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Ridley Scott Returns to PKD 99

Posted by timothy
from the hard-to-get-right dept.
Krau Ming quotes from a report at Sneakpeek.ca "Ridley Scott's Scott Free Productions will produce a 4-hour TV adaptation of author Phlip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle, based on a script by Howard Brenton. The original 1962 novel was a science fiction 'alternate history' that won a sci fi Hugo book award in 1963. Premise of the book, about daily life under totalitarian Fascist imperialism, occurs in 1962, fourteen years after the end of the Second World War in 1948. The victorious Axis Powers, Japan and Germany, conduct intrigues against each other in North America, specifically in the former US, which surrendered to them, after the Axis conquered Eurasia and destroyed the populaces of Africa." Adds Krau Ming: "Hopefully this will fall in the category of well-done PKD adaptations (though I'll leave it up to the slashdotters to determine which of the previous movies should be categorized as such)."
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Ridley Scott Returns to PKD

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  • but isn't PKD the author who has the most works that have been translated to the silver screen? I love hisa work and I'm glad to know that yet another of his novels/short stories/novellas is being translated.
    • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @08:49AM (#33844812) Journal
      In fact, to reply to my own post... I just found this list of PKD works that have been translated into films [philipkdick.com].
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Here's a summary of the movies from a Slashdotter. You're welcome.

        ----

        Blade Runner (1982) Based on "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" - Blade runner is a horrible piece of Sci-fi. Unbelievable premise. Poor lead actor. Lacks any symbolism or deeper meaning.

        Screamers (1995) Based on "Second Variety" - Quite possibly the most thrilling piece of Sci-fi since Ridley Scott did Alien. Totally plausible plot. Dark, brooding imagery keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat the entire time.

        Total Recall (19

        • Radio Free Albemuth [radiofreealbemuth.com] is due for release before the end of the year.
        • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@ n e tzero.net> on Saturday October 09, 2010 @01:18PM (#33846498) Homepage Journal

          For myself, I loved Blade Runner. It was a little ahead of its time and is much more cerebral than a typical "SciFi" movie, but it certainly is at the top of nearly any list of best movies I can cite. The groundbreaking effects and ideas expressed in the movie have been copied by many subsequent films enough that some things look cliche because you've seen those other movies that came after Blade Runner. IMHO it was also one of Harrison Ford's better roles, but I suppose that you can form your own opinion about that actor and his work. Harrison Ford has been one of Hollywood's most "bankable" actors as he is in films that have a combined gross take in the billions of dollars. Perhaps that is why he is hated but the roughly billion or so people who have seen at least one of his movies might beg to differ on that point. This film is certainly more "hard SF" than "SciFi", which perhaps is the problem with the above reviewer.

          As for Total Recall, I thought it was a fun diversion, but as for realism I thought it was absolutely stupid and highly inaccurate. "Scientifically accurate depiction of exposure to the Martian atmosphere".... hardly. It looked cool on film I suppose but it really didn't work very well. FYI, you can survive on Mars with mostly a pressure suit and an oxygen mask. Parts of the surface of Mars have the same atmospheric pressure as the top of Everest. Really, it isn't nearly as bad as depicted in the movie. The lead actor is the now governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you know his work, it sums it up pretty well. Perhaps one of the more cerebral roles for the governator, but there is still a pretty high body count by the time the movie is done. He also has more dialog in this movie than Terminator, but almost any movie would qualify in that regard and doesn't say much and is perhaps one of its flaws too. It is a movie to watch with your brain put into neutral merely to enjoy the film as an action thriller, not for any scientific accuracy if you really know anything about this stuff.

          Minority Report stars Tom Cruise as the lead. If you've seen "Mission Impossible" (1 or 2, it doesn't matter), it is essentially the same movie in a slightly different setting. Tom Cruise portrays the cocky punk that he has been in most of his movies and this isn't even really his best role either. There is more that is redeeming than just the data search user interface with the computers that he is using (running Hollywood OS, of course). The stuff that Phillip K. Dick wrote in is certainly thought provoking including the whole concept of arresting people who merely show the potential of committing a crime. If the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] entry is to be believed, it was originally supposed to be a sequel of Total Recall, to be also starring the Governator as the lead actor instead of Tom Cruise. Thank goodness that script was lost and that plan abandoned. While not a horrible film, this film doesn't really inspire me either so I wouldn't say to avoid this film but also don't go out of your way to watch it either. If it comes up as something on TV or you have a friend who has it on DVD and you have a couple hours to kill with nothing better to do, there are worse ways to spend those two hours of your life.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by mpsmps (178373)

            As for Total Recall, I thought it was a fun diversion, but as for realism I thought it was absolutely stupid and highly inaccurate. "Scientifically accurate depiction of exposure to the Martian atmosphere".... hardly. It looked cool on film I suppose but it really didn't work very well. FYI, you can survive on Mars with mostly a pressure suit and an oxygen mask. Parts of the surface of Mars have the same atmospheric pressure as the top of Everest. Really, it isn't nearly as bad as depicted in the movie.

            Your complaints about the movie's scientific accuracy would be more compelling if you were more accurate than the movie was. Air pressure on Mars is less than 10 millibars. Air pressure at the top of Mt. Everest is about 300 millibars. Not remotely "the same atmospheric pressure".

            • by Teancum (67324)

              The question here is.... where is the pressure on Mars at 10 millibars? At the bottom of Hellas Basin and Valles Marineris it can certainly approach a couple hundred millibar of pressure. At the top of Olympus Mons? Yeah, that is almost out of the Martian atmosphere. The elevation differences on Mars are much more pronounced than even on the Earth. Even on the Earth there are pressure differences... like say the air pressure is approaching 1000 millibars at sea level with even higher average pressure

              • by mbone (558574)

                The surface pressure in Hellas is nowhere near 200 mbar. If you disagree, please provide a reference from the scientific literature.

              • by mpsmps (178373)

                The question here is.... where is the pressure on Mars at 10 millibars? At the bottom of Hellas Basin and Valles Marineris it can certainly approach a couple hundred millibar of pressure.

                At the bottom of Hellas Basin, air pressure is 11.5 millibars [wikipedia.org]. You might want to consider the saying that "when you're in a hole (e.g., the Hellas Basin), you need to stop digging."

          • by jgrahn (181062) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @05:33PM (#33847980)

            As for Total Recall, I thought it was a fun diversion, but as for realism I thought it was absolutely stupid and highly inaccurate. "Scientifically accurate depiction of exposure to the Martian atmosphere".... hardly. [...] It is a movie to watch with your brain put into neutral merely to enjoy the film as an action thriller, not for any scientific accuracy if you really know anything about this stuff.

            It may come as a surprise to you, but most people don't watch action movies for their scientific accuracy ...

            It's also worth pointing out that Total Recall stops being based on the PKD story fifteen minutes into the movie or so. (The rest is still based on a mix of Dick's themes, though. I like it.)

            • by Teancum (67324)

              It's also worth pointing out that Total Recall stops being based on the PKD story fifteen minutes into the movie or so.
              (The rest is still based on a mix of Dick's themes, though. I like it.)

              As an action adventure film to enjoy, I'd agree. I do have to put my brain into neutral when watching movies like this, particularly movies like "The Net" that attempt to depict computer technology that I happen to know a thing or two about on a more intimate level. My wife sometimes has to hit me to settle me down when I see a glaring technical flaw that is being used as a major plot device to help "save the hero".

              I can handle FTL spaceflight as it sort of suspends reality, but at least stay somewhat con

              • Agreed, there comes a point when you have to turn the dial in your brain from "Nerd" to "John Woo"... Paycheck for example. The same is also true, topically, with Mission Impossible 2. If the dial in your brain is set to "Mission Impossible" and not "explosions and slow mo" then you're not going to enjoy it.

        • He's got 2 out of 10 right.

          I mean Paycheck is great, but Blade Runner is trash? I mean Paycheck, great? Really? Was there another version i missed that was good, and if so where can i see it?

          Movie critics are about as useful and accurate as futurists.
      • by shinehead (603005)
        I think I would have preferred PKD to author Solaris instead of Stanislaw Lem. The novel would be worse but the movie would have been better.
    • by xigxag (167441) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @08:57AM (#33844858)

      Not bothering to look this up but I think almost self-evidently the correct answer would be Shakespeare.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by xigxag (167441)

        In fact, to reply to my own post... I just found ;-) [wikipedia.org]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Ok, maybe I should've specified MODERN author, and even then apparently Stephen King beats PKD.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by xigxag (167441)

            True. According to this article, there are a few more authors [suite101.com] who have beaten our Dick.

            The article lists:

            0. Bible/Homer/Shakespeare/Dickens
            1. Stephen King
            2. W. Somerset Maugham
            3. Ernest Hemingway
            and possibly, depending on the current count
            4. John Grisham

            Ian Fleming seems to be missing from that list, and I suspect others as well.

            • by hedwards (940851)
              Homer? Didn't they only make 1 Simpsons movie?
            • The OP meant modern, sci-fi, author whose first name starts with a P and has a story with the word "androids" in the title. Clear enough?

            • Technically, he's the Sci-Fi author that's had the most stories turned into films. And speaking of somebody who's read most of the stories and seen all the films - some of them are SO LOOSELY based, it's hard to even say it's based on the story. Read The Golden Man then watch Next and you'll see what I mean.
              • by PCM2 (4486)

                Technically, he's the Sci-Fi author that's had the most stories turned into films.

                Really? Not Ray Bradbury?

                • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                  Wiki has a list of Bradbury 6 adaptations to other media. [wikipedia.org] There's a whole Movies and Films based on works by Philip K. Dick [philipkdick.com] site. I count 7 theatrical releases based on RB, vs. 9 for PKD and 2 more in production. This doesn't count miniseries...miniserieses? or other TV adaptations.
                  • by PCM2 (4486)

                    On the other hand, IMDB has a total of 75 credits for Bradbury, while Dick only gets 19. Granted, many of these are for TV series and some are work that Bradbury himself did for Hollywood.

                    No knock to Dick, but for sheer number of adaptations in all media I think Bradbury takes the cake. E.C. comics got a lot of heat from Bradbury for adapting his stories without asking (or paying) him, and that was all in the early 50s -- and I suspect some radio plays predate that.

            • Ian Fleming seems to be missing from that list, and I suspect others as well.

              Perhaps Michael Crichton?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not that I have anything against PKD, he's one of may favorite authors. But lets be honest, he stories are raided and the screen adaptations are nothing like the prose. There are many other authors out there. Hollywood is lazy, or maybe Philip's family are very well connected. Shame the author himself didn't get the money, just his leach of a family.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Whoever modded the above post down, he's speaking the truth. PKD's family trust has milked his works for years... yet another argument against extended copyright. (Although thinking about it, his work would probably still fall under copyright under older versions of the laws).
        • How old? Just like patents, copyrights were originally 15-17 years.
          • by Teancum (67324)

            I could live with a 30+30 rule, as in 30 years of protection plus an additional 30 years if you make the effort to formally renew the copyright (verifiable and can be confirmed with the Library of Congress). That was the law at the beginning of the 20th Century. Under such a law, most of PKD's books would still be under copyright although there would be a huge pile of stuff that would be in the public domain that would be useful.

            I believe the Copyright Act of 1790 had a term of 17 years plus 17 years for

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AfroTrance (984230)

        But lets be honest, he stories are raided and the screen adaptations are nothing like the prose.

        There is nothing wrong with movies based on a book that have been modified heavily. The medium is completely different. You can't convey the same ideas in a movie as you can with text.

        Hollywood is lazy, or maybe Philip's family are very well connected.

        It's the first. Blade Runner was a success, therefore producers are more willing to make a PKD book into a movie. Hollywood is very unwilling to try untested writers/directors/etc.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mapuche (41699)

      Only if you mean Stephen King when you say FKD:

      http://bestsellers.about.com/od/stephenking/a/king_films.htm

    • by Miseph (979059)

      I know Truman Capote is up there as well.

      If I were the sort to do pointless and only marginally interesting research, I might look into the actual answer.

    • Filmographies (Score:3, Informative)

      by westlake (615356)

      but isn't PKD the author who has the most works that have been translated to the silver screen?

      "The Prince and the Pauper" was filmed by the Edison studios in 1909 - at Mark Twain's home in Conneticut!

      There have been at least 120 credited and uncredited adaptations of Twain's stories.

      292 tales from Dickens.

      232 adaptations of Sherlock Holmes.

      223 productions based on the novels and stories of Robert Lewis Stevenson.

      201 adaptations from O.Henry, 137 from Jules Verne.

      83 from H.G. Wells, 77 from Rudyard Kipling

  • Hanging ending (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mark0 (750639) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @08:51AM (#33844826)
    Showbiz types generally hate hanging endings. I'll guess fans will be disappointed with it being "reimagined".
    • Ain't this going to be a BBC Production?
      That means it will probably keep the hanging ending and be better than most US treatments would have been...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arth1 (260657)

        But it'll have fewer and smaller explosions, and no artificial hiding of nipples and penises.

        And (and this is one of my pet peeves) US movies tend to have colour and contrast wildly exaggerated, and like with Bollywood movies, you need to have a cultural bias for suppressing disbelief. Despite less attention to details, probably due to much smaller budgets, I find British movies to be easier to identify with and "live in" while watching them.

        • by tepples (727027)

          And (and this is one of my pet peeves) US movies tend to have colour and contrast wildly exaggerated

          Or is it that UK movies have a shade too much Real Is Brown [tvtropes.org]?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dogtanian (588974)

            Or is it that UK movies have a shade too much Real Is Brown [tvtropes.org]?

            Let me guess- you've only ever seen two British movies, and one of them was Guy Ritchie's "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"? And the other was its follow-up, "Snatch"- right?

            They're not all like that, you know.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      If by showbiz types you mean most people in the movie going public, then yes. Showbiz types like certain endings, because they test well in focus groups, and people go to see them. In this day and age, I doubt very much that Casablanca would've been made. Same goes for Shakespeare, if he hadn't long ago earned his reputation.

      I mean, just look at the Disneyfied versions of old tales. They frequently change the ending to something more upbeat so that people will want to go.
      • by mbone (558574)

        I mean, just look at the Disneyfied versions of old tales. They frequently change the ending to something more upbeat so that people will want to go.

        Editors did that to Shakespeare (especially downers like King Lear) for centuries. Cordelia married happily every after, hah !

    • by thomst (1640045)

      Showbiz types generally hate hanging endings. I'll guess fans will be disappointed with it being "reimagined".

      And the ending of Blade Runner is disappointing in what way?

      Ridley Scott is my favorite director, in part because he doesn't seem to give much of a damn about Hollywood marketing conventions. His recent version of Robin Hood, for instance, ends where most Robin Hood movies begin, and his underrated White Squall focuses on character delineation and development, with a determinedly non-Hollywood ending. All the evidence says Scott cares first about authenticity, second about story, and googleth about Hollywoo

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>I'll guess fans will be disappointed with it being "reimagined".

      I guess. I wasn't that impressed with the novel, though PKD evidentally was.

      IIRC from reading the notes in the back of the book, he randomly rolled the entire story using the I-Ching, and was reportedly creeped out by how well it worked.

  • The movie is in my opinion the best adaptation of a PKD novel. Watch it!
    • I'm not normally a fan of roto-scope, but this movie was such a faithful and well presented adaptation that it won me over.
    • by Aneurysm (680045)
      It's an alternate reality. WWII went on longer in this reality.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      While the movies are often good, sometimes excellent, they are also often so far from the book that you wonder whether the screenwriter tossed darts at the cliff notes, and wrote a new script out of that.

      A Scanner Darkly is one example, and (the absolutely over-the-top brilliant) Blade Runner is another.

      Anyhow, I could see Riverworld being made into a TV series (with the necessary-for-US-audiences change of everybody being resurrected with clothes).

      And I think Palmer Eldritch or Faith of Our Fathers have po

      • by sumday (888112)
        "But most of all, I want to see a law being passed against ever adapting VALIS to the big screen. Or, alternatively, the powers need to legalize drugs in the quantity needed to sit through and get an experience out of it."

        This. VALIS would never make it to the big screen while retaining the themes and beauty of the book. However, if someone made a film of the film VALIS from the book VALIS, that might be a little bit awesome. I want to see Mother Goose's head explode.
        • However, if someone made a film of the film VALIS from the book VALIS, that might be a little bit awesome.

          Radio Free Ablemuth has been made into a film, which was used as the basis of the film VALIS in the book VALIS.

          Also, "If Radio Free Albemuth is successful, VALIS the book would form the basis for the sequel to VALIS the movie. In other words, the story of VALIS would form the basis for VALIS 2." So looks like there could be a VALIS movie.

          I agree it will be near impossible to succusfully turn VALIS into a movie. But from what I can tell of the Radio Free Ablemuth movie, it looks like a small independent prod

      • Anyhow, I could see Riverworld being made into a TV series (with the necessary-for-US-audiences change of everybody being resurrected with clothes).

        Wrong Philip (Farmer, not Dick.) But yeah, it could be a great series. I understand there was a terrible miniseries "adaptation" that took nothing from the books but the name and the central conceit; it would be nice to see it done right.

        • by snuf23 (182335)

          There was a 2003 adaption that was a failed pilot for the Riverworld series. While not one hundred percent faithful it did have many of the elements from the books including Mark Twain and the riverboat. I can't say it was very good.

          I've avoided the 2010 version as I've heard it's worse.

           

        • by arth1 (260657)

          Wrong Philip (Farmer, not Dick.)

          Duh, of course. They both were bending if not outright breaking many taboos with their science fiction, and in some ways, Philip J. Farmer took over the legacy, but I still have no excuse for confusing the two and misremembering Riverworld as being written by Philip K. Dick.
          My apologies to the two great ones' memories.

      • by Boronx (228853)

        "While the movies are often good, sometimes excellent, they are also often so far from the book that you wonder whether the screenwriter tossed darts at the cliff notes, and wrote a new script out of that."

        Which would be a fitting way to script "Man in the High Castle"

  • I just hope he does better than the recent Robin Hood film of his, that one kinda missed the spot, so to speak. I didn't find myself rooting for any of the characters, good or bad they were both bland and unengaging.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      Scott is excellent at creating anti-hero protagonists, and Russell Crowe is excellent at playing them. But Robin Hood is a (collection of) heroic epic(s) with no room for a complex protagonist. I want to see an unstoppable Errol Flynn type character with wit and charm.

      To put it another way, The Princess Bride wouldn't have been a good movie with Scott/Crowe either. But I think the pair could have made Inception a heck of a lot better.

    • by Vaphell (1489021)

      RH was so bad
      omaha beach in RH was the most ridiculous thing i've seen recently, especially with the charge of the hobbits on top of it... seriously, wtf
      and i didn't like the blatant shortcomings in realism department (everybody and his mother was wearing a chain mail which is nothing to scoff at, yet people fell like flies to single arrow or a sword slash, combat was too clean with no moaning of the wounded, mounted knights used swords exclusively, no lances to be seen)

      • by arth1 (260657)

        mounted knights used swords exclusively, no lances to be seen

        To be fair, the lances of that time were throwable "long spears", and not the oversized jousting lances seen in other Robin Hood filmatizatons. Those didn't become common until several hundred years later, and wasn't really usable for war. So omitting lances wasn't all bad.

  • A dick directs Dick. (at least according to his reputation in the film industry)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Check out RS's debut film The Duellists [wikipedia.org] if you haven't. Beautiful film. Listening to the director's commentary he doesn't sound utterly reprehensible, either. Might be holding himself in check, of course; whatever, he is a talent.
      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        maybe things have changed since then, but the Duellists (totally amazing film BTW) is one of his first - along with Blade Runner and Alien.

        things then went awry, so if he's going back to his roots, full of fabulous lighting and huge long pauses of plot and character building in between the few action seuqneces, then I would be very happy.

        Actually, thinking of the Duellists again, forget the characterisation and all that, if he just went back to the lighting, I'd be very happy.

  • I'm guessing that it'll be 2 x 2hr episodes which in some respect is better than making an actual film as it means the directors/script writers will have more time in order to portray the story. One of the problems in transferring any book to film format is that most audiences have a finite attention span in a cinema setting so its hard for script writers to convey the full story with all the nuances of a book :/ Fingers crossed they get it right.
  • As a long-time fan of Philip K. Dick, I've always been disappointed that the movies made from his stories have deviated so far from the stories themselves. Don't get me wrong - I loved Blade Runner and quite liked Total Recall - but I was always dissatisfied that they weren't true to Dick's original vision. 'The Man in the High Castle' is arguably Dick's best and most accessible work, and I've always thought it would make a fantastic movie. Here's hoping that Scott has the good sense to simply translate the
    • by aled (228417)
      Mod parent up... except 'The Man in the High Castle' wasnt his best work. Other of his books are better in many senses. Just remember, too much PKD before sleeping can provoke paranoia, time flow alterations and alternate reality experiences... or experience the true reality.
  • I have no faith in this being any good. Ridley Scott used to make good movies. Blade Runner and Alien are examples. Since the end of the 80's though he has mostly gone to pot, producing awful movie after awful movie.

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