The world of movie titling

Coming up with movie titles is hard. We all know the tales (true or otherwise) of the problems faced by various filmmakers on learning that their audiences didn’t understand their carefully planned and balanced linguistic allusions:

  • License Revoked: What does revoked mean? Became License To Kill
  • The Abyss: What’s an abyss? Decided to keep it anyway
  • The Madness of George III: What happened to The Madness of George 1 & 2? Became The Madness of King George. (Actually, there’s a touch of the urban myth about this one. But only a touch)

There’s plenty more where that came from, too.

The problem becomes even greater when you’re dealing with a foreign language movie.

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First Born on the way, too

First Born on the Radio TimesYesterday, I was so excited by the impending release of Dark Season and Century Falls that I forgot to check the Action TV DVD news page to see if there was anything else coming out this month that would be worth watching. Turns out there is.

First Born was a 1988 serial that saw Charles Dance have sex with a gorilla. Hang on. That doesn’t sound right. Let me just check that. Ah. Let’s start again.

First Born was a 1988 serial that saw genetic researcher Charles Dance decide that the human race is just too nasty and aggressive and if, paradoxically, we still acted a bit more like our ape ancestors – or, better still, gorillas – we’d be a whole lot nicer. So he decides to create a human-gorilla hybrid using his own sperm.

Eventually, he succeeds and the rest of the serial follows the growth into adulthood of young Gor (short for Gordon as well as the obvious) as he braves the sorts of things we all have to when our mum’s a gorilla: not being able to speak, having colossal strength and being born with a fur coat.

Charles Dance was on fine form, despite the obvious eyebrow-raising potential of the script, and while it was at least thought-provoking, it lacked the punch of Edge of Darkness, say (while that particular masterpiece asked a whole load of important questions about the nuclear industry, as a result of First Born, I’m sorry to say no one campaigned parliament to ban human-gorilla cross-breeding, just in case the resulting children wouldn’t make good army officers). It also provided future Hollywood star Gabrielle Anwar with one of her earliest TV roles (her other most notable appearance being Press Gang, of course).

It’s out on the 24th and you can pre-order it from Amazon, if you like, or you can find out more from the IMDB.


The Office meets The Office

2offbkn05 There’s an odd sort of meeting being planned at The Office. This one involves The Office. Confusing, huh?

Let me explain. The makers of the US version of The Office, which stars Steve Carrell from The Daily Show and The 40 Year Old Virgin, have a special episode planned for next season that will feature cameos by some of the cast of the British original.

In an interview with the New York Post, US executive producer Ben Silverman is quoted as saying: “Expect some cameos from the UK paper company. There’s a lot of love between the casts and crews of the two versions of the show.”

No word on which cast members will appear, although Ricky Gervais is unlikely to be one of them. He is, however, writing an episode for the US series, of which he is an exec producer.


Dark Season and Century Falls out on DVD this month

Kate Winslet in Dark SeasonRussell T Davies has been around for a while and Doctor Who was not his first kids’ drama series. That honour belongs to Dark Season, which amongst other things (almost) introduced Kate Winslet to the world. It, and his follow-up series Century Falls, are coming to DVD later this month (wow, what with A for Andromeda and Adam Adamant Lives! coming out too, it’s like classic TV DVD month or something).

I only caught the second half of Dark Season when it aired back in 91, being at university and all and therefore not watching CBBC with any degree of regularity. But I do remember it had a cracking theme, a good plot and was reasonably creepy and fun – better, in fact, than most of RTD’s Who scripts. General thing is that it was essentially a story of two halves, set in a school, with a gang of three school kids foiling the evil villain(s). But better than it sounds.

Century Falls was a whole different matter. That I tuned in for especially. It was utterly incomprehensible mind – basically a village of psychic old people with no kids try to use two psychic twins who move to the village to recapture their halcyon days. But I guarantee that by the end you won’t understand more than about 50% of what was going on. Makes you realise how times have changed… Very creepy though and very well done.

If you’re curious, here are some Amazon links for you

Star Trek with new effects

Ever wondered what the original series of Star Trek might have looked like if they’d access to modern graphics technology? Wonder no more because someone’s had a go at fixing up the episode The Doomsday Machine with proper CGI. See what you think. Personally, I preferred it with 1960s technology but your mileage may vary.