The Omega Legend

Of all the tropes, the ‘Last of a Kind’ concept is one of that rare theme, plot and character devices that has evolved into mythical existence with one perfect master stroke. Richard Matheson’s classic vampire novel towers over them all. ‘I Am Legend (1954)’ is an ingenious hybrid of two previous classics, such as Mary Shelley’s ‘The Last Man (1826)’ and Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula (1897)’. Vampirism and plague, a combination that captures the definitive pretext for a last man alive narrative, grounding the myth of the supernatural with the reality of pathogens.

Matheson also deploys another trope in the finale of the story, one that is more devastating in its social commentary. The vampires, the pandemic, and the last man on Earth are just the setup for the novella’s central message, and it’s the one element shunned by all the film adaptations to date.

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Gods of Wokeness

The golden age is over.

Works of art are no longer produced to quench a bored populace, who thirst for the type of content that frees them from their mundane lives, enhancing their outlook on life with fascinating stories, old and new, inspiring them to understand their lives and the world they live in.

Post-2016, works of art have degenerated into force-fed garbage that nobody wants, needs or trusts anymore. Deranged by political agenda or succumbing to incompetence, producers still want your money but aren’t willing or capable of delivering what the consumer wants.

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The Carpenter

All artists are influenced by the previous generation of artists. Westerns were part of John Carpenter’s cinematic diet growing up. John Ford, and Howard Hawks, these filmmakers were shaping cinema at the time, stamping out a movie language that would become the standard for anyone wishing the tell a story using cinema.

A fan of horror and science fiction movies such as The Thing from Another World and Forbidden Planet, John Carpenter defined another set of standards for a new generation of filmmakers. The modern horror genre is partly his offspring. Like his predecessors, Carpenter mastered the long game, building the tension until the big payoff. 

Nowadays, it’s clear that motion pictures have devolved somewhat. Big-budget Hollywood blockbusters lack most of the qualities that gave movies from the past the greatness they deservedly earned. Nowadays, even B-grade movies are more pathetic than ever. Low-budget productions are missing the mark completely.

It’s as if the current batch of filmmakers has stopped learning from the best.

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Star Wars

Star Wars: A Lost Hope

Now that this sad shit-show of a saga is over, the only thing we have left, is the thought, ‘what if they did a decent sequel trilogy with a coherent story without the political rape that Disney inflicted upon this series?’. How hard was it to produce something that remotely resembles a Star Wars story?

Apart from the visuals, there are three fundamental flaws with Episodes 7, 8 and 9. The visual effects and art design are the trilogy’s best asset, but sometimes they do act against the films. The entire narrative seems to be built around these great visuals. And then, to make things unbearable, the cluttering of the SFX is overdone, almost to the point of ridiculousness.

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Rise of the Dark Empire: A Star Wars Tragedy

Life imitates art.

It inevitably has to, because art starts off by imitating reality in an attempt to explain it in ways we humans can understand. We tell each other stories, to teach ourselves how to coexist in this strange existence, this universe. We learn from these tales all about what it means to be complex social beings.

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Flash Gordon Saves the Universe

Flash Gordon Poster

When Flash Gordon was ‘again’ resurrected back  (thanks, Princess Aura for the first time) into pop culture by Seth MacFarlane in his film, Ted (2013), I was filled with bemusement and joy. Ever since that day, walking home from school and coming across the giant movie billboard, Mike Hodges’s Flash Gordon has remained doggedly on my top ten list of favourite movies.


For three decades I felt alone being a fan of this movie. Mention it at film school and people would look at me as if something was fundamentally wrong with my brain. I remember critics panning it at the time, much to my dismay.  They were worried about cardboard characters and cardboard sets. Again, to my utter dismay.

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The Man in the High Castle book cover

The early eighties were remarkable, to me anyhow. Not only did my fascination with science fiction grind into high gear, but there was an explosion of new and modern genre films that hit the scene at around that time, many having been influenced by film makers from a bygone era, and more importantly, by novels penned by hardcore science fiction authors just decade earlier.

So, there I was, in the school library, looking for a book that was adapted into a movie I had just seen. Instead of finding the weirdly titled ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’, I ended up with a paperback with an even less appealing name. ‘The Man in the High Castle’. The one with the Max Ernst’s ‘The Petrified Forest” cover.

I didn’t even know alternate reality books existed, yet the way the author dealt with the characters as they inhabited a post world war society where the axis powers reigned supreme, prove to me this was a writer worth investing in.

With his little background details, such as as American workers having poorer eye sight than their Germanic overlords, or the grand suggestion that our world could be as fake as the one presented on the novel, Dick basically striped away the veneer that masked my view of reality. That is his amazing talent. After setting off on a mission to read all his books and short stories, It didn’t surprise me, that decades later, this author’s work would become one of the biggest properties for film and TV adaptation.

The Good.

The Man in the High Castle  Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 60min | TV Series (2015–2019) 8.1
Writer: Frank SpotnitzStars: Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Rufus SewellSummary: What would it be like if the Allied Powers had lost WWII, and Japan and Germany ruled the United States? Written by Amazon Studios


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Apart from a few superficial changed, such as the book swapped for a film, this television series, Season 1 anyway, is spot on. Highly recommend.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Action, Drama, Mystery | 164min | 6 October 2017 (Bulgaria) 8.0
Director: Denis VilleneuveWriter: Hampton Fancher, Michael GreenStars: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Ana de ArmasSummary: Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what's left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. Written by Warner Bros. Pictures


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Both films are as important to watch for any true sci-fi aficionado. Rare that a sequel does justice to the original.

Blade Runner (1982) Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 117min | 25 June 1982 (USA) 8.1
Director: Ridley ScottWriter: Hampton Fancher, David Webb PeoplesStars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean YoungSummary: In the 21st century, a corporation develops human clones to be used as slaves in colonies outside the Earth, identified as replicants. In 2019, a former police officer is hired to hunt down a fugitive group of clones living undercover in Los Angeles. Written by MadMovieManiac


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Minority Report (2002) Action, Crime, Mystery | 145min | 21 June 2002 (USA) 7.6
Director: Steven SpielbergWriter: Philip K. Dick, Scott FrankStars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha MortonSummary: In the year 2054 A.D. crime is virtually eliminated from Washington D.C. thanks to an elite law enforcing squad "Precrime". They use three gifted humans (called "Pre-Cogs") with special powers to see into the future and predict crimes beforehand. John Anderton heads Precrime and believes the system's flawlessness steadfastly. However one day the Pre-Cogs predict that Anderton will commit a murder himself in the next 36 hours. Worse, Anderton doesn't even know the victim. He decides to get to the mystery's core by finding out the 'minority report' which means the prediction of the female Pre-Cog Agatha that "might" tell a different story and prove Anderton innocent. Written by Soumitra


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Again, with a talented director such as Spielberg, this a true PKD experience.

A Scanner Darkly (2006) Animation, Crime, Drama | 100min | 28 July 2006 (USA) 7.1
Director: Richard LinklaterWriter: Philip K. Dick, Richard LinklaterStars: Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr.Summary: In a totalitarian society in a near future, the undercover detective Bob Arctor is working with a small time group of drug users trying to reach the big distributors of a brain-damaging drug called Substance D. His assignment is promoted by the recovery center New Path Corporation, and when Bob begins to lose his own identity and have schizophrenic behavior, he is submitted to tests to check his mental conditions. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


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Great visuals, great cast, and a commitment to the story that’s ingenious and refreshing.

Total Recall (1990) Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 113min | 1 June 1990 (USA) 7.5
Director: Paul VerhoevenWriter: Philip K. Dick, Ronald ShusettStars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael IronsideSummary: Douglas Quaid is haunted by a recurring dream about a journey to Mars. He hopes to find out more about this dream and buys a holiday at Rekall Inc. where they sell implanted memories. But something goes wrong with the memory implantation and he remembers being a secret agent fighting against the evil Mars administrator Cohaagen. Now the story really begins and it's a rollercoaster ride until the massive end of the movie. Written by Harald Mayr <>


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Standard eighties fare, can’t go wrong.

The Not So Bad.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 106min | 4 March 2011 (Bulgaria) 7.0
Director: George NolfiWriter: George Nolfi, Philip K. DickStars: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Lisa ThoresonSummary: Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? A man glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York the only woman he's ever loved. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself, the men of The Adjustment Bureau, who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path... or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her. Written by Universal Pictures


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The film looks exactly as I visualised it when I first read the short story. For fans, it’s worth sitting through this romantic caper.

Paycheck (2003) Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 119min | 25 December 2003 (USA) 6.3
Director: John WooWriter: Philip K. Dick, Dean GeorgarisStars: Ben Affleck, Aaron Eckhart, Uma ThurmanSummary: Michael Jennings is a reverse engineer and what he does is technical jobs for certain companies and as soon as he is done, his memory of the work he has done is wiped out. Now the longest he has been contracted is 2 months. But now billionaire, James Rethrick offers him a job that would last 2 years, maybe 3, and he promises that he will probably earn 8 figures. Michael agrees. Before beginning he turns in all of his personal effects. And when the job is done, his memory is erased and he learns he made over 90 million dollars over the three years. When he goes to claim it and his personal effects, he discovers that prior to the erasure of his memory he waived his rights to the money he earned and that the items that were given to him were not the ones he gave when he began. Later he is arrested by the FBI who say that he committed some act of treason and murder. It's while he is in custody that he escapes using some the items that he was given. He later meets with a friend who gives ... Written by


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It captures enough of the PKD mindset to pass, but the direction is very very pedestrian. At least it’s got Uma Thurman in it.

Impostor (2001) Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | 95min | 4 January 2002 (USA) 6.2
Director: Gary FlederWriter: Philip K. Dick, Scott RosenbergStars: Shane Brolly, Vincent D'Onofrio, Gary SiniseSummary: Originally a 30 minute portion for an anthology film, Impostor was retooled into a full length feature film. Based on the Philip K. Dick short story of the same name, it follows the lead character Spencer Olham's quest to regain his identity after being suspected as an alien android, in an future Earth at war with aliens that use the androids as bombs to destroy their enemies homeworlds. Written by Hyperpup


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This movie fails to hit the mark because it seems incomplete and under developed. It was a short film that got stretched out into a feature so maybe that’s the problem. Still, it captures the essence of the story it’s based on.

Screamers (1995) Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 108min | 26 January 1996 (USA) 6.4
Director: Christian DuguayWriter: Philip K. Dick, Dan O'BannonStars: Peter Weller, Roy Dupuis, Jennifer RubinSummary: (SIRIUS 6B, Year 2078) On a distant mining planet ravaged by a decade of war, scientists have created the perfect weapon: a blade-wielding, self-replicating race of killing devices known as Screamers designed for one purpose only -- to hunt down and destroy all enemy life forms But man's greatest weapon has continued to evolve without any human guidance, and now it has devised a new mission: to obliterate all life. Col. Hendricksson (Peter Weller) is commander of a handful of Alliance soldiers still alive on Sirius 6B. Betrayed by his own political leaders and disgusted by the atrocities of this never-ending war, Hendricksson decides he must negotiate a separate peace with the New Economic Bloc's decimated forces. But to do so, he will have to cross a treacherous wasteland where the deadliest threat comes from the very weapons he helped to create. Written by Nicolas LeBlanc <>


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This movie comes very close to the original short story, Second Variety. Despite the nonthreatening screamers and the cheap effects, there are still some good moments from the source material.

The Just Plain Ugly.

Next (2007) Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 96min | 27 April 2007 (USA) 6.2
Director: Lee TamahoriWriter: Gary Goldman, Jonathan HensleighStars: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica BielSummary: Possessing the extraordinary ability to see precisely two minutes into the future, the low-profile Las Vegas stage magician, Cris Johnson, has managed to keep his unusual skill under the radar. However, Johnson's rare talent has caught the attention of the tough counter-terrorism FBI agent, Callie Ferris, who intends to use the illusionist's unfailing charisma to thwart the murderous plans of a ruthless group of Russian terrorists. Now, a stolen nuclear device threatens to level California, as Cris' beautiful girlfriend, Liz, is being used by the criminals to gain added leverage. Can Cris save both the hostage and the city of Los Angeles with his peculiar gift? Written by Nick Riganas


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This is a ‘loose’ adaptation. If they stuck to the original story, they could have had a hit.

Radio Free Albemuth (2010) Drama, Sci-Fi | 111min | 27 June 2014 (USA) 5.7
Director: John Alan SimonWriter: John Alan Simon, Philip K. DickStars: Shea Whigham, Jonathan Scarfe, Michael RothhaarSummary: Berkeley record store clerk Nick Brady (Jonathan Scarfe) begins to experience strange visions from an entity he calls VALIS that cause him to uproot his family and move to Los Angeles where he becomes a successful music company executive. With the help of best friend, science fiction writer Philip K. Dick himself (Shea Whigam) and a mysterious woman named Silvia (Alanis Morissette), Nick finds himself drawn into a dangerous political-mystical conspiracy of cosmic proportions. The story is set in an alternate reality America circa 1985 under the authoritarian control of President Fremont, a Nixon-like clone (Scott Wilson). Written by Radio Free LLC


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It’s funny, as soon as some corporation buys the entire estate, the quality just drops. TV minus standard fare.

Screamers: The Hunting (2009) Action, Horror, Sci-Fi | 95min | Video January 2009 4.7
Director: Sheldon WilsonWriter: Philip K. Dick, Tom BerryStars: Gina Holden, Jana Pallaske, Lance HenriksenSummary: A group of humans arrive on Sirius 6-B to investigate an SOS signal sent out from the planet, which has been supposedly deserted since the destruction of the man-made weapons known as "screamers." Once the squad arrives, they find a group of human survivors eking out an existence in an old military outpost, but more important, they discover that the threat of the screamers has become even more insidious, now that they're able to morph into human form. Written by Anonymous


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B standard video fare, giving the brand a bad name.

Honorable mentions

Total Recall (2012) Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 118min | 10 August 2012 (Bulgaria) 6.3
Director: Len WisemanWriter: Kurt Wimmer, Mark BombackStars: Colin Farrell, Bokeem Woodbine, Bryan CranstonSummary: Originally adapted by director Paul Verhoeven in 1990, author Philip K. Dick's classic Sci-Fi short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale returns to the big screen in this remake starring Colin Farrell, Bryan Cranston, and Kate Beckinsale, and directed by Underworld's Len Wiseman. The planet has been decimated by nuclear war in the late 21st century, leaving only two nations -- the United Federation of Britain and the Colony. Douglas Quaid (Farrell) is a factory worker with a stable job and a loving wife (Beckinsale), but upon learning that a company named Rekall could grant him the memory of the ultimate espionage adventure, he decides that a virtual vacation is better than no vacation at all. But in the midst of having the new memories implanted, something goes haywire. Still strapped to the chair as the system breaks down, he's branded a spy as the authorities close in, and quickly flees for his life. Later, Quaid discovers that he has a secret identity, and he joins forces ...


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Even though PKD wasn’t credited, it still has its roots in the original story.

Total Recall 2070  Action, Sci-Fi | 2640min | TV Series (1999) 7.0
Writer: Art MonterastelliStars: Michael Easton, Karl Pruner, Cynthia PrestonSummary: In a dark, multi-cultural mega-city on Earth in 2070, David Hume, a smart dedicated human and Ian Farve, an advanced android of mysterious origins, are two detectives of Citizens Protection Bureau (CPB) who investigate crimes related to rogue or self-aware androids, advanced cyber technologies espionage and illegal genetic experiments conducted by a few powerful companies who literally rule the world.


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Minority Report  Action, Crime, Drama | 2520min | TV Series (2015) 5.9
Writer: Max BorensteinStars: Meagan Good, Stark Sands, Nick ZanoSummary: 10 years after the end of Precrime in Washington DC one of the three PreCogs attempts to lead on a normal life while still suffering from visions of the future. Will they be able to hold it together or mentally breakdown and give up?


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If you still can’t get enough, there are numerous shorts to track down.

Confessions d'un Barjo (1992) Comedy, Drama, Romance | 85min | 13 May 1992 (France) 5.8
Director: Jérôme BoivinWriter: Jacques AudiardStars: Richard Bohringer, Anne Brochet, Hippolyte GirardotSummary: The narrator, "Barjo" (nutcase, crap artist), is an obsessive simpleton, given to filling his notebook with verbatim dialog, observed trivia, and oddball speculation on human behavior and the end of the world. When his house burns, he moves in with his twin sister, Fanfan -- an impulsive, quixotic egoist -- and her husband, Charles, the Aluminum King. Charles becomes the focus of the film, as his wife and brother-in-law bewilder him. Written by <>


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Proini peripolos (1987) Drama, Sci-Fi | 108min | 8 October 1987 (Greece) 7.0
Director: Nikos NikolaidisWriter: Raymond Chandler, Philip K. DickStars: Michele Valley, Takis Spyridakis, Liana HatziSummary: A woman is walking alone through an abandoned city. She approaches the forbidden zone and tries to pass through. Everywhere the Morning Patrol and deceptive traps are watching. The city itself is alive but uncontrolled. Computer voices warn non-existing inhabitants to leave the city. The communication system works... cinemas show films... classic faces of a past era flash across TV screens. She is confronted by one of the few survivors guarding the city. They will come close to each other ; they will try to recall the past. Together they unravel their tangled memory - threads of this catastrophe and decide to penetrate the zone together ; They are linked by the bonds of violence and death since no other behaviour is possible in this kind of world. Is there an end? Is there hope and any future since no person that was allowed through ever returned to tell us whether the freedom of the sea exists. The fugitives encounter increasing dangers... A story of love in this unbearable world... ... Written by <>


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The Fleming Paracosm

Diamonds Are Forever Lazember
Alternative Lazenby Diamond Are Forever

As we enter a new chapter in the James Bond movie franchise, staunch fans like myself are apprehensive or intensely curious about what direction the franchise will take, and about who will be chosen to play the next 007. The naming of the actor to play the MI6 spy appears to have turned into a cultural festival that runs every decade or so, much like the naming of who will host the next Olympic Games. It’s a media tradition ever since George Lazenby famously turned his back on the franchise.

This is a tradition that revolves around a list of candidates, sourced mostly from public opinion and a little from industry insiders, and necessitates rounds and rounds of gossip and speculation.

MI6 Recruits

As of the time of writing, this is the list in order of whom I think will get the role.

  • Tom Hiddleston – With ex-head of MI6, Dame Judi Dench advocating him and reports that Barbara Broccoli is giving it serious thought, and the fact he’s coveting the role overtly, positioning himself with the right roles such as The Night Manager and the Jaguar commercials, I suspect he may snatch the role.
  • Aidan Turner – Well, he was involved in “talks” to play 007 last year, and is the right age and at the right point in his career, much like his rival Hiddlestone, and similar to Craig when he got the nod in 2006.
  • Tom Hardy – Occupies this spot because he can, without a doubt, pull off the Bond character without a hitch. But he may not want to do it, (and end up regretting it like Burt Reynolds) or his price tag may be a bit too high.
  • Damian Lewis – Looks like he was used by producers to intimidate Craig, just like they did with James Brolin when Roger Moore had second thoughts about playing Bond. He’d do the role easily, but I think time is against him if Eon Productions want to do another four to five films. And the fact that his ‘ginger’ hair doesn’t qualify him is ridiculous. He could do it but do only one, Lazenby style. Or do two, Dalton style. Gone are the days of a James Bond in his late 50s snuggling up with a twenty-something beauty.
  • Idris Elba – The general public has placed him as a contender. Again he’s in the same position as Lewis. He definitely can pull it off just as well as Lewis. But unless Sony and co. decide to do a one-off Bond film as a breaker between the Purvis-Wade-Haggis-Logan story arc and the next 007 story arc then I think this is not going to happen for him.

Resume for 00’s

What does an actor have to do to build a resume to be a serious 007 contender? Easy. Do a spy thriller (or something very similar) that has a bondesque element to it.

Roger Moore did The Saint (1962-1969) and The Persuaders (1971).
Timothy Dalton did Permission to Kill (1975)
Pierce Brosnan did Remington Steele (1982-87) and The Fourth Protocol (1987)
Daniel Craig did Road to Perdition (2002), Layer Cake (2004) and Munich (2005). Okay, he played gangsters in most, but he wore a suit.

George Lazenby was the only one who actually did nothing at all. He simply walked off the street and pronounced to Cubby that he was his next Bond. And Lazenby to this day is the closest actor to emulate Ian Fleming’s character.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

See, anyone can be James Bond. The notion that actors who are “gingers” or have “non-English English” backgrounds can’t play James Bond is absurd.

Anything and everything can happen in Bond movies.

  • Ian Fleming added Scottish ancestry to James Bond’s family history after seeing Connery in action on the big screen. Lazenby broke the fourth wall during the pre-title sequence, “that never happened to the other guy.”
  • Moore went into space and fought bad guys with lasers. Not to mention the blaxploitation, the Kung-fu exploitation and… did I mention the blatant Star Wars exploitation?
  • Bond faced off with Bond in 1983 as Kevin McClory took on the Broccoli clan. What a strange moment that was. That’s the thing with Bond fans, their loyalties are to Ian Fleming’s material, not some film studio.

Dalton escapes this one clean, well, that winking fish statue was ridiculous.

Then we have Brosnan, who after a solid stint as 007, ended up playing with invisible cars and space lasers and ice castle… these guys… How do you start the damn thing so good and ended up making it so bad?

Evolve Bond, Now.

Anyway, the thing with James Bond is that he evolves. He has gone from strangling women with bikini tops and slapping them around, to metrosexual to sensitive new-age brute. This is how MI6 Agent 007 has stayed alive all these decades. The producers have painstakingly stuck to a formula that works and balanced it with modern relevance. Yes, it has many times devolved into ridiculousness, but they have learned this lesson. For Your Eyes Only (1981) is a perfect example of when they learn, so too is Goldeneye (1995). Unfortunately, they forgot these lessons in Die Another Day (2002), with invisible cars, space lasers and …ice castles.

James Bond - Connery Style

But the team at Eon may have backed itself into a corner with Purvis-Wade-Haggis-Logan story arc. Before Casino Royale (2006), there existed no interconnected storylines between the movies. Dr. No/Goldfinger was basically a template for all the other films that followed. No narrative was carried from the previous film. It took six films for Bond to acknowledge the death of his wife, and even then, in the same film (FYEO), they killed off Ernst Stavro Blofeld, just one of the few carryovers in the franchise, just to spite McClory who had won the rights to Blofeld, SPECTRE, and Thunderball at the time.

Reboots are Forever

James Bond. Casino Royale.

By ‘rebooting’ 007 and having each film as direct sequels; with Bond earning his 00 status, exploring his Skyfall heritage and facing off with his long lost ‘stepbrother’, who turned out to be, yep Ernst Stavro Blofeld; for them to attempt another reboot to accommodate the actor or director, at this stage would be tiresome for even the staunchest of James Bond aficionados. The Spiderman franchise is a classic example, how many times do we have to see the damn spider bite Peter Parker? But wait, now that Sony has relented and joined the Marvel Universe, how can they ever disengage themselves from it? This current 007 story arc and style of character still has a cycle to go before a major makeover would be required.
The Bond that exists now can be only softened a little or hardened a little, modified to a certain degree, otherwise Ian Fleming’s Bond ceases being Ian Fleming’s Bond.

It’s a hard balance, keeping the James Bond tradition and canon intact as well as keeping him invigorated and relevant. How do you change or maintain the franchise without abandoning a formula, backstory, and continuity built up since 1953?

I think Eon might be missing an opportunity with this behemoth IP, the oldest continuous media franchise of its kind ever. As other IP owners grapple with their own never-ending story universes, Paracosms are what they are calling them, Eon is faced with either pressing the repeat button, or they could venture out into a brave new world.

The motion picture arts are always evolving.

It started with adaptations. As the new medium was born there was a mountain of books available for filmmakers to base their stories. The Birth of a Nation (1915) was an adaption from the novel The Clansman, by Thomas Dixon, Jr.

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace was first adapted in 1907 as a short B/W silent film. No one sort permission to use the book’s IP at the time, which was standard until somebody sued for copyright infringement and gave birth to the beginning of what would a hundred years later become conglomerate media franchises, i.e. paracosms.

Remakes became a good way to retell an old story and milk a known story to death. The 1925 version of Ben Hur, also a black and white silent film, was remade again in 1959, in Technicolor… with Charlton Heston. In 2003 it was remade as an animation and again starring Charlton Heston. Now in 2016, we have another remake coming and this time it’s in 3D. They call them “reimaginings”, “reinterpretations”, “re-adaptations”, or “new interpretations” depending on how shit they are. If it’s good, then it’s just a remake.

Sequels have their beginnings in early novels and novellas as authors sort to protect and expand their income streams. The first-ever film sequel is considered to be The Fall of a Nation (1916), a sequel to The Birth of a Nation released the year before. It’s all about market forces, if people want more, they get more. When they get served rubbish, they stay away.

Prequels first appeared in novels and were used to explore the backstory of a story. In cinema, it was Star Wars that popularize this type of sequel.

Reboots are all technically prequels. They came about as the early paracosms began to evolve. It was the exhaustion of the sequel format that brought this on. When a sequel can’t be maintained past number three, producers hit a brick wall. Reboots; when done right you end up with Casino Royale. Done wrong you end up with the Hulk, and a second Hulk until producers saw the light and went down the road of the Marvel Paracosm.

All this is an evolutionary process towards media paracosms.

Broccoli proved a character can basically live forever, Lucas proved paracosms exist, and Marvel is doing it. Now every content producer is diving in.

Now back to Bond.

What would a Fleming Paracosm look like? Who are the other superspies ready to serve Queen and country? Well, there are all the other Double O’s in waiting, each one unique in personality, skill set and backstory. When 007 sat in at a briefing during Thunderball, with all the other 00 agents, there was Eon’s Paracosm.

The need to pump out the same old movie is eliminated. MGM/Sony can do what Disney is doing with Star Wars, pump out spin-off movies between the main story arc. Instead of trying to please all audiences at once, they can explore, take risks, target different markets, and expand the fan base, without endangering the main canon established by Ian Fleming.

You can set one back in the ’60s, The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015) style, and revisit the Connery era. Guy Ritchie’s U.N.C.L.E really worked in my opinion, and when you consider Fleming created Napoleon Solo, there is no reason why MGM/Sony can’t do something similar.

A more violent, sexier, R-rated 00 agent? The market is there. Look at how competitors like Deadpool (2016) and Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) have stirred up this market.

And MI6 has plenty of 00 agents ready to get this job done.

001 – Edward Donne

002 – Bill Fairbanks

Accompanied 002 and 007 to Gibraltar in The Living Daylights film; murdered by an individual pretending to be a KGB agent who left a tag on the body that read "Death to Spies" in Russian.

003 – Jason Walters / Jack Mason

004 – Aidan Flemmings

005 – Stuart Thomas

006 – Alec Trevelyan

007 – James Bond

008 – Bill Timothy

009 – Peter Smith

In The Living Daylights (film version), another 002, played by Glyn Baker, was in the training exercise at Gibraltar, with 004 and 007. james bond
Assassinated by Mischka and Grischka in the film version of Octopussy. james bond

0010 – John Wolfgramm

0011 – Cederic

0012 – Sam Johnston

0013 – Briony Thorne

James Bond can do a cameo, come to an agent’s aid or compete with them. Imagine the charm factor when two egos clash, especially when one steals an asset meant for the other as what 007 did to 009 in SPECTRE (2015), a scene that really worked. A new agent can be introduced during the main canon film, and if taken in by audiences, a spin-off movie could follow. How about a 00 agent that continuously breaks the fourth wall? The possibilities in a Fleming Paracosm are endless.

John Gardner 007 james bond
John Gardner 007 james bond
Raymond Benson 007 james bond


Tech 62 repairs ‘Oblivion’

No matter how much one attempts to enjoy a work of cinematic science fiction, one cannot help but feel robbed. This is what the makers of ‘Oblivion’ have done. They promised something fantastic and poured $120,000,000 into an intriguing concept, so intriguing that even with a marketing campaign featuring Tom Cruise looking bored… 

I still felt compelled to watch this thing.

Continue reading “Tech 62 repairs ‘Oblivion’”
The Bad Samaritan

Before I became a serial killer, I made a film about one.

The Bad Samaritan from bill kandiliotis on Vimeo.

Sometime late in 1999 I was planning a series of short films. An actor I approached at the time to be in one, managed to ‘somehow’ convince me into making a feature-length film. “Why not?” he asked. I explained the negatives such as the lack of funding, which meant no big-name cast and little to no crew, and the unlikelihood of selling the finished product. It would have to be a very, very low-budget guerrilla film.

Somehow, a few positives were enough for me to proceed with the project. I had the technical experience (more or less) to complete the film, the 95-180% commitment from my lead actor and cameraman and the fact that I had the total creative freedom to experiment.

I eventually combined the short films into one and came up with a script entitled “The Bad Samaritan” about an unassuming and prolific serial killer having a burdensome time covering up his crimes. I prepared a shooting schedule and budgeted it at around $1000.

Continue reading “Before I became a serial killer, I made a film about one.”