Dr. Geek, Ph.D.'s Published Articles
Watch Now: ‘The Hobbit’ Production Video #3
July 25th, 2011 at 2:56 pm | |
Director Peter Jackson posted the third in his series of behind-the-scenes production videos from the set of upcoming film The Hobbit to his Facebook page.
This video is equal parts star cameos, interviews, raw footage, and whimsy, apparently starting at Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom before transitioning to New Zealand. For stars, we get to see John Rhys-Davies visit his dwarven kin and kith on the set of Bag End. We get brief words from Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, and a nearly unrecognizable bearded and scruffy Second Unit Director Andy Serkis. For interviews, we get to hear from the various new dwarves in the cast about how they are coming together as a group, what it was like to visit the Bag End set, and how they learned to move like their characters. For raw footage, there is also some additional footage of the motion capture of Andy Serkis as Gollum, as well as the particular comment by Mr. Serkis that “it felt like kind of doing an impersonation of the character that I’d played” [...]
Blu-ray Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Extended Edition
July 11th, 2011 at 9:06 pm | |
The Lord of the Rings
The Motion Picture Trilogy – Extended Edition
Directed by Peter Jackson
Starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom
Warner Home Video
Release date: June 28, 2011
If you want to turn a hit theatrical franchise into a long-term moneymaker in Hollywood, it’s all about the home video releases. Sequels or prequels are an often shaky proposition (see The Godfather, Part III and Star Wars Episodes I, II, III, for example.) If you or your company own one or more films with a solid cult following, however, home video releases can be the gift that keeps on giving, usually at reasonable cost and low risk to revenue. George Lucas is a proven master at this, hauling out a new home video revision of one or more of his Star Wars films that highlights some new video format, some different cut of the film (including a reversion back to the original theatrical release), some new documentary extra, or even a preview of some upcoming Star Wars project. Likewise Francis Ford Coppola has cut and re-cut The Godfather films into releases like The Godfather Saga and The Epic Godfather box set that added material and joined scenes in chronological order, as well as offer re-masters like The Godfather DVD Collection and The Godfather: the Coppola Restoration. Some studios and directors take this process even further with direct-to-video revisions of flawed but remembered chapters of well-known franchises like Paramount and Robert Wise did with Star Trek: The Motion Picture The Director’s Edition [...]
10 Of Our Favorite Dino De Laurentiis Films
December 15th, 2010 at 12:07 pm | |
5 Things We Hope To See In A New ‘Superman’ Film
November 10, 2010 saw the passing of 91-year-old film producer Dino De Laurentiis. A force behind successful and acclaimed films such as Serpico and Three Days Of The Condor as well as box office duds such as Orca and Halloween III, there is much of the De Laurentiis film canon to love… and love it we do, here at Geeks of Doom.
To honor and remember the memory of producer and distributor, we present the 10 De Laurentiis films nearest and dearest to our hearts [...]
October 28th, 2010 at 12:26 pm | |
The Man of Steel has not fared well on the big screen in the last few decades. After some very well-remembered work by the Salkinds, Richard Donner, and Richard Lester in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Superman movie franchise found itself out in the wilderness. It first passed through the hands of Menachem Golan and Yoram Globus (best known for making B-grade action flicks with likes of Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, and Jean-Claude Van Damme), only to move through nearly 20 years of development hell under the supervision of Jon Peters (originally known as Barbara Streisand’s hair stylist, but later the producer of Flashdance, The Color Purple, Batman, and Batman Returns, among others.) These changes have not been kind to the franchise, moving it from broad comedy (Superman III) to low budget mess (Superman IV: The Quest For Peace) to high budget mediocrity (Superman Returns). It’s enough to make the conspiracy-minded think that the bottled water served in Los Angeles is spiked with Kryptonite.
Lately, Superman fans have new reasons for hope that Hollywood will restore luster to the franchise. Warner Brothers has put creative control of the next Superman film in the hands of Christoper Nolan. Mr. Nolan brought his Batman Begins/The Dark Knight collaborator David S. Goyer on board to write the script and brought in Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) to direct. This is a creative team known for turning comic books and superheroes into films that are true to their roots, popular with both fans and the general public, and critically well-received. Where past films attempted more to bring Superman to a particular genre (comedy, CGI action), perhaps the last son of Krypton will finally get a story that says something more uniquely about him.
It is in this spirit that I offer these 5 ideas about what the next Superman film should include. [...]
To Boldly Go On: A Long-Time Fan Re-Examines His Love Of ‘Star Trek’
May 6th, 2009 at 9:53 pm | |
As the Star Trek franchise is about to get a much-needed re-boot later this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the series and the role its played in my life. Being born during the run of The Original Series, I represent what I suppose could be called the “second generation” of Trekkies (there was no stigma associated with that term 30 years ago.) I got acquainted with Star Trek through endless re-runs on syndicated TV in the 1970s, The Animated Series on Saturday mornings, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Once I was hooked, love of Trek stayed with me for a solid 25 years — as I have previously discussed. There have been many changes during all that time, from movie to movie, series to series, and cast to cast. I’ve weathered nearly all of them, but I find myself wondering if I am ready to fall in love again.
Part of this has to do with the “origin” concept of J.J. Abrams‘ new film. I’ve never felt that an origin story for The Original Series crew has ever been particularly necessary. I can look at the first scene where William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy appear together in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” and that holds up as well as their last scene together in The Undiscovered Country, twenty five years later. That’s an amazing thing to my mind, and a testament to the writing skills of Samuel Peeples and the production skills of Gene Roddenberry. Since Star Trek appeared nearly fully formed right at the beginning, why mess with that? [...]
DVD Review: The Day The Earth Stood Still (Blu-ray)
April 27th, 2009 at 7:37 pm | |
The Day the Earth Stood Still
3-Disc Special Edition Blu-ray
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Starring Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, Jaden Smith, John Cleese
Fox Home Entertainment
Release date: April 7, 2009
Of all the science fiction films made in the 1950s, I have three favorites: Them!, Forbidden Planet, and The Day The Earth Stood Still. Each was seminal in its way, showing the movie-going public more of what the genre was capable. Forbidden Planet had astounding special effects, an all-electronic score, and a plot taken from Shakespeare. Them! carried both an ecological message and provided genuine suspense. The Day The Earth Stood Still was a brave message film, dealing with anti-Communist paranoia and questions of nuclear disarmament. Without these films, there would have been no Star Trek, no Star Wars, no Alien.
I therefore viewed the 2008 re-make of The Day The Earth Stood Still with some… hesitation. True, the film has a fine cast in Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, and Kathy Bates. With all the problems that have moved to the forefront of our minds in the last 10 years (terrorism, global warming, and warrant-less wire tapping), there is also a lot fertile ground for an update. Yet, this is Hollywood we’re talking about. The summer tent pole movie is much more about effects than plot and commentary. I think that Hollywood can blend both types of elements very effectively (see: The Dark Knight), but those movies are rare… just like the original version of The Day The Earth Stood Still was a rare film in its day [...]
Book Review: Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead
February 11th, 2009 at 8:22 am | |
Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Release date: September 1, 2008
It’s a good time to be a zombie, or at least a lover of all things zombie-related. Max Brooks recently had two best sellers about the undead hordes, The Zombie Survival Guide (a sort of “worst case scenario” book for dealing with the ghoulish undead) and World War Z (an oral history of the coming war against the zombie hordes.) Call To Duty: World At War had a special game play mode after the credits rolled, where suddenly you have to fight your way through hordes of carnivorous Nazi undead in order to extend your miserable life. Zombies from the Third Reich also appear in Dead Snow, a selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in which a group of Scandinavian kids who accidentally awaken Wehrmacht and SS zombie hordes in the Nordic snow. We will even soon be treated to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a classic Regency zombie romance re-write of a Jane Austen classic by Seth Grahame-Smith.
To all this zombie gold, we must add Zombie CSU – The Forensics of the Living Dead by Jonathan Maberry. Taking something of an opposite tack from Max Brooks’ work, Maberry starts by asking “What would a real zombie outbreak look like?” and then goes to find answers from real pathologists and criminologists who are interested in the subject. Along the way, he provides frequent little detours into zombie-related subjects like the roots of the modern zombie phenomenon, lists of key zombie films, differences between zombie film genres, the zombie in art and illustration, and quotes from fellow zombie-philes in the arts and sciences [...]
Gadget Review: The ‘Executive Series Fusion’ by Wicked Lasers
November 26th, 2008 at 12:54 pm | |
Ever wonder what it might be like to have a Star Trek phaser of your very own? I have. Ever since I saw Kirk and Spock fire at a rock, a Horta, or a crazed crewman, I’ve been intrigued with the possibilities of coherent light. This led to early perusal of The Way Things Work: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Technology for the explanation of how lasers worked and time spent pouring over ads in Edmund Scientific catalogs for real lasers. Eventually, I got to do some experiments with lasers in my college physics classes, but I was still not completely satisfied.
Though the Executive Series Fusion has the size, dull matte finish, and heft of a high quality laser pointer, it means serious business. Meant for the optics enthusiast, it is bright — insanely bright. You can see the beam in darkened rooms. You can also damage objects. You can make holes in dark-colored balloons and dark trash bags and cut black electrical tape. The Wicked Lasers web site even says it will light wood or paper matches [...]
The ‘Star Trek’ USS Enterprise: First Impressions
November 14th, 2008 at 9:41 am | |
Earlier this week, Geeks of Doom reported that about the first full look at the USS Enterprise from JJ Abrams‘ upcoming movie Star Trek.
Few images are so immediately identified with the heart and soul of the Star Trek franchise. Few images have also changed so little over the intervening years; there was one major design for Star Trek: TOS (which changed slightly over the course of the series) and another design introduced in Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1978 that lasted almost unchanged until Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in 1991.
Mr. Abrams is delivering the first major change in Enterprise design in 30 years, and the first not approved by Trek creator Gene Roddenberry himself. He had to know that anything he and his creative team changed in the profile of the USS Enterprise would be controversial. This is why we are seeing it now, not when the movie comes out — so the Star Trek fan base can talk all this through and figure out if we really like it [...]
The Top 5 Casting Decisions That Could Kill An ‘Iron Man’ Sequel
November 10th, 2008 at 12:51 pm | |
Iron Man was a great movie. With an unusual amount of humor and sarcastic wit, the movie took on the usually tough assignment of telling the superhero origin myth and as a result became a summer favorite with audiences. It also was a financial powerhouse, earning nearly $320 million in U.S. domestic receipts by the end of September.
With such success, a sequel is inevitable. Hollywood being Hollywood, someone will always suggest a way to “improve” a monster hit. Take the much-publicized decision to replace Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle in the sequel. While I do not think that Mr. Howard was the strongest link in the first movie, that opinion has much more to do with the fact that the character of James “Rhodey” Rhodes was a minor, supporting character in this version of the origin myth, and not any reflection on Mr. Howard’s acting chops. Yet, I’m sure that someone in Hollywood felt that Mr. Cheadle will add something more to Rhodey either being Iron Man or War Machine in the next film. People say “don’t mess with a winning formula,” but they’ve never heard that rule in Hollywood (or never listened, if they did.)
So, it is in the spirit of messing with a winning formula that I offer some further boneheaded casting changes and the rational behind them that could be proposed by some mid-level Hollywood creative type hoping to make a mark on Tinsel Town …
Comic Review Exclusive: Jesus Hates Zombies:
Yea, Though I Walk, Vol. 1
August 6th, 2008 at 8:06 pm | |
Five Questions Not Answered In ‘Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull’
I first encountered Jesus Hates Zombies nearly a year ago, when I was asked to review the original Jesus Hates Zombies… and Sasquatch for the final chapter of The Great Zombie Roundup. Looking back at what I wrote then, I see that I struggled with the concept. I thought that the story idea had merit, and that some of the dialog showed great ironic edge (Jesus: “Ever ask yourself ‘how the hell did I get here?’”). With benefit of hindsight, I see that it was too brief of a story to know if Jesus Hates Zombies could fulfill its potential…
June 3rd, 2008 at 1:38 pm | |
DVD Review: The Muppet Show S3
Given the time in development and the abundance of top-notch screenwriting talent, it is surprising that the screenplay of Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull is a bit of a mess. The movie left me asking questions about how or why certain things happened. After 18 years and several screen writers, shouldn’t all these questions be answered? Here’s a look at the top five unanswered questions from the film.
May 28th, 2008 at 11:39 am | |
A Visit To Maker Faire Bay Area 2008
This 4-disc DVD contains all 24 episodes of the third season of the popular 1970′s Jim Henson television variety program, The Muppet Show.
May 7th, 2008 at 10:26 pm | |
DVD Review: ‘Doctor Who: The Time Warrior’
The United States is a nation of tinkerers. We build, we modify, and we extend. We like to make devices do things that they are not designed to do, just to know that we’ve done it. This spirit was alive and well over the weekend at the San Mateo County Expo at the Maker Faire Bay Area. The Maker Faire was an absolute blast. I heartily recommend it to geeks of all kinds.
April 25th, 2008 at 12:45 pm | |
This four-episode collection featuring Jon Pertwee as The Doctor makes it an interesting point in the history of the series, with its introduction of the Sarah Jane character.