Friday, 27 January 2017

Apocalypse Now: The Kickstarter for a game based on the classic Vietnam war film.

As I've grown older (but not necessarily wiser) there are a number of laws that I've come to realise which apparently we all must obey without exception. One such law is to complain heartily that the kids of today have it much easier than we did back in the day blah blah blah; another law is that at we seemingly now are not allowed to eat a meal until a picture is taken of it and posted on Facebook (next to ones collection of kitten and puppy pictures). 

Perhaps the daddy of all laws is the absolute necessity when one talks about a movie, such as Apocalypse Now (1979) that you have without fail to repeat the film's seminal quote "I love the smell of Napalm in the morning". Not only do you have to say this line as if it is the first time that it has ever been said, but you have to do it in the pose of Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore. You then have to ( I mean HAVE TO) hum a few bars of Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries' whilst the person you are doing it to smiles knowingly and adds their rendition of 'The End' by the Doors to compliment the exchange. It is the law.

It says something that this seminal war movie has now transgressed the confines of movie aficionado's into the wider public consciousness, particularly when it had a relatively lukewarm initial reception on it's release in terms of public and critical acclaim. I will readily claim that I was one of the chosen ones to fall in love with it on it's theatrical release (that's another law by the way, to claim one was there from the very beginning - see also Shawshank Redemption/Blade Runner/Brazil et al to make such bold claims).

But honest, Guv - I was really there in 1979 (I was underage and sneaked in) and by god it was so fine. 

The plot, well even if you haven't sat through all of its psychological madness, is still familiar as we travel during the Vietnam War with Captain Willard (played by the majestic Martin Sheen) who has been given the assignment to hunt down and kill one of his own: Colonel Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando). 

It seems that Kurtz and his merry band of men have holed themselves up deep in the jungle to undertake some serious murder and pillaging. Robin Hood he is not.

The journey that Willard and his men take is a surreal, violent and increasingly insane trip as they encounter military lunacy, surfing and Playboy Bunnies. The greatest war film ever? Er, yes.



So you can imagine my delight when I learnt a few days ago that the film was finally going to get its own video game adaption?! Not only that but it comes not only with the participation of some seriously big hitters in the gaming industry, it also comes with the full blessing and participation of the man who made the film, legendary director Francis Ford Coppola. 

Indeed, the man himself said very recently; 

'Forty years ago, I set out to make a personal art picture that could hopefully influence generations of viewers for years to come. 

'Today, I'm joined by new daredevils, a team who want to make an interactive version of 'Apocalypse Now', where you are Captain Benjamin Willard amidst the harsh backdrop of the Vietnam War,' Coppola said.

There are three essential things that any self-respecting crowdfunding campaign needs to have to stand any chance of success; Firstly a great idea; secondly, some big-hitting individuals complete with talent and ambition. Finally they need a campaign full of tasty backer reward morsels that would entice all ranges of interest. I think it's fair to day that this campaign may just have that........ in spades.


THE IDEA

The combination of perhaps (no, definitely) the greatest ever war film and a video game adaptation is enticing enough. Let me me give you the idea in the words of the makers......

"Apocalypse Now is a first-person RPG with survival and psychological horror elements.
You will explore the jungles and rivers of Vietnam in first person perspective.  
You join a crew of “rock and rollers with one foot in their grave”.

It’s like Fallout: New Vegas on acid in the middle of the Vietnam War.

Your ultimate mission is to assassinate Colonel Kurtz, a rogue American officer who is accused of forming a private army and operating "totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.”

Combat is often your last resort; the wise soldier will avoid the ever-looming enemy at all costs.

Maintaining resources and relationships is key to your survival and your success.


You will play Captain Willard.

And you have a mission, but between receiving your mission in the hotel room and meeting Colonel Kurtz, how you journey upriver on PBR Streetgang is up to you."

Yep, nailed it.


THE SQUAD


The creative team behind the game sound like a who's who of film and gaming talent. For a start you have Coppola, the writing and directing genius behind The Godfather series, The Conversation, Bram Stoker's Dracula...... to name but a few cinematic delicacies.

You then add a number of key team members of titles such as Lawrence Liberty (Fallout), Rob Auten (Gears of War, Battlefield), Montgomery Markland (Wasteland 2). The team claim that a  'AAA game developers, motion picture professionals and Interactive creatives are coming together to create a truly unique experience.'

Yep, nailed it.


THE REWARDS

The team's funding goal of $900,000 is ambitious to say the least, but already they have reached (at the time of writing) the sum of $92,125 with still 28 days to go. In order to maintain creative freedom and produce a daring and intense game about the horrors of war, the project is being financed outside the traditional publishing system. They need the support of backers like you to make this psychedelic vision a reality.

The KICKSTARTER page has a range of quite frankly stunning rewards that would meet the approval of anyone who wishes to contribute pledges starting from $10 (no reward) right up to the daddy pledge of $10,000 (I think you almost get the planet for that).  Check out the funding page to see for yourself.


Yep, nailed it again. Lets do this.



The Kickstarter page for the Apocalypse Now Game can be found RIGHT HERE. 

The Facebook page for the project can be found RIGHT HERE.

The Apocalypse Now Game Website an be found here at https://apocalypsenow.com





This article can also be found via the 5D website www.5d-blog.com. There you can find a veritable feast of blog articles, news items, pictures and and other mouth-watering salutations to the gods of the geeks and the nerds. We have now inherited the earth, you know.

There is also a newly launched forum on the website designed for ANYONE involved or interested in the Independent film industry related to genres of Sci-Fi, fantasy and horror. Feel free to register and contribute - Everyone is welcome!

In addition the 5D website now has PayPal Donate button. Any donations kindly made will be fed directly back to help with a podcast materials, competition prizes and other general costs etc. If you wish to contribute to the exciting growth of the website & blog then we here at 5D headquarters would be eternally grateful. If you would like your contribution to be acknowledged publicly then simply send a message via the website’s contact section and we’ll send you some love!

If all that was enough to entice to 5D land, should any of you fine people out there wish to advertise on the 5D website then have a look at the offer below.



Sunday, 22 January 2017

Star Trek Graphic Novel series

There's a certain something about the Graphic Novel that comes with it it's own very distinctive feel that other mediums simply cannot match. I know that may sound obvious and even a little simplistic, but you should know by now that's just how my mind often works. What I'm trying to get at is the ability of the graphic novel to take a familiar subject and transform it into a powerful medium all of its very own. All the while retaining the comfortable familiarity of it's more familiar version to the masses, usually TV or movies.

For me it doesn't really matter what comes first, the Graphic Novel or the TV series. The thing is, I don't tend myself to get that precious about how the written word will fare under TV or film adaptation. There are some within the Scifi, horror & fantasy community who feel a strong degree of 'ownership' of literary material that to a unknowing third party would seem that it was actually them who had written it in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I can certainly understand the feeling of 'ownership'. But I don't agree with it.

To be honest, I sincerely believe that different mediums are entitled to treat the source material in any way they want. Reading a book is an entirely different experience from watching the same thing on screen, which is as it should be. I could never understand the controversy amongst fans (and I am a big time fan) about the adaptations of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and Game of Thrones, to name but three.

If you love the books then simply don't give a flying fig about an adaptation that deviates from the source material. Honestly, who cares? The original source material will always be there to be cherished. And do you know something else? (I'm saying this quietly now), but sometimes those changes can work.......cough....Haldir's Elves at The Battle of Helms Deep....cough!.......really works in the movie...........cough.

A case in point is that of The Walking Dead. I discovered the Graphic Novels a couple of years after they first appeared back in the dim and distant days of 2003. Yes, yes I know......once again I was quite ineptly behind the times. It certainly wasn't the first or last time. To be precise it was the summer of 2006 in which I first discovered the stunning artwork and storytelling that depicted a world where an unknown apocalyptic event has transformed the majority of the human population into slobbering, rotting flesh-eating zombies (In other words, Sheffield on a Saturday night).

A few years later (2010 to be once again precise) I learnt that the story was going to be adapted for TV, much to the suspicion and jealousy of some of my fellow Walking dead aficionados. I must admit that for a time I too shared their disquiet, though maybe not quite for the same reasons. I had read for months before the show aired many comments of fans worried in regard to such things as the authenticity of the story being lost and the potential of a glossy and insipid watering down of the gore for TV. There were indeed a plethora of other Graphic Novel fan concerns. 

I did try to dislike the TV series, I really did. Even when I heard that the mercurial Frank Darabont was going to be initially at the helm I had decided beforehand that I simply didn't want to be part of of what I saw as the inevitable watering down in the mainstreaming and mass-popularity that would take place. I can remember on that night in 2010 when I sat in front of my television to watch the 1st episode, arms crossed and a fixed facial expression that signified that I wasn't going to enjoy myself, no matter what.

Well five seasons later, that has somewhat changed, Actually, if truth be told it changed about 3 or 4 minutes into that first episode. Yes, the show deviated almost immediately from the comic source material, and in probably in far too many ways that irked many fellow comic fans. In fact there are far too many examples of how the show has changed the original concept and storyline to mention them all here. So I won't.

Is a TV series better then the comic? Is it important that specific narratives and characters are changed, embellished or even removed? Well to be honest I couldn't really care less. The simple fact is that the Graphic Novels should be treated as entirely different mediums - who cares how they differ? I don't. I say just enjoy them for what they are - they are perhaps the most effective and powerful medium of story telling that there is.

So you can imagine by personal geeky delight when the I learnt of the recent release celebrating 50 Years of Classic Star Trek Graphic Novels - oh deep joy!

There are a few people that know me reasonably well (sorry to those of you that includes, I can never stop apologising) who are more than familiar with my Star Trek obsessions, specifically the 2nd in the original movie franchise series Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

The genius that underpinned Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was initially two-fold. Firstly it immediately tapped into the nostalgic obsession of the TV series by using the inspiration of the story from a 1967 episode, 'Space Seed' in which Kirk and the Enterprise crew had battled with the genetically modified group of humans and their charismatic leader, Khan. The film sees the fight re-engaged when Khan and his group escape from their 15 year banishment to what had become an inhospitable planet. At the start of proceedings we encounter a recently promoted Admiral Kirk who rather than boldly going etc etc is more concerned with his ever-growing age, failing eyesight and boredom. Kirk's fate however is soon intertwined with Khan, obsessed with taking his revenge together with control of the Genesis device, a secret Starfleet technology than can render life from lifeless planets. The second stroke of genius was the inclusion of the death towards the end of the film of perhaps Star Trek's most iconic character....

Oh bugger, spoiler alert......... too soon?

For the very first time ever, half a century of Star Trek comics have been collected together in a single delicious series. I don't know about you, but a collection that spans 50 years and includes many of the seminal moments in Star Trek lore is mouth-watering to say the very least. Do we really want or need the chance to revisit all the classic characters and incredible art from the STAR TREK comic archives? The chance to experience every edition with a specially-commissioned introduction to provide context to the story? The chance to see a number of collected comics and a bonus reprint of one of the comic archive’s classic stories?

Oh yes we bloody well do!

So excited are we here at 5D headquarters about this release that it is our intention to produce regular features and reviews about a number of the publications - especially in regard to some of the promised 'lost tales and characters'. For example there is the inclusion of the legendary Harlan Ellison's original version of the all time classic episode and frequent headliner of Trek 'best of' lists - City on the edge of forever. In fact the next edition features that very release so it feels particularly fitting that this will mark the first of the blog reviews.

If all that wasn't enough there is the long overdue inclusion of long lost characters such as the Vulcan Xon, who was created by a certain Mr G Roddenberry, plus Arex and M'Ress from the classic animated series. In addition the collection features a veritable star-studded cast of Trek TV writers such as David Gerrold (who created the Tribbles), Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman (who wrote the re-imagined Star Trek & Star Trek Into Darkeness films) as well as other TV/movie writers including Brannon Braga and D.C Fontana.


Strap yourselves in people, this is going to be a helluva ride!







This article can also be found via the 5D website www.5d-blog.com. There you can find a veritable feast of blog articles, news items, pictures and and other mouth-watering salutations to the gods of the geeks and the nerds. We have now inherited the earth, you know.

There is also a newly launched forum on the website designed for ANYONE involved or interested in the Independent film industry related to genres of Sci-Fi, fantasy and horror. Feel free to register and contribute - Everyone is welcome!

In addition the 5D website now has PayPal Donate button. Any donations kindly made will be fed directly back to help with a podcast materials, competition prizes and other general costs etc. If you wish to contribute to the exciting growth of the website & blog then we here at 5D headquarters would be eternally grateful. If you would like your contribution to be acknowledged publicly then simply send a message via the website’s contact section and we’ll send you some love!

If all that was enough to entice to 5D land, should any of you fine people out there wish to advertise on the 5D website then have a look at the offer below.