Fritz Lang’s Metropolis restored to full-length glory.

May 1, 2010

Source: Kino (Official Website)

While this classic has undergone restorations before, a recent discovery has provided all an opportunity to see it as it was first seen in 1927.

Lost footage found. I was reading Wired’s review of the Nightmare on Elm Street remake when I saw the following trailer among the others:

A quick websearch lead me to the official site where the news is apparently confirmed:

In the summer of 2008, the curator of the Buenos Aires Museo del Cine discovered a 16mm dupe negative that was considerably longer than any existing print. It included not merely a few additional snippets, but 25 minutes of “lost” footage, about a fifth of the film, that had not been seen since its Berlin debut.

Originally, the film was 153 minutes long, but was cut down to approximately 90 minutes for commercial distribution. Several restorations over the years since had manage to extend the film to 124 minutes. But with the Buenos Aires discovery, fans can now witness the full 153 minute epic. Or 149 minutes by the math.

 

A near tragedy. Even when using digital technology, the restoration of this print was not easy:

The condition of the 16mm negative posed a major technical challenge to the team. The image was streaked with scratches and plagued by flickering brightness. “It had all been printed from the 35mm nitrate print, which means they have become part of the picture,” says Wilkening. The source 35mm element was later destroyed (probably due to the flammability and chemical instability of the nitrocellulose film stock).

An unfortunate lessons was thus learned from the restoration. “Don’t throw your originals away even if you think you preserved them, and even if they are in bad shape,” Koerber says, “If we could have had access to the 35mm nitrate print that was destroyed after being reprinted for safety onto 16mm dupe negative some 30 years ago, we would have been able to make a much better copy today.”

Even so the restoration and cleanup of the visuals was completed successfully, and now the full film is making its way through the US in limited theater releases this summer. And a DVD will be released in November.

 

Will it be worth it? Some may not like the idea of such a historic piece being “altered,” but often movies are “altered” before their release to theaters and scenes that are deleted do get returned later in “director’s cuts” or as extras on DVDs. But can the restoration of a 1927 print be viewable on today’s high-definition screens? More importantly, does the added scenes add anything to what is already a historical masterpiece?

We’ll have to wait until the DVs come out…


See also: SFAM’s review of Metropolis.

This post has been filed under Movie News by Mr. Roboto.

io9’s 2K9 Movie Preview – Some may be reviewed here!

January 9, 2009

Source: io9

Sci-Fi site io9 has posted its list of movies for 2009 to watch… or avoid; Some 30 such movies expected over the next twelve months. While some are predictable blockbusters (J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, a live-action Dragonball, and the Wolverine movie), there’s a few we’ll be keeping an eye-cam out for and possibly reviewing so you can go watch… or avoid… as necessary.

Here’s what’s coming up, chronologically:

Terminator: Salvation (May 22). The latest of the series (this time sans-Schwarzenegger) looks and sounds like a big rebound from the T3 fiasco.

Terminator Salvation - Harvester

At least the Harvester is impressive.

 

Game (Sept. 4). Imagine playing your favorite FPS or shoot-em-up using REAL people and REAL weapons. For some convicts with controller chips in their heads, it becomes all-too REAL. Early reviews say it REALLY sucks, but we’ll give you our view of it… for REAL.

 

9 (Sept. 9). The machines have succeeded in exterminating humanity. Now, only one stands in the way of total mechanized domination… a RAG DOLL???!!!???

Believe it or don’t, this Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov production may have something to show John Conner in terms of fighting against killer robots.

This 11-minute short by Shane Acker should give you a little hint of what to expect from the full movie.

 

The Surrogates (Sept. 25). In a world where “going out” means firing up your robot (a “surrogate”) and maneuvering it through reality like playing an FPS, Bruce Willis finally snaps from cabin fever and exclaims:

Bruce Willis in “The Surrogates”

SCREW YOU GUYS! I AM OUTTA HERE!

And he does just that… he goes outside… physically outside! It is based on a little-known graphic novel (I’ve got to look for it!), and has some real potential for reviews here.

 

Astro Boy (Oct. 23). Another classic anime get the Hollywood makeover, and a Pinocchio-esque storyline to boot. Might be worth a laugh… and a brief review… maybe.

 

But wait… There’s more! Not only will these movies be reviewed… maybe… but there are some from the past year, and earlier years, I and my fellow reviewers will try to review for you. I have 6 DVDs planned for viewing and reviewing, so we’ll be busy getting the best of cyberpunk cinema to you this year.

This post has been filed under Movie News, Upcoming Movies by Mr. Roboto.

The Terminator is INDESTRUCTABLE, thx to the National Film Registry

December 31, 2008

Source: Library of Congres, National Film Registry (Press Release)

Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant, to be preserved for all time. These films are not selected as the “best” American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring significance to American culture.

 

We knew The Terminator was an unstoppable influence on cyberpunk, and American culture in general, and now it will have its place along side cyberpunk classics Blade Runner and Alien.

From the press release:

The Terminator (1984)

In 1984, few expected much from the upcoming film “The Terminator.” Director James Cameron, a protégé of legendary independent filmmaker Roger Corman, had made only two films previously: the modest sci-fi short “Xenogenesis” in 1978 and “Piranha Part Two: The Spawning” in 1981. However, “The Terminator” became one of the sleeper hits of 1984, blending an ingenious, thoughtful script — clearly influenced by the works of sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison — and relentless, non-stop action moved along by an outstanding synthesizer and early techno soundtrack. Most notable was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s star-making performance as the mass-killing cyborg with a laconic sense of humor (”I’ll be back”). Low-budget, but made with heart, verve, imagination, and superb Stan Winston special effects, “The Terminator” remains among the finest science-fiction films in many decades.

 

What cyberpunk movies will be included in the future? With T1 now registered for preservation, things look good for Terminator 2: Judgment Day to join it since many consider it to be better than T1. Just don’t hold your breath for T3, k?

If you want to see the full list (some 500 movies so far), just head over to the NFR site and take a look-see at what has been selected for preservation. Quite an impressive list, not only including major films but newsreels as well. But some notable cyberpunk movies are absent… at least until next year anyway. Movies like WarGames, Tron, Sneakers (a personal favorite), and Robocop should be included. The Matrix also, though it may be a little early for it to qualify (possibly in 2010?).

There’s still plenty of cyberpunk movies yet to review, with possible gems for the Registry to save. And when next year’s selections for preservation are announced, and any cyberpunk movies get the nod, we will let you know.

This post has been filed under Movie News by Mr. Roboto.

Overheard on the net: Blade Runner 2 now in the works

October 3, 2008

Source: Slashfilm

Depending on how you feel about Hollywood’s track record with sequels, this is either the Second Coming or a sign of the Apocalypse.

Movie blog Slashfilm received an email earlier this week that the writers of Eagle Eye were now working on a Blade Runner sequel:

“I recently attended a Q&A session with one of the writers of ‘Eagle Eye’ after a free screening organized by the magazine Creative Screenwriting. During the Q&A, the writer said that he and whomever it was that helped him co-write the ‘Eagle Eye’ screenplay were in the process of writing a sequel to Blade Runner, and had already contacted the producers of the original, etc., etc. This is probably a load of empty words/wishful thinking on his part, but I for one am appalled by just the notion of a Blade Runner sequel, and thought you’d be as well, so I thought perhaps you’d like to look into this yourself and perhaps use your soapbox to get some fanboys a little pissed, as well. If not, then at least you have a scoop.”

The rumor turned out to be somewhat true, in that a sequel script is being written, but by co-writer Travis Wright, who was reprotedly working with Blade Runner co-executive producer Bud Yorkin. No word about Ridley Scott being involved as yet, and the project is being developed “outside the studio and without their involvement.”

 

Recipe for Disaster? One question that is not answered yet is if the sequel is going to be based on K. W. Jeter’s Blade Runner sequels. Even so, there’s still apprehension about a sequel from Slashfilm blogger Peter Sciretta:

All of this really scares the hell out of me. Blade Runner is one of the most beloved sci-fi films of all time, and it is a movie that doesn’t need a sequel. If Scott had an idea, and really believed it was worth making, then maybe MAYBE. But we certainly don’t need a sequel written by the second teir team of Eagle Eye. Lets hope to God this doesn’t happen.

Even the comments express dismay over number two. I, also, have serious reservations. But until BR2 comes out… IF it comes out… all we can do is hope for the best, or at least hope that Mr. Wright comes to his senses.

This post has been filed under Movie News by Mr. Roboto.

First poster for Neuromancer revealed.

August 20, 2008

A good sign or a sign of the apocalypse… On July 31st, the people of Quiet Earth made what can be considered a big find: The first poster for the upcoming Neuromancer movie.

I just stumbled across what I believe is the first poster for the upcoming adaptation of Gibson’s awesome novel Neuromancer, and while I love the looks of it, I still wonder if ANYONE could pull of even a remote interpretation of this?

I do have to wonder if this is for real since QE doesn’t mention where he found the poster, and QE also refers to Case as “Cage” in his description of the movie. Still, the poster… IF it’s for real… does show promise.

1st Neuromancer poster

NOTE: This is an enlarged version of the JPEG from Quiet Earth.
This post has been filed under Movie News, Cyberpunk Art, Upcoming Movies by Mr. Roboto.