Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Picture of Restraint

Not that it's all about me, but I was amused that one of my top favorite films, the original 1977 version of Star Wars, and my favorite album, the remastered version Electric Light Orchestra's A New World Record, were released this week. Two things I've literally waited years for.

I had to check if my favorite novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany, was released in some big-deal, super deluxe version, too. It wasn't. But that's ok, because I have the original hardcover and it's hard to improve on that.

Tonight I watch Star Wars for probably the 389th time - I worked in the theatres when it came out originally, so most of my viewings come from that - and I'm still looking forward to it! Sad? Maybe. Funny? You bet!

But here's what I'm really proud of: This is only the third copy of Star Wars that I've purchased. I bought the original VHS version when it came out, and then I bought the first DVD version. From what I've read on the web lately, I'm practically normal compared to other Star Wars geeks who may be moving from their fingers to their toes to count the number of copies they've bought. Here's a quick test: Do you have a laserdisc version of Star Wars? Well, besides having a valuable collector's item, you, sir, are a geek of infinite magnitude. I'm OK with that. (See, I have a VHS copy of the laserdisc that a friend made for me, I just didn't purchase it.)

Since I brought it up, and just in case you're a fan, the remastered A New World Record is worth the price. Besides sounding great, unlike so many remastered versions, the extras on this one aesthetically fit in with the rest of the CD, so you can actually just put it in and push play. So many CDs with EXTRA TRACKS! on them include poorly-recorded old demos, or jarring or inferior songs that don't fit with the older set, so you go from luxurious memories to someone twanging on a bad acoustic into their home tape recorder, which worked only once for Bruce Springsteen, folks.

As a footnote ... wait, what's the name of this blog anyway?

TLD: Whilst linking around to find out what the cover of the new Star Wars DVD looked like so I would get the right one, I happened across the fact that they've release a "remastered" version of Bladerunner, which just strikes me as a freakin' cynical ploy to get more money because they're gonna release Ridley Scott's for-honest-and-true "directors cut" in theatres next year, to be followed by an ultra-deluxe DVD set that contains the original theatrical release with the Harrison Ford voice over (my favorite - I know, heresy), the "not really" the director's cut (the version out now), and the new theatrical version all in one set. I'm saving up now.

But that's not I really wanted to talk about, so that was a forth level digression.

What I wanted to talk about was Dan O'Bannon. His most acclaimed accomplishment is being one of the two people who wrote Alien. And that would be enough, really, but I discovered he also:
- Wrote two of the episodes in the film Heavy Metal ("Soft Landing" and "B-17")
- Was co-author of the screenplay for Total Recall
- Wrote and worked on John Carpenter's first film Dark Star
- Wrote a comic book that was the visual reference for Bladerunner, "The Long Tomorrow"
- Was a computer animator on the original Star Wars

Why is this interesting to anyone other than me?

Well, he had a hand in about every seminal science fiction film and worked with all the major directors and writers of that specific golden time in movie making. I mean having a career that includes Alien, Bladerunner, and Star Wars? Holy cow on a sacred stick!

So it isn't all about me after all. It's all about Dan O'Bannon.


Whisky Prajer said...

Three copies, eh? I've got you beat by minus-one - and I won't be buying this edition to catch up, either. (Good grief - I'm starting to wonder if I still qualify as a geek!)

And this Dan O'Bannon connection is mighty interesting, alright. Talk about an influence!

Anonymous said...

For years now we've had only one version of Blade Runner on DVD, and it had what may be the worst video quality of any DVD, ever. I watched it, and after 45 minutes I wanted to scream "Light! LIGHT! Will somebody turn on a friggin' light?" It's that bad. So a new one was clearly needed. But I agree that four new ones in quick succession is a ploy.