Day.... provided I put my brain into neutral and was under a buzz from some adult beverages. More of that stuff helps, I should note. I don't even have a desire to watch 2012, and criticized the trailer to no end on Hulu when I saw that piece of tripe for the first time. Day After Tomorrow? Please, give me a break. That was even worse than the others.

          I love the foundation books, and it disappoints me to no end that they've given such a treasure to a hack like Emmerich. It will more than likely be a horrible movie, sort of how the Starship Troopers ended up being filmed by a very much non-fan of the author or book. I presume it will include Hari Seldon and talk about Trantor to some extent. I sure hope that he at least looks at the feel of Coruscant from the later Star Wars trilogy (episodes I-III) to at least sort of present this massive planet as a city feel in the distant future which is a galactic capital. Asimov explained in one of the books that Trantor had at least a dozen planets tasked to it just for food production to feed the citizens on Trantor, with an incredible amount of interstellar commerce happening just to maintain the status quo of the planet.

          Somehow I think all of that is going to be glossed over or even ignored. And that is just the initial setting of the book. The Psionic mental manipulations that happen in the books should be even more interesting to try and capture on film, and it would take a genius to pull that off. I don't think Emmerich is going to be the one to make that happen either.

          All I can hope is that in the distant future (20-40 years from now) some other brave director actually reads these books and decides to "re-imagine" the books to do them justice. Sort of how Peter Jackson finally figured out how to do the Lord of the Rings in a way that worked. Emmerich isn't that person.

      • by russotto (537200)

        I Robot is a pretty decent film, and is true to a lot of Asimov's themes (particularly, the effect of widespread dependence on robots on human society, as explored in the Elijah Baley novels).

        It, however, followed them to the opposite conclusion. Asimov in the later Foundation series had the robots take the First Law to extremes and let it justify micromanaging humanity for its own good. The "I, Robot" movie had them do the same thing. But Asimov portrayed this as a good thing, whereas the movie clearly

        • by adonoman (624929) on Friday February 12, 2010 @09:43PM (#31123212)
          Except that Asimov never portrayed the zeroth law as a good thing - just an inevitable outcome of the three laws placed in robots with 20,000+ year lifespans and telepathy. The whole point of the Foundation series was to debate whether it's better for man to stagnate under the micromanaged control of the robots, or to start off on their own and face greater risks. In later books after the original trilogy, the decision is made explicitly against robot management of humanity, and for a galactic telepathic communal consciousness.
    • by PotatoFarmer (1250696) on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:27PM (#31121606)
      Let's not be hasty here. Emmerich has done a lot of movies, some of them have to be good.

      *takes a quick stroll over to IMDB*

      Well, shit. Guess we're boned, eh?
      • by captjc (453680)

        I liked Stargate. Independence Day was fun if you take it as a modern Scifi B-Movie like Mars Attacks. Neither of these are great, but they are not bad films.

        Then again, I completely agree you.

      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

        Let's not be hasty here. Emmerich has done a lot of movies, some of them have to be good.
        *takes a quick stroll over to IMDB*
        Well, shit. Guess we're boned, eh?

        Um...Stargate? Moon 44?

        I thought Independence Day was stupid, yeah, but it was _fun_, as was Day After Tomorrow and his version of Godzilla was fun, too (though obviously it had big problems).

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by nahdude812 (88157) *

          Godzilla was fun, too (though obviously it had big problems).

          Isn't that the point of a Godzilla movie?

    • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:30PM (#31121646) Journal

      Hacking into an alien military computer system with an Apple laptop! How could you leave THAT out?

      Funny, when I read the Foundation series, I never pictured it as a big budget action movie. I never thought it would need 3Dand whiz bang special effects. And, you know, it isn't one story, it's a whole bunch of separate stories. I'm thinking this movie will bear about as much resemblance to the books as I, Robot did to its books. That is to say, I predict they will share a similar title, and not much else.

      • by Korin43 (881732)
        What I'm wondering is how they'd make them into movies at all. I mean this in the best way, but Foundation is more suited to be released in the form of a history textbook than a movie. If they drew each storyline out into an entire movie, it might work, but as one?
    • by electrostatic (1185487) on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:32PM (#31121678)

      That's the writing we have to look forward to?

      Playboy interview of James Cameron:
      PLAYBOY: How much do you get into celebrating your movie heroine's hotness?
      CAMERON: Right from the beginning I said, "She's got to have tits," even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na'vi, aren't placental mammals.

    • by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr&hotmail,com> on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:40PM (#31121776) Homepage
      Perhaps you are purposefully disregarding the fact that Roland's target audience is simply.. not you? (You know.. the intelligent type.) Most people really enjoyed ID4. Most people will probably enjoy Foundation in 3D, but only because Roland will dumb it down to their levels.
      • by Darinbob (1142669) on Friday February 12, 2010 @09:08PM (#31122882)
        Then why not make an entertaining movie that looks exactly the same but with a different title? Why take an intelligent book and dumb it down instead of just starting dumb and meeting expectations?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Because I suspect a large percentage of people who have read the books will see the movie just to see how terrible it is. Those are sales they wouldn't have if they started dumb.
      • Great; fine. Nothing wrong with that. Just don't market it by stealing the name, and nothing else, from something that only matters to people who read. Because that's sort of-- no, that is absolutely-- lying.

        And probably counterproductive! How many people who don't read SF (or anything, really) will say "Hmm, Ow My Balls, or... Asimov? I GOTTA SEE THAT!" And how many of the people who are familiar with SF will appreciate an obvious bastardization? Because bastardizers don't come more obvious than Ro
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ultracool (883965)
        I thought ID4 was awesome when I saw it. But then I was also 12 at the time...
    • by dpilot (134227)

      Don't forget one of Asimov's characters, early in the Foundation years, with that immortal line, "The galaxy's going to pot!" Maybe this choice of writer is a good thing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by queequeg1 (180099)

        I agree. Asimov had some awesome story lines and ideas, which is why I love the Foundation series. But a lot of the prose he uses to implement his ideas is just not very good. I had to wince almost every time Arkady had a line of dialogue. I think this is the primary curse of being a fan of science fiction literature: great ideas with poor writing. But I'll keep reading the stuff anyway.

        • by rleibman (622895)
          Please, remember the time the stories were written! Asimov started writing it in 1942, he was 22, and he wrote it for pulp magazines. So, the dialog is a bit campy, but you have to put it in context.
        • by dpilot (134227)

          Makes me think a little of "Snow Crash" and some of his Stephenson's other books. Some of it was poor, some cheesy, but he threw so many great ideas at you so fast that you just didn't care about the bad parts, because the good parts were so much fun.

          Stephenson's books were just plain fun, though once I saw the names "Shaftoe" and "Waterhouse" turning up in "The Baroque Cycle" I just skipped the whole series. Another just plain fun book, for some of the same reasons, was "The Algebraist" by Iaian Banks.

    • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Friday February 12, 2010 @08:07PM (#31122134) Journal
      How would you propose one could possibly experience the awesome exhibition of the unique ability of The Mule without 3D?! Luddite!!
    • How, exactly, do you propose to have the audience experience the awesome and unique power of The Mule without 3D?! Luddite!!
    • by rleibman (622895) on Friday February 12, 2010 @08:11PM (#31122174) Homepage
      I deeply disliked I Robot as. But let it be said that Robyn Asimov, who I assume knew her dad pretty well, commented that the dear Doctor would have liked the movie, because he thought that the only way his cerebral stories could make it to the screen was as complete rewrites (story here) [sfgate.com]
    • The Foundation Trilogy was one of the first major SF books I read, back in the late 70's. I had the trilogy with the Chris Foss [chrisfossart.com] covers. Those covers evoked in me a deep feeling of time and distance and that was what put me onto SF as a genre. The very first Star Wars, with the minimalist desert scenes filmed in Tunisia, also had some of that. While I enjoyed ID4 and Stargate as mindless feel good SF action films, almost everything Emmerich does is exactly the same thing, huge disasters with a strange lack o

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ultranova (717540)

      That's the writing we have to look forward to? And the guy who wrote that is directing?

      Daneel: "I can't harm humans."
      Villain: "Gee, that's too bad, isn't it?"
      Villain turns and starts walking away.
      Daneel: "Ah, screw it."
      Daneel runs up to the villain, rips out his arms and beats him to death with them.
      Daneel (still perfectly calmly): "This is the Zeroeth Rule, bitch."

      Seriously, the other movies were all action spectacles. Foundation is not, it's a political/psychological story that spans centuries, wit

  • by tivoKlr (659818) on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:26PM (#31121590) Journal

    If it's that hard to comprehend how to wrangle this story onto a screen, perhaps it's best left as a book?

    • That's why they need 3D. It's the only way you can cram that much boring bad writing up on the screen.

      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:33PM (#31121682) Journal

        Bad writing? Hardly. Asimov is not to everyone's taste. His writing is for thoughtful people interested in character motivations and dialogue, not fans of space opera shoot-'em-up action. Which means his books don't generally make good movies unless you completely rewrite them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by John Hasler (414242)

      Don't worry. The story will be left as a book. What gets made into a movie will have no connection with Asimov's work other than the title.

    • He meant to be able to film it from varying camera angles in the real world, I'm sure he already has scenes in mind from the books that would be impossible to shoot in real life.

  • Great Books (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:26PM (#31121598)

    When I was 13 I came down with a pretty bad case of strep throat. I was stuck at home and feeling pretty miserable. My mother did something a bit unusual, she stopped into a local used book store that I frequented quite a bit and picked up a Foundation Trilogy boxed set [amazon.com] from the '60s. (This was the early '80s) I still bought a lot of books based on the cover back then and I don't know that I would have picked these up at the time. But she brought them home (along with a copy of Watership Down [wikipedia.org] I think) and I dove into them. One of the best gifts my mother ever gave me. I fell in love with them, still have them and re-read them every so often.
     
    I never could get into the newer books quite as much as those first three. They hold a very special place in my library. Hopefully down the road my kids will enjoy them as much as I did.
     
    As for film adaptaptions, like most avid readers I think I will see it but wont expect much. I never expect film or tv to be as 'good' as a book because I like books more. I don't usually get too upset unless someone murders a book I love, which fortunately doesn't happen too often. But it does happen [amazon.com]. Of course the, "It has to be done all CG because I would not know how to shoot this thing in real." quote doesn't inspire confidence. Anyone who says that about Foundation hasn't read it.

    • You are aware then that in his later years he tied all his universes together, right? It ends with Robots + Foundation going places that weren't evident at the beginning of either. And if you take it with the one story about the ACs and the people asking "what will happen after the stars are dead" then it's like he's got a meta meta story ... interesting but I don't know if that was intended.

      Unfortunately he wasn't able by himself to finalize the series, so after he passed the estate asked three authors (ve

  • Who cares about 3D. Just try to be as faithful to the books as possible, and try to tell a really good story!

    • > Just try to be as faithful to the books as possible...

      This is Hollywood we are talking about here.

      > ...and try to tell a really good story!

      Again, this is _Hollywood_. You know, the people who made the Starship Troopers movie?

  • Doesn't bode well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Homburg (213427) on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:31PM (#31121658) Homepage

    "It has to be done all CG because I would not know how to shoot this thing in real."

    Really? I'm having trouble thinking of anything in Foundation that couldn't have been filmed using the technology available back when the stories were originally written. It's a story about ideas, not an exercise in world-building or aesthetic splendor.

    • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:36PM (#31121726) Homepage

      > It's a story about ideas...

      "Ideas"? You want the guy to sprain his brain or something?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by H0p313ss (811249)

        > It's a story about ideas...

        "Ideas"? You want the guy to sprain his brain or something?

        How can he sprain that which does not exist?

    • by lymond01 (314120)

      Totally. I don't recall much in the way of action or special effects necessary outside of maybe the Holographic effect of Hari Seldon's performances. I don't see this as a movie -- no persistent characters, not much dialogue or action. The concept of the books is neat, but it's not a sci-fi blockbuster -- it's a piece of future historical fiction. I wouldn't bother with this in a movie.

      Robots of Dawn? That could be a movie (which I think is what they based I, Robot on, very loosely, though I couldn't b

      • the Holographic effect of Hari Seldon's performances

        "Help me Obi Wan!" bzzt chk. "Help me Obi Wan!" bzzt chk. "Help me Obi Wan!" bzzt chk.

    • by jagapen (11417)

      I'm having trouble thinking of anything in Foundation that couldn't have been filmed using the technology available back when the stories were originally written. It's a story about ideas, not an exercise in world-building or aesthetic splendor.

      One word: Trantor!

      Just imagine 3D visuals of Hari Seldon's arrival on the imperial planet at its height, and later the ruined planet inhabited by the Hamish. I've been dreaming about the possibilities for a movie vision of Trantor since CGI became widespread.

      Pity about the story, though...

  • Really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage.praecantator@com> on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:35PM (#31121716) Homepage

    When I often consider whom I would choose to make a movie about thinking leaders who manage to diffuse conflicts through subtle social and economic pressures, Roland Emerich never fails to make my short list. Of course I would have thought Michael Bay or Uwe Boll to have been more ideal choices.

  • oh good lord (Score:5, Interesting)

    by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:38PM (#31121762) Journal
    I know how to film it. You take some ACTORS and you have them ACT and you point a camera at them, and then you have a movie. Asimov was a writer, not a zero-attention-span adrenaline junkie. Just about every scene in the first three Foundation books is people talking, and that's all it is, and more to the point, that's precisely why it's amazingly good. You could have the spaceships made out of cardboard cutouts being held by cute Asian girls and it would only marginally impact the flow of Asimov's story. GAH.
  • by Jay Maynard (54798) on Friday February 12, 2010 @07:41PM (#31121790) Homepage

    The Foundation trilogy is about the least SFnal SF from the standpoint of imagery. There's precious little spaceships, or future tech. It's all in the minds of the characters, and in the dialogue. This movie could have been made in 1975 and not suffered visually at all.

    • This movie could have been made in 1975 and not suffered visually at all

      Oh, hell, it could have been made in 1955 and not suffered visually. All you would need are some carefully painted backdrops of Trantor and some futuristic looking furniture.

  • Please don't ruin my beloved Foundation Series! Why would everything need to be CG? A great adaptation of these stories should focus on the dialog and characters. There should be little to no flashy action!
  • Obviously, Roland Emmerich has ever seen any of his films: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Harryhausen [wikipedia.org]

    . . . in fact, I still find the films with his effects better than stuff that looks "too" good . . .

  • Thats the only thing that i think that will have some meaning to show in 3D, dense math formulas morphing into events, if i remember well most of what happens in the movies is more chat in closed rooms than anything resembling action. Unless they take the Matrix approach for math.
  • This is a case where I really want to "vote against" a movie project before it hits the theaters. I'd love a well-crafted realization of the Foundation books on screen, but not a movie by a Hollywood hack producing something without any vision broader than trading CG whizbang for cash. The opportunity cost of having to wait until this mess is forgotten and the rights end up in competent hands is just too damn high: it's probably a matter of waiting until the practically-endless copyright expires. Fsckers

    • There's no reason that a Foundation movie (to stay in-genre) shouldn't be at least as thought provoking as, say, Blade Runner.

      That is so true. And just like Blade Runner what would matter was the story and characters. The FX in Blade Runner was just to show a dis-Utopian future in the background, not to blow the audience out of there seats.

      IMNSHO, The Foundation could be a movie of Blade Runner caliber, the kind that people still talk about 20 years after release.

      Unfortunatly what we are more likel
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bughunter (10093)

      I'm with you. Of all the classic SF/Fantasy series out there, The Foundation Trilogy is probably the one LEAST amenable to a screenplay.

      I mean, consider these series, just off the top of my head, in no particular order:

      - Chalker's Well of Souls series
      - Varley's Gaea Trilogy
      - Heinlein's Lazarus Long epics
      - Niven's Ringworld trilogy
      - Niven/Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye and The Gripping Hand
      - Flynn's Firestar series
      - Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant or Gap Cycle
      - Vinge's Fire Upon the Deep and A

  • you gotta be sh***ng me. 3D will not add anything... unless he starts doing some pretty spectacular 3D visualizations regarding the Positronic brain and psycho history... which like 0.01% of the population will understand and will cause the same 0.01% say that its not correct enough.

  • by McNally (105243) <mmcnally@nospaM.gmail.com> on Friday February 12, 2010 @08:00PM (#31122040) Homepage

    If there really is a secret force out there influencing events to preserve civilization I'm counting on them to prevent this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DreamingReal (216288)

      Don't forget, Hari Seldon's solution included the reduction of 10,000 years of barbarism to 1,000. I started counting at 2000. Only 990 years to go!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SuperKendall (25149)

      If there really is a secret force out there influencing events to preserve civilization I'm counting on them to prevent this.

      Perhaps in 10,000 years a re-screening of the movie shown to the populace forments a revolt that takes out the government of the day, all run by descendants of modern-day Hollywood...

      We suffer a little now to protect the mysterious FUTURE.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Spy der Mann (805235)

      If there really is a secret force out there influencing events to preserve civilization I'm counting on them to prevent this.

      You mean you still don't know yet?

      Slashdot is Terminus. So far our Encyclopaedia Technologica has been doing pretty well... just as planned.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by elmartinos (228710)

      I am most definitely sure Roland Emmerich is the Mule. Not even Seldon could have foreseen this.

  • The foundation books, while great Sci-fi, don't have a lot of action.

    I'm beting that Emmerich will "sex up" asimov's grand story with some ridiculous chase scenes and lots of action.

  • Please! Nooooo! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 12, 2010 @08:07PM (#31122128)

    It's going to be like a train wreck...something that one can't bear to watch, and yet one can't tear one's eyes away from.

    For example, qoting from http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=59905#:

    "On the other end, the "Foundation" is a similar problem in that you have all these short stories and then they were combined into a book and so in a way there is not one character and I spoke with the Rob and he said we have to consolidate the characters..."

    So here you have this epic story that deliberately spans the generations to show how Seldon's grand plan is being played out (ignoring all the 'other' fuondations books that sort of watered things down) and Emmerich is going to "consoldiate the characters." WTF? Lazarus Long will be taking the starring role perhaps ;-)

    Thisgs to look forward to, perhaps:

    Maybe we'll see Salvor Hardin kicking Prince Regent Wienis' teeth out in a thrilling fight scene (can't see Emmerich taking the maxim "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" on board!).

    Maybe we'll see Bel Riose blowing everything up as he closes in on Trantor. Lots of opportunity for a car chase (sorry...space battle...) scene here...

    We can watch the Mule torture Captain Han Pritcher (in close up) into submission. Imagine the fun of seeing blood trickle down from Pritcher's nose and then realise (with a shock) that a burst blood vessel in his nose actually signifies how his will has been broken.

    Maybe we'll see a bit of girl-on-girl action between Arkady Darrel and Lady Callia? In 3D!

    No. No and thrice NO, I say!

    Let's start up a "NO Foundation Film" petition!

  • by AJWM (19027) on Friday February 12, 2010 @08:08PM (#31122144) Homepage

    Just wait until the moviegoing public decides that Trantor was just a rip-off of Star Wars' Coruscant. Or more likely, that the whole Empire is a rip-off of Star Wars.

    Just something else Lucas will have to answer for.

  • by Logic Bomb (122875) on Friday February 12, 2010 @08:09PM (#31122154)

    These are absolutely some of my very favorite books. But as I recall, Asimov's own foreword to the original trilogy makes the idea of a movie series seem pretty stupid. He started Foundation as a series of short stories. Years later, when a publisher was trying to persuade him to make a longer Foundation work, Asimov had to go back and re-read the material. He reports that, as he sat there reading, he kept waiting for something to happen in the story. He was right (of course): Foundation is mostly people have discussions. What kind of movie can you make out of that?

  • I was wondering how long it would take someone to come along and desecrate Foundation. Foundation was my introduction to real Sci-Fi literature. It's always held a special place in my heart. The obvious problem with Foundation as a movie is, it'd be epically boring if it's even remotely true to the book. It's just not something you can properly do as a movie.

    But, if I'm able to completely separate the movie, in my mind, from the book, then I might actually enjoy it. As corny and ridiculous as Independenc
  • brilliant but handsome Hari Seldon (played by Russel Crowe) is accused of treason and is on the run from the Galactic Empire after prophesying the fall of the Empire. We will see Trantor in all its CG glory as a copy of Coruscant which was a copy of Trantor in the first place. We will also see the decadence and corruption prevalent in the Empire through a series of melodramatic montages of oppression and bacchanal scenes. There will be thrilling CG chases and fights through out the labyrinthine corridors on
  • I would love to see what Ridley Scott would do with the Foundation Universe...
  • Sky Captain Style (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AP31R0N (723649) on Friday February 12, 2010 @11:25PM (#31123924)

    i'd do this Sky Captain style. Real actors, CG environment, 50's looking gadgets. i'd do it as a TV series so you could give it the time it needs.

  • by Garwulf (708651) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @11:52AM (#31127332) Homepage

    Surely I can't be the only one who got REALLY worried when I read this part of the interview: "It's not only the effect of 3-D, ['Avatar' has] just shown that if you do a movie in 3-D, you can ask for more money and that's the trick."

    It really seems to me that this is proof that Emmerich has missed the point here. 3D is a wonderful tool for telling stories, but the story has to be there first. I've been a fan of movies all my life, and many of the most impressive movies I've seen were done on a very low budget - what made them impressive was that they told really good stories, or they told their story really well.

    To take an example of the first: Moon. If you haven't seen it, see it. It's an amazing movie, a mind-blowing story, and it was done with a budget of all of $5 million. Another example: Cube. That's a very effective and extremely imaginative SF horror movie, with a budget of a grand total of around $365,000.

    But, what about a larger story? One with lots of pyrotechnics, battles, etc. Well, besides the fact that each Lord of the Rings movie came in at $90 million only - making them now cheaper than most other event movies - I present for your consideration Underworld. It doesn't have a mind-blowing story - it's a pretty basic one, although it is well-told - but it does have a centuries-old war between vampires and werewolves, and it was incredibly stylish with very good effects, and an emphasis on story. Its budget? Around $22 million.

    Emmerich's comment about how 3D will be very good at shaking loose more money worries me a great deal. I'm afraid that we're going to see lots of big event movies that are all computer FX, and lacking in craft or storytelling. Sure, you'll see the money on the screen, but part of creativity in moviemaking is coming up with new ways to tell stories, and limited budgets are often a good thing - they force the filmmaker to concentrate on the important parts of the movie, rather than getting distracted by the FX sequences. Now we're looking at 3D for the sake of 3D - or even worse, for the sake of getting money to do 3D - rather than 3D because that's the best way to tell the story.

    (Aside from which, am I the only one who thinks that a few too many people are talking about FX allowing them to do things they couldn't do before, particularly when their examples ARE things that have been done before, and done well? Sure, there are stories that are probably unfilmable, such as Dante's Divine Comedy, but that's mainly because it's more travelogue than story - all the visual effects could have been done for that by Ray Harryhausen forty years ago. Seriously, if King Kong could do it in 1933, it wasn't impossible before computers.)

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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