Imagination Connoisseurs look at 2021 and wonder what is happening to some of their favorite heroes of film and TV, plus movie recommendations and a few thoughts about where we REALLY live.

What’s happening to the Power Rangers?

Hello, Rob, mods and fellow PGSers, and Happy New Year!

It has been a week or two since I have read the news about most of the “Power Rangers” library and the two English-speaking adaptations of the “Metal Heroes Series”–the “VR Troopers” and the “Beetleborgs”–leaving Netflix for good in Februrary. My reaction was in four words: Jeepers H. Tap-Dancing Creepers. (Yes, there is a hyphen in “Tap-Dancing.”)

I respect the opinions of those who were like “the people of Netflix are stinking buttheads!”

You do not have to be a Power Ranger fan or a VR Trooper fan or a Beetleborg fan to let me know what you guys think.

Thanks for reading my first letter for 2021 and may the Power protect you all.

Your fellow Super Sentai fan,
– Donny P.

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Harrison Ford films worth watching that don’t involve fighting Nazis.

Dear Rob,

I thought I would comment on a pair of Harrison Ford movies that were pre-THE FUGITIVE and tend to have subtle differences (like the film adaptation of THE FUGITIVE). The first one is the 1988 Roman Polanski film, FRANTIC.

The reason this film seems to be in that pre-FUGITIVE category is because there is every possible piece of evidence that puts this film as a good match :a doctor gets framed for what is going on with a one armed man’s shenanigans, the wife in frantic goes missing whereas in the fugitive, the wife is attacked, so Ford’s character, the frantic Dr. Richard Walker, does the thing that Dr. Richard Kimble (in the 1993’s THE FUGITIVE) doesnt do correctly: investigate.

Just by picking up a few clues, Richard Walker discovers a drunk forcing his wife into a car. He picks up a suitcase that was left by his wife, and finds a phone number that may be a lead. This is one of the things that seperates this film from THE FUGITIVE – because as the story in the film unfolds, it drifts off into self-parody.

Later, Richard Walker gets help from a young woman named michelle (played by emanuelle seigner) and all throughout the rest of the film, Walker and the young woman are put in a cat and mouse game to try to solve where Dr. Walker’s wife is, she was hired to carry the suitcase, doesn’t know whats in it, but she wants 10.000 francs that shes promised – this is how far fetched half of this film is. It’s likable by more than half compared to THE FUGITIVE.

But the fact is, this film could have done better when it comes to balancing out what is going on in the story and fixing some of the issues in parts of the subplots there is simply no explanation for the viewer as to how Walker’s wife managed to go missing.

Nor the fact that there isnt some sort of help for Richard Walker and Michelle to outsmart the villians of the film, as a polar opposite to what happens in the fugitive when Richard Kimble runs from cops and doesnt get enough help to protect himself from Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones).

But still, FRANTIC, as a film, is a good thriller and that the audience tends to figure out what goes on.

Harrison Ford and Bryan Dennehy in PRESUMED INNOCENT.

Now, moving along, the second Pre-FUGITIVE film is the 1990 Alan J Pakula directed film, PRESUMED INNOCENT.

There are a lot of people in this film. The actress from DIE HARD 1 and 2, Bonnie Bedelia, is cast in the role of Barbra Sabich, the wife of Harrison Ford’s character, Rusty Sabich. Bryan Dennehy (the Same Brian Dennehy who played Teasle in RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD (1982) and Cobb in SILVERADO (1985).

PRESUMED INNOCENT is based on a novel by Scott Turow, which should be the viewer’s first clue the film differs from THE FUGITIVE. Brian Dennehy plays a state attorney that assigns Harrison Ford’s character, an assistant state attorney, to a case about a murder involving a young woman lawyer (played by Greta Scacchi).

The rest of the film, much like THE FUGITIVE, is all investigative stuff – which could be interesting – though, what makes it tricky is when Dennehy’s character faces an election.

In a nutshell, the film does have its moments.

So in conclusion, both of these films are great. Probably equally as great as THE FUGITIVE and well-worth comparing. So, Rob and the PGS … what is your favorite Harrison Ford movie?

Thanks for Listening,

– Aaron J.

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Will King Kong and Godzilla save DUNE?

Dear Rob,

I hope you’re well! The terminator is back!

I am currently listening to the recorded podcast regarding Godzilla and King Kong appearing Day and Date with HBO Max. I am glad that the bond between Warner Bros and Legendary is being mended. I just hope this progress means that Dune will also appear on HBO Max at the same time.

Speaking of which: I did post a letter around Christmas time, but I think it got backlogged with all of the other letters and so it was never read, but it doesn’t matter! It was in regards to an article I published.

 What will be the impact of revised release schedules (to coincide with streaming availability) on blockbuster releases like KING KONG vs GODZILLA?

This article talks about all of the reasons why I believe that a theatrical-only release will be detrimental to Dune, whereas HBO Max can offer various advantages and actually improves chances of receiving a Dune sequel, though I still wished they filmed the sequel back to back with the first film. Most aspects of the article is something which we have already discussed, such as the nature of the source material not being something which attracts the mass audience to the cinemas whereas HBO Max will encourage more people to actually watch it, one way or the other.

I can talk forever in this letter about all of the reasons, but I feel like you already read and discussed all of them prior to this letter and this comprehensive article will talk about what I want to talk about anyway.

And Rob, I remember you told us that your formerly worked for Warner Bros, I think around 20 years ago? If you happen to have some contacts over at Legendary, let just say they might require a little persuasion (this article) to encourage them to keep the current release strategy…

In other news, I read a Medium article titled “The Biggest Films of the Year Were Direct-to-SVOD” by Brendan Braser on behalf of the analytical company ANTENNA which states that Wonder Woman 1984 had the highest subscription acquisition of any 2020 movie, so that was interesting. I thought it was supposed to be Souls, but apparently not.

Anyhow, I will leave you to it. Thank you for reading the letter and I hope you have a great and wonderful day! Both to you and your family!

I’ll be back.

Kind regards,
– The Terminator

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Whicih world would you rather live in?

Hi Rob.
You posed the question the other day concerning the differences between the ordinary world and movie world. First of all, from now on I will refer to our ordinary world as a “mundane world” as opposed to movie world.

I thought a bit about this and I think that I’ve managed to draw some conclusions.

I started by acknowledging that some directors are working completely in the mundane world while other works completely in movie world. An example of those that always works in the “mundane world” would be people like Woody Allen. An example of a director that’s always working in the “movie world” would be someone like Tim Burton.

But then there are directors that does movies both in the “mundane world” and in the “movie world”. The first one that comes to mind is Steven Spielberg. He has done “mundane world” movies like Munich, Schindler’s list, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Lincoln and The Terminal. They are all set in the “mundane world” and except for The Terminal they all depict real events in history. But, he’s also made a lot of movies set in “movie world”. Examples would be E.T., Hook and the Indiana Jones movies.

Apart from this he’s also made two movies that has many similarities, but where one is set in the “mundane world” and one is set in “movie world”. I’m speaking of Jaws and Jurassic Park.

Jaws is firmly set in our “mundane world”. It’s established with a lot of mundane things happening. The interactions between Roy Scheider and his family does a lot to establish this sense of us being in the “mundane world” and there’s nothing that comes later on in the movie that really breaks us away from that. Jurassic Park has many of the same beats as Jaws, but there’s nothing as concrete as in Jaws that would bring us back down to the “mundane world”. They could have shifted the tone a little bit and had some scenes to establish the “mundane world” and still have Dinosaurs in the movie, if they had done it a certain way.

Who wouldn’t want to wake up in a world where Ursula Andress shows up on your beach unannounced?

I also considered the Bond franchise. In our minds Bond is firmly set in “movie world”. But I would argue that the first Bond movie (Dr No) is actually set in the mundane world. I started to wonder about that. What is it with the other Bond movies that makes them feel as if they’re set in “movie world”? I think that I have come up with a part of the answer.

I think the answer is that you introduce a fantastical (or larger than life) element and then confirm it to the viewer with an over-the-top piece of music. Dr No had no “larger than life” elements and its theme music was the song “Three blind mice”, which is not “over-the-top” but rather a nice little reggae-inspired song. From the next movie forward in the franchise there would often be some “over-the-top” thing happening in the beginning, followed by a rousing piece of music that confirmed that it was “larger-than-life”.

In your example with “Back to the future”, where we see the home of an eccentric inventor, it’s followed by Marty’s skateboarding while the song “The Power of Love” by “Huey Lewis And The News” is blasting in the background. Again, the over-the-top song confirms the fantastical. If we hadn’t had that song there we might have dismissed the huge speaker in the beginning as an eccentricity. But no, the song confirms that we’re in for a strange and awesome ride.

The Indiana Jones movies could probably never have been pulled down into the “mundane world”. But, if you had a more subdued score, they might have pulled it off. At least in the beginning. It would however have been a very strange movie and probably not particularly good.

When I think of movies like Titanic I think there is a form of hybrid of the “movie world” and the mundane. The movie is more or less two different movies stitched together. It’s a fantastical costume drama half the movie and a very real survival movie in the second half.

This is also reflected in the score. We never get that roaring fantastical Titanic theme after the iceberg hits. When the Iceberg hits we go from “movie world” and enter the “mundane world”. We don’t really hear that theme again until the end of the movie when we once again enter “movie world”. I’m not sure if my analysis of Titanic is correct, but those were my initial thoughts.

So, what do you think of my reasoning?

Is the secret to establish something in the “movie world” that you introduce strange or larger-than-life elements and confirm them with a score that ferments the fantastical nature of what it is you’re about to watch in the mind of the viewer?

Whatever it is you need to establish it right at the beginning. I think it’s hard to change the world from mundane to movie or vice versa in the middle of the movie. You literally need an iceberg to do it.

Thanks

– Stubble McShave

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Movie recommendations for fellow Imagination Connoisseurs.

Hello!

A few more things we watched (late last year) that I enjoyed.

Kung Fu Panda 2 – Charming, endearing and unexpectedly… moving.

Beauty and The Beast (France) (2016)

Beauty and the Beast – This is the French film with Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel. Filled with the sense of wonder & enchantment that a fairy tale ought. Also, gorgeous to look at.

Under the Greenwood Tree – A BBC adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel. Keeley Hawes plays a village schoolmistress with three (very different) suitors. This is NOT one of those Hardy stories where, whoever does not end up dead, lives miserably ever after. Unnatural as it feels to use words such as “cosy” and “comfortable” in conjunction with the work of Mr Hardy – ’tis quite true. (He must have felt it so himself, as years later he added a preface to the book essentially apologising for this.;))

Note: I do like the book, but my favourite Thomas Hardy is actually “Far from the Madding Crowd”.

– Lubna K.

PS – Apropos It’s a Wonderful Life, I just wanted to mention two other James Stewart films that I love: Harvey, and The Shop Around the Corner.

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