Thursday, August 25, 2005

For the last time ...

... "Unobtanium" was a JOKE, people. An intentional JOKE (albeit based on an actual term used by engineers and space-folk at JPL). Stop with the snarky e-mails. I don't know why I just got a pop of them, but if you don't get that tongue was firmly in cheek for a chunk of the movie, then you need to maybe stop thinking you're on the topside of the argument on this.

And yes, it should have been magnetic pole shift. That's what it was originally. I can only take small solace in the pleasure that everyone who "noted" that movie into the ground is now not just unemployed, but spectacularly so. Gahhh.

On the other hand, it developed a nice little fan base once it was on DVD, so I'll take the win.


moses said...

Didn't know you wrote that one. Happened to be a 2003 flick I thought was overlooked and underrated. Watched it again the other night. On HBO or Showtime or Maxotime, one of those channels. Tcheky Karyo's performance gets better with each viewing. No joke there.

But I'm kinda bummed. What you're telling me is that website which promised me a genuine sample of Unobtanium, with certificate of authenticity, for the sweet low price of $9.99, shipping included mind you, was a scam. Bastards. Dreams die hard.

John Donald Carlucci said...

I bought it twice on dvd - screw em.

Why did Brazzleton die? Why???!!!!


Anonymous said...

On the subject of The Core, (and tangentially 4GM) I have two words and a three letter abbreviation for you, sir: Podcast. DVD. Commentary.
For this I will pay a reasonable multiple of an american dollar.

Rogers said...

hmmmm ...

Jay said...

I have to admit, once I heard the name "Unobtainium" I shrugged and said "aw, hell, they're not trying to be serious" and as a result, enjoyed the movie a lot more.

Kind of like my experience with the first Charlie's Angels movie. Once the whole ninja-backflip-rapid-cuts-to-Prodigy-music fight scene started, I said, "OK, now I've found the level of the movie" and sat back and enjoyed.

Rogers said...

yeah, I'm not sure when they stopped listening to me saying "Uh, guys, we're doing an old 60's science hero movie here' and tried marketing it as Deep Impact, but they were a singularly humour lot.

Having said that, I think the Braz death scene is still pretty nice, and when they're serious, the actors dig in on it. Most people just aren't used to seeing the bounce between sincerity and the occasional wink we tried to do.

Jason Porath said...

Interesting note: the house I'm at currently did most of the visual effects, as well as the color timing on the Core.

You and me, Rogers. The alpha and the omega.

Angelophile said...

The scary thing is, it looks like you may have been onto something -

Heronymus said...

You know, when I saw "The Core" for the first time, it was nearly painful...until he said the word "unobtanium". Then I got it: The is "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra", only with a budget!

Also, it was fun to see the seams between "good writer having fun" and "studio idiocy".

Davis said...

I thought this was about AMERICAN OUTLAWS.

Rogers said...

shit, so did I. That's why Kathy Bates dies -- exposure to unobtanium. I don't think Mayfield made that clear.

Andy said...

But they’ve got no problem with cloned dinosaurs, time-traveling cars, ghost-busting proton packs and killer cyborgs sent from the future to change the past. Give me a break. There’s a reason they call it science FICTION!

The Awful Writer said...

One step closer to unobtainium?

Physicists create material harder than diamonds

James Bow said...

Heh. That burst of e-mails might be my fault, though I doubt my blog has enough of an anonymous readership to provide you with a burst of e-mails without me knowing about it, but the timing is pretty close.

Two days ago, I reviewed The Core. I'm afraid I was a little hard on it; though I have to tell you that you did get my DVD rental out of it, and I did have an enjoyable two hours, even if it was to poke fun at aspects of the movie.

I might not have been as harsh if I'd known the scriptwriter had a blog of his own and might come upon my words. But, hey, I wrote what I wrote, and I'll take my bops on the head as they come... :-)

Rogers said...

No worries. What happened was that somebody else reviewed it at the same time, plus it was mentioned as a credit on the G4 thing, so I think it created a little Google/imdb wave. Which brings out at least 5 asshats. It just jarred me that it popped up at all, it was so far from my mind.

In retrospect, I think the crucial flaw was that when I rewrote the movie (and why, on every goddam movie I'm on where I share a credit do I become THE GUY who wrote that movie? There were 10 people on Catwoman, four credited and take the shitstorm for it...) I intentionally aimed it for a fun, 1960's science-hero scifi retro vibe. Sci fi is what made me want to become a physicist when I was 13, and so that's what I was pushing for.

I probably should have informed the studio of my intention. Yeeeaaahhh. Seeing as that herd of execs was literally the least fun of set of humans I've encountered in 30 odd years, they never knew how to market it. How humorless? My favorite note was that the movie had to be more like Das Boot. Add their science ignorance and it was a party.

Trying to do it on $60 million wasn't a great idea, either, but again -- Paramount at the time. I remember sitting in Day After Tomorrow, watching the "bird migration sequence" I'd literally done a year earlier, thinking "Ah, so that's what it looks like when they give you, say, money."

Still, again, a decent chunk my fault. There's not a lot of "Yeah we're a real movie, but wink-and-a-nod to the tradition of this genre" stuff playing, and I shouldn't have been surprised when people took the opportunity to hop back onto their favorite treadmill of bashing stupid Hollywood sci fi. There's nothing sweeter than thinking you're smarter than somebody else, and the fact that, again, most of the science in the movie's pretty solid -- AU-levels more accurate than say, Day After Tomorrow -- really doesn't matter if the reviewer from Ohio doesn't know that. We were certainly never satire, but we were wry -- and to twist a phrase, "wry is what closes on Saturday night."

The only saving grace was the director, Jon Amiel, who was a goddam prince. His pilot for Eyes this year was fantastic and launched the best show nobody watched.

Again, I can't complain much. The movie did not just well, but FILTHILY well on DVD, where it was allowed to find its audience. At least a couple times a month I get a fan letter for it -- usually some 13 year old who thought the sci fi was cool and had never seen scientists as heroes before ... so mission accomplished.

alex said...

I have a question about The Core, though I have no idea if you'll know the answer. How did Paul Preuss' name vanish from the credits?

Piers said...

I love that movie. That was when I first started looking out for your name on stuff.

And then to find out you were doing Global Frequency?

Geek Heaven.

Jay said...

Y'know, I've always been wondering one thing about the movie. Well, it's more about the marketing of the movie than the actualy movie.

Why was there a different version of the "hot pockets and..." line with each different ad/trailer and appearances by DJ Qualls on the various talk shows?

Was it being tweaked on the go until release?

Rogers said...

I have no idea who Paul Preuss is. Cooper Layen sold the original pitch, and there were three guys between us -- but that name wasn't one of them.

Oh, and DJ improv-ed a bunch of lines. We just ran a few different ones in the publicity kits if I remember.

alex said...

Back in 1993, Paul Preuss wrote a book called "Core". Here's the capsule summary from Amazon:

This flawed and uneven futuristic techno-thriller by the author of the Arthur C. Clarke Venus Prime series turns on an apocalyptic crisis. The Earth's magnetic field is collapsing, creating chaos with navigation and telecommunications systems and leaving segments of the population unprotected from lethal solar radiation. Maverick geologist Leiden Hudder, working with a brilliant but abrasive scientist, Marta Cellini-Sanchez McDougal, has a plan to confront this calamity, making use of a superhard substance discovered by his father. He and Marta propose to manipulate the magnetic field at its source by drilling all the way to the Earth's core. But first Hudder must contend with bureaucrats, politicians, his own rocky family relationships and the awesome destructive potential of the Earth's fiery depths.

Any of that sound kinda familiar?

I'm not hurling accusations at anybody. I was just curious as to why an obvious adaptation didn't have the name of the original novelist on it. Strange are the ways of Hollywood...

alex said...

Actually, I just realized that it must have been optioned with the clause that the author's name could be scraped off....

Jay said...

My mind is now at rest, John, thanks for reply. (Seriously, it's been one of those little things that I think of each, and every, time I see the cover of the DVD.)

Jay said...

... and no, I have no idea why I've got two links above. :)

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