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Emmerich Plans Foundation As a 3D Epic

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the pretty-darn-seldon dept.

Movies 283

spuke4000 writes "Roland Emmerich, the writer/director/producer behind Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012 is planning to adapt Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. The plans include using technology developed for Avatar including 3D and motion capture technology. When asked about using this technology Emmerich responded: 'It has to be done all CG because I would not know how to shoot this thing in real.'"

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283 comments

Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121528)

The same Roland Emmerich that wrote the script for Independence Day? The movie where Will Smith flies a spaceship out of an alien base and yells "Oh! Elvis has left the building!" ? Where Will Smith pauses after beating up an alien and says "Welcome to Earth!" ? Where Randy Quaid says, "Payback's a bitch, ain't it?" ? Where Randy Quaid is about to fly his ship up into an Alien fortress to blow it up and says "All right, you alien assholes! In the words of my generation: Up Yours!" followed by "Ha-ha-ha! Hello, boys! I'm back! " ? Where Jeff Goldblum says, "Must go faster!" ?

That's the writing we have to look forward to? And the guy who wrote that is directing?

*curls up into fetal position*

Well, after seeing I, Robot I must say that at least they waited until Asimov was dead before hacking his works up into utter drivel in order to milk those cash cows. Gee, maybe if we're lucky we'll get to see the psychohistorian Hari Seldon played by Tom Cruise scream, "And that's my thousand year plan, bitch!" while snapping his fingers back and forth?

So what are we looking at here? A movie full of catch phrases shot in a new technology that just broke records for box office revenues? Sounds like these executive producers are betting on a winning horse that I'd rather take a bullet to the head than see.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (2)

Homburg (213427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121600)

I Robot is a pretty decent film, and is true to a lot of Asimov's themes (particularly, the effect of widespread dependence on robots on human society, as explored in the Elijah Baley novels).

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (5, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121684)

I Robot is a pretty decent film

Please tell me you're joking. The movie I, Robot may have been okay if it were simply a standalone film, but as an "adaption" of Asimov's book it was a travesty. About the only thing the book had in common with the movie was the title.

While overly satirical and lacking in details, Maddox's review [thebestpag...iverse.net] isn't all that far from the mark.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (4, Insightful)

Homburg (213427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121858)

About the only thing the book had in common with the movie was the title.

And the themes: The three laws; the ways in which these laws can be, unexpectedly, harmful (the point of about half of the stories in the book); a mystery based on trying to predict how these laws will play out in unusual circumstances (the point of the other half of the stories in the book); a society shaped by dependence on robots, and the problems this might cause (the subject of a number of Asimov's later robot books). Sure, there's a lot more running around and shooting and Will Smith being a badass in the film than there is in the book, but there's some definite common threads, too.

I'm beginning to think that people who claim the book and film of I, Robot have nothing in common simply don't have a very strong grasp on what Asimov actually wrote.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122062)

Uh, was there any running around and shooting in the book? The themes may have been similar, but was the actual PLOT of the movie anything like the book? Was the TONE of the movie anything like the book? If you admit that the only thing the book and movie had in common was the three laws and ubiquitous robots, I think we can agree.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122118)

I agree and back you on this one. I think that his stories were very complex and if one filmmaker were to try and present half the stories from I, Robot in the form they were presented in the book, nobody would like the film. Thinking cars and robots on Mercury and slumbering giants with no vocal abilities and cavernous computers ... those theatrical sets would be hard to reproduce. But to grasp what it means to rely on robots to the point that nobody knows who's in control, and everyone assumes the robots are benign, and it's up to those in charge to _ensure_ that the robots are kept in check... We as a society _must_ keep a check on the constraints of our society. If we assume that someone else is always watching out for us, eventually we're going to get hosed by someone who's only looking out for himself. He'll be a dictator, and we'll have to take it, or die in the process of taking him down. Hell, Asimov never wanted his stories told all at one time, or he would've written the stories to be contiguous. He wanted us to focus on a facet at a time of the dichotomy of the reliance on machines. The best way to stress that the stories were about morals was to move the background every time.

(Back on the sets issue: Seriously, 20+ filmlets of ~10-30 minutes each? That's a friggin miniseries. Perhaps if the Wachowski brothers wanted to attack it...)

But by the same token, I'm curious how anyone can build up the character appeal and the emotional attachment to bring out the _problems_ of the Foundation novellas in 90 minutes. And mix in the running shooting and flying that everyone will expect.

What should be more fun is Prelude to Foundation. That's damn near a miniseries by itself. "The Flight"!

So ... do you think Asimov was onto something with his Psychohistory, or do you think he's just a damned masterful storyteller? I have to think that his idea of mob blindness and the thought that reliance on a single common outcome implies that the mob will force itself in that direction was a valid idea; that he was almost spot-on in his vision.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (4, Informative)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122188)

IIRC, Asimov was fundamentally opposed to the notion of "technology revolting against its 'owners' (i.e. humans)", particularly w.r.t. strong AI. He felt it was a cliché.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (4, Insightful)

DangerFace (1315417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122170)

From the wiki:

The film that was ultimately made originally had no connections with Asimov, originating as a screenplay written in 1995 by Jeff Vintar, entitled Hardwired. That script was an Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery that took place entirely at the scene of a crime, with one lone human character, FBI agent Del Spooner, investigating the killing of a reclusive scientist named Dr. Hogenmiller, and interrogating a cast of machine suspects that included Sonny the robot, HECTOR the supercomputer with a perpetual yellow smiley face, the dead Doctor Hogenmiller's hologram, plus several other examples of artificial intelligence... Jeff Vintar... incorporated the Three Laws of Robotics, and replaced the character of Flynn with Susan Calvin, when the studio decided to use the name "I, Robot"

I was genuinely angry after watching that film, mainly because the only copy of I, Robot I could get my hands on now had Will Smith on the cover.

No, wait, it was mainly because the plots of the two works shared not one single point of congruence. And the film mainly focused on badassery and leaping around, which is true to Asimov's style - his trademark was always providing very little substance and just having huge set-piece battles between the protagonist and every other being in the story.

No, wait. What really, really got to me was that the name I, Robot was used on some crappy spec script that had to be reimagined multiple times to make it sufficiently commercial and then had Asimov's ideas vaguely pinned on as a clear afterthought in order to give it some geek cred, instead of a tender reimagining of the lovingly crafted tales of understated strife that his works so deserve.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122864)

Sure, there's a lot more running around and shooting and Will Smith being a badass in the film than there is in the book, but there's some definite common threads, too. I'm beginning to think that people who claim the book and film of I, Robot have nothing in common simply don't have a very strong grasp on what Asimov actually wrote.

I still cringe when I hear a robot being called "boy" in his early stories.

The positonic Stepin Fetchit.

The Foundation Trilogy is an adolescent - intellectual's - fantasy of backstage manipulation and control that plays out on the grandest of scales. "But who guards the guards?"

I was always far distant from Heinlein in many ways. But his "Future History" seemed fully alive and human.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (2, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122906)

That's all well and good except for the fact that the screenplay "Hardwired" was not written as an adaptation of Asimov's work. The title and three laws were just grafted on to pull in more ticket sales.

They are just whiny geeks (1, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122914)

For some reason, with sci-fi in particular, you get people who seem to think that there is the One True Way(tm) that a story must be told. As such if you adapt it to a movie or something like that you have to maintain it precisely, 100% the way it was. If you change anything, you've "ruined" it. Also running along side that you get a sort of counter culture movement that says "If something is popular it can't be good." They can only like things that are out of the mainstream.

That's what was going on here. Proyas realized, as Asimov actually had, that the stories as told in the novel wouldn't translate to the screen. There just wasn't any way to try and modify it. So rather than do that and end up with something useless, he decided to take the spirit of the novel and make a movie about it. The original stories would serve as background material, a scene and subject, not as something to be turn in to a script.

Personally, I liked the result. It was an enjoyable movie that was accessible to non-hardcore sci-fi people. I also liked the take on the three laws, how the company had turned them in to a corporate mantra/marketing slogan which is precisely the sort of thing you see companies do.

It is the same shit as the people who hated on the Hitchhikers movie for being different than the book, while not realizing that the book was different from teh radio series which was the original.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121974)

If it is okay as a standalone film, then it is okay.

Films should be judged on their merits as films, not on their fidelity to other media.

This is why I prefer never to have read a book before seeing a film adaptation.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122372)

If the directory of I, Robot didn't want people complaining that it was nothing like the book, they shouldn't have named it "I, Robot".

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (2, Insightful)

mustafap (452510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122742)

>This is why I prefer never to have read a book before seeing a film adaptation.

Try reading books and ignoring the film. You'll find the pictures are better.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122812)

That's the big problem - if a movie is presenting itself as based on existing subject matter you can't really judge it on its own. A different title and "I Robot" would have been an interesting movie. But with that title you can't help but be struck by the dissimilarities and will wonder if it was just meant to be marketed to people who haven't read the books. The title is what makes the movie into a poseur when it could have just tried to stand up on its own merits. There's also the bait-and-switch aspect.

(same thing with Mission Impossible movies - I can't help but view them as travesties, even though they'd probably be above average action thrillers if only they had different names)

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (2, Funny)

dpilot (134227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121994)

It didn't just have the movie title, it had "Susan Calvin, Action Hero!"

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31122912)

I don't think the movie was an adaption of the book at all. It took the basic idea, and made a Will Smith movie out of it. I liked it!

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121986)

I Robot is a pretty decent film, and is true to a lot of Asimov's themes (particularly, the effect of widespread dependence on robots on human society, as explored in the Elijah Baley novels).

It, however, followed them to the opposite conclusion. Asimov in the later Foundation series had the robots take the First Law to extremes and let it justify micromanaging humanity for its own good. The "I, Robot" movie had them do the same thing. But Asimov portrayed this as a good thing, whereas the movie clearly came out against it.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (5, Funny)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121606)

Let's not be hasty here. Emmerich has done a lot of movies, some of them have to be good.

*takes a quick stroll over to IMDB*

Well, shit. Guess we're boned, eh?

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

captjc (453680) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122070)

I liked Stargate. Independence Day was fun if you take it as a modern Scifi B-Movie like Mars Attacks. Neither of these are great, but they are not bad films.

Then again, I completely agree you.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122948)

Let's not be hasty here. Emmerich has done a lot of movies, some of them have to be good.
*takes a quick stroll over to IMDB*
Well, shit. Guess we're boned, eh?

Um...Stargate? Moon 44?

I thought Independence Day was stupid, yeah, but it was _fun_, as was Day After Tomorrow and his version of Godzilla was fun, too (though obviously it had big problems).

Hey, you forgot the best part! (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121646)

Hacking into an alien military computer system with an Apple laptop! How could you leave THAT out?

Funny, when I read the Foundation series, I never pictured it as a big budget action movie. I never thought it would need 3Dand whiz bang special effects. And, you know, it isn't one story, it's a whole bunch of separate stories. I'm thinking this movie will bear about as much resemblance to the books as I, Robot did to its books. That is to say, I predict they will share a similar title, and not much else.

Re:Hey, you forgot the best part! (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121978)

What I'm wondering is how they'd make them into movies at all. I mean this in the best way, but Foundation is more suited to be released in the form of a history textbook than a movie. If they drew each storyline out into an entire movie, it might work, but as one?

Re:Hey, you forgot the best part! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31122844)

Well, done poorly, a movie version of Foundation will be a real travesty. It'll be difficult to turn into a movie but doable. The gimmick-free use for 3D in Foundation I think would be for some (beginning of) BladeRunner-style cruising along Terminus.

Re:Hey, you forgot the best part! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31122958)

Oh, I meant Trantor.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31121676)

Sounds like these executive producers are betting on a winning horse that I'd rather take a bullet to the head than see.

We're going to hold you to that promise.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (3, Funny)

electrostatic (1185487) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121678)

That's the writing we have to look forward to?

Playboy interview of James Cameron:
PLAYBOY: How much do you get into celebrating your movie heroine's hotness?
CAMERON: Right from the beginning I said, "She's got to have tits," even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na'vi, aren't placental mammals.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (3, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121776)

Perhaps you are purposefully disregarding the fact that Roland's target audience is simply.. not you? (You know.. the intelligent type.) Most people really enjoyed ID4. Most people will probably enjoy Foundation in 3D, but only because Roland will dumb it down to their levels.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (4, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122882)

Then why not make an entertaining movie that looks exactly the same but with a different title? Why take an intelligent book and dumb it down instead of just starting dumb and meeting expectations?

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

straponego (521991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122932)

Great; fine. Nothing wrong with that. Just don't market it by stealing the name, and nothing else, from something that only matters to people who read. Because that's sort of-- no, that is absolutely-- lying.

And probably counterproductive! How many people who don't read SF (or anything, really) will say "Hmm, Ow My Balls, or... Asimov? I GOTTA SEE THAT!" And how many of the people who are familiar with SF will appreciate an obvious bastardization? Because bastardizers don't come more obvious than Roland Emmerich.

  (Though prior to this, he has only dumbed down hoary SF cliches, not specific works).

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121960)

Don't forget one of Asimov's characters, early in the Foundation years, with that immortal line, "The galaxy's going to pot!" Maybe this choice of writer is a good thing.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (2, Insightful)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122576)

I agree. Asimov had some awesome story lines and ideas, which is why I love the Foundation series. But a lot of the prose he uses to implement his ideas is just not very good. I had to wince almost every time Arkady had a line of dialogue. I think this is the primary curse of being a fan of science fiction literature: great ideas with poor writing. But I'll keep reading the stuff anyway.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

rleibman (622895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122712)

Please, remember the time the stories were written! Asimov started writing it in 1942, he was 22, and he wrote it for pulp magazines. So, the dialog is a bit campy, but you have to put it in context.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (3, Insightful)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122134)

How would you propose one could possibly experience the awesome exhibition of the unique ability of The Mule without 3D?! Luddite!!

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122164)

How, exactly, do you propose to have the audience experience the awesome and unique power of The Mule without 3D?! Luddite!!

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (3, Interesting)

rleibman (622895) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122174)

I deeply disliked I Robot as. But let it be said that Robyn Asimov, who I assume knew her dad pretty well, commented that the dear Doctor would have liked the movie, because he thought that the only way his cerebral stories could make it to the screen was as complete rewrites (story here) [sfgate.com]

not interested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31122308)

BORING
just like adding some added special effects to war of the worlds crap
no more imagination left
and 3ding it all wont help
sorry this fad can die already go ahead watch teh sales start to drop off

ya know how the music industry got wacked by doing stupid shit no one wants.

Chriss Foss+ Neil Blomkamp (2, Interesting)

theolein (316044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122326)

The Foundation Trilogy was one of the first major SF books I read, back in the late 70's. I had the trilogy with the Chris Foss [chrisfossart.com] covers. Those covers evoked in me a deep feeling of time and distance and that was what put me onto SF as a genre. The very first Star Wars, with the minimalist desert scenes filmed in Tunisia, also had some of that. While I enjoyed ID4 and Stargate as mindless feel good SF action films, almost everything Emmerich does is exactly the same thing, huge disasters with a strange lack of coherence between the characters shallow, happy smiling faces and the tragedy of what is happening around them.

I am devastated that Roland Emmerich will be murdering one of my childhood icons with his facile plots. It makes me truly sad.

I would like to see Neil Blomkamp produce and direct the trilogy. he's one of the few directors who hasn't been corrupted by the Hollywood feel-good virus and will let his hero be a loser. I would really like to be amazed again.

Re:Oh My God, THE Roland Emmerich?! (1)

catd77 (1743104) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122368)

Oh boy, at least they hopefully won't botch the amazing 3D effects...I hope...never mind... I give up. I'm probably not going to see this movie. I didn't like I Robot and I won't like this.

3D format already available (5, Insightful)

tivoKlr (659818) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121590)

If it's that hard to comprehend how to wrangle this story onto a screen, perhaps it's best left as a book?

Re:3D format already available (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121628)

That's why they need 3D. It's the only way you can cram that much boring bad writing up on the screen.

Re:3D format already available (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121682)

Bad writing? Hardly. Asimov is not to everyone's taste. His writing is for thoughtful people interested in character motivations and dialogue, not fans of space opera shoot-'em-up action. Which means his books don't generally make good movies unless you completely rewrite them.

Intelligencia complaints already available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31121878)

"Bad writing? Hardly. Asimov is not to everyone's taste. His writing is for thoughtful people interested in character motivations and dialogue, not fans of space opera shoot-'em-up action"

Well that explains the failings of the original Star Wars amongst geeks.

Re:Intelligencia complaints already available (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121976)

No, the fact that we were all children when we first watched it explains the success of Star Wars.

I liked Dukes of Hazard and Benny Hill back then, if that gives you any idea of the aesthetic sensibilities of the average child-geek.

Re:3D format already available (1, Redundant)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121648)

Don't worry. The story will be left as a book. What gets made into a movie will have no connection with Asimov's work other than the title.

Re:3D format already available (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121656)

He meant to be able to film it from varying camera angles in the real world, I'm sure he already has scenes in mind from the books that would be impossible to shoot in real life.

Great Books (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31121598)

When I was 13 I came down with a pretty bad case of strep throat. I was stuck at home and feeling pretty miserable. My mother did something a bit unusual, she stopped into a local used book store that I frequented quite a bit and picked up a Foundation Trilogy boxed set [amazon.com] from the '60s. (This was the early '80s) I still bought a lot of books based on the cover back then and I don't know that I would have picked these up at the time. But she brought them home (along with a copy of Watership Down [wikipedia.org] I think) and I dove into them. One of the best gifts my mother ever gave me. I fell in love with them, still have them and re-read them every so often.
 
I never could get into the newer books quite as much as those first three. They hold a very special place in my library. Hopefully down the road my kids will enjoy them as much as I did.
 
As for film adaptaptions, like most avid readers I think I will see it but wont expect much. I never expect film or tv to be as 'good' as a book because I like books more. I don't usually get too upset unless someone murders a book I love, which fortunately doesn't happen too often. But it does happen [amazon.com]. Of course the, "It has to be done all CG because I would not know how to shoot this thing in real." quote doesn't inspire confidence. Anyone who says that about Foundation hasn't read it.

Re:Great Books (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122258)

You are aware then that in his later years he tied all his universes together, right? It ends with Robots + Foundation going places that weren't evident at the beginning of either. And if you take it with the one story about the ACs and the people asking "what will happen after the stars are dead" then it's like he's got a meta meta story ... interesting but I don't know if that was intended.

Unfortunately he wasn't able by himself to finalize the series, so after he passed the estate asked three authors (very excellent authors) to finish the series off his notes, and I think they did an admirable job (if losing his style and voice every so often on the way).

Just saying, definitely worth the read.

3D? (1)

Chris Lawrence (1733598) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121608)

Who cares about 3D. Just try to be as faithful to the books as possible, and try to tell a really good story!

Re:3D? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121686)

> Just try to be as faithful to the books as possible...

This is Hollywood we are talking about here.

> ...and try to tell a really good story!

Again, this is _Hollywood_. You know, the people who made the Starship Troopers movie?

Re:3D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31121840)

This is Hollywood we are talking about here.

It's far worse than that. Did you see who they were getting to direct it? The guy behind Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012? This man is effectively the canonical reason the phrase "This is Hollywood we are talking about here" exists! When you think "This is Hollywood we are talking about here", you pretty well owe it to Roland Emmerich that you had to say that in the first place! If he brought in Michael Bay, we'd have "Hollywood: THE MOVIE", no matter what source material they were working from!

Doesn't bode well (5, Insightful)

Homburg (213427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121658)

"It has to be done all CG because I would not know how to shoot this thing in real."

Really? I'm having trouble thinking of anything in Foundation that couldn't have been filmed using the technology available back when the stories were originally written. It's a story about ideas, not an exercise in world-building or aesthetic splendor.

Re:Doesn't bode well (3, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121726)

> It's a story about ideas...

"Ideas"? You want the guy to sprain his brain or something?

Re:Doesn't bode well (2, Funny)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121796)

> It's a story about ideas...

"Ideas"? You want the guy to sprain his brain or something?

How can he sprain that which does not exist?

Re:Doesn't bode well (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121786)

Totally. I don't recall much in the way of action or special effects necessary outside of maybe the Holographic effect of Hari Seldon's performances. I don't see this as a movie -- no persistent characters, not much dialogue or action. The concept of the books is neat, but it's not a sci-fi blockbuster -- it's a piece of future historical fiction. I wouldn't bother with this in a movie.

Robots of Dawn? That could be a movie (which I think is what they based I, Robot on, very loosely, though I couldn't bring myself to watch it). That one is more of a mystery and not so much an action film.

Re:Doesn't bode well (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122232)

the Holographic effect of Hari Seldon's performances

"Help me Obi Wan!" bzzt chk. "Help me Obi Wan!" bzzt chk. "Help me Obi Wan!" bzzt chk.

Re:Doesn't bode well (1)

jagapen (11417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121908)

I'm having trouble thinking of anything in Foundation that couldn't have been filmed using the technology available back when the stories were originally written. It's a story about ideas, not an exercise in world-building or aesthetic splendor.

One word: Trantor!

Just imagine 3D visuals of Hari Seldon's arrival on the imperial planet at its height, and later the ruined planet inhabited by the Hamish. I've been dreaming about the possibilities for a movie vision of Trantor since CGI became widespread.

Pity about the story, though...

Re:Doesn't bode well (1)

palpatine (94) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121968)

That being said, regardless of what technology is used to create the setting for a film adaptation of Foundation, it would have to be considerably ground-breaking and not your average "sci-fi" look. This because Foundation is set tens of thousands of years in the future and life would need to be fundamentally different. Throughout Asimov's Robots-Empire-Foundation timeline stories are hints that the human race has evolved somewhat since then, like when the protagonist of "Pebble in the Sky" ends up in the future and they're surprised to see where he has hair growing and that he has extra teeth.

Emmerich is just about the worst candidate (Michael Bay aside) for making a good film adaptation of Foundation, if one is even possible at all.

Re:Doesn't bode well (1)

zzyzyx (1382375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122596)

Have you seen any of his movies ? Two pages is an elaborate scenario by his standards. Remove the effects and there's nothing left.

Really? (5, Funny)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121716)

When I often consider whom I would choose to make a movie about thinking leaders who manage to diffuse conflicts through subtle social and economic pressures, Roland Emerich never fails to make my short list. Of course I would have thought Michael Bay or Uwe Boll to have been more ideal choices.

oh good lord (5, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121762)

I know how to film it. You take some ACTORS and you have them ACT and you point a camera at them, and then you have a movie. Asimov was a writer, not a zero-attention-span adrenaline junkie. Just about every scene in the first three Foundation books is people talking, and that's all it is, and more to the point, that's precisely why it's amazingly good. You could have the spaceships made out of cardboard cutouts being held by cute Asian girls and it would only marginally impact the flow of Asimov's story. GAH.

Re:oh good lord (1)

cohensh (1358679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121956)

Just about every scene in the first three Foundation books is people talking, and that's all it is, and more to the point, that's precisely why it's amazingly good.

I totally agree that Foundation is good for this reason, as well as some of my favorite movies are good for this reason. I always say my favorite movies are the ones where nothing's happening but everyone's talking. However, I feel like I'm in the minority and a true interpretation of Foundation would be boring to the masses. After all, movies are made for the profit not the story.

Re:oh good lord (1)

SuperMonkeyCube (982998) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122752)

OK, so we don't think that Emmerich can do a dialogue-driven film. The internet puts up a big stink, and nothing happens. Emmerich is just one of the many ways to profitable film making. Of course, he's in the same camp as Cameron. Spend Big, win Big.

There are plenty of directors who are good at doing dialogue-driven films - Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Sam Mendes, Kerry Conran's one movie, and M. Night Shyamalan come to mind. All have worked with both small and big budgets. I'm sure most of the /. crowd could rattle off a few favorites that I didn't mention. As a matter of fact, with the dialogue being so important, perhaps the CG thing isn't too crazy. Let the actors rehearse the crap out of the lines and get it good and shoot it on green screen in a warehouse. No location shooting, no set building, just worry about blocking, acting, costumes and props. If you can keep the budget reasonable, and it doesn't suck, then it could make a profit. The down side is that other than M. Night, none of the directors in this bracket have ever cracked the top twenty in profits. We'll call this the "Craftsmanship on a Budget, win moderate" group. It's not they're losing money, it's just that it's not making enough money for the WSJ to take notice.

Of course, there's always the Roger Corman way. Granted, he wouldn't direct it these days, but he's still a proven producer.

What - you were hoping for Sam Raimi?

Re:oh good lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31121996)

You got me on board with cute Asian girls.

"I'm not Asian, but sometimes I wish I was, becuase then my interest in Asian women wouldn't seem so creepy" - Jim Gaffigan

Classic case of Doesn't Get It (2, Insightful)

Jay Maynard (54798) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121790)

The Foundation trilogy is about the least SFnal SF from the standpoint of imagery. There's precious little spaceships, or future tech. It's all in the minds of the characters, and in the dialogue. This movie could have been made in 1975 and not suffered visually at all.

Re:Classic case of Doesn't Get It (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122884)

This movie could have been made in 1975 and not suffered visually at all

Oh, hell, it could have been made in 1955 and not suffered visually. All you would need are some carefully painted backdrops of Trantor and some futuristic looking furniture.

No-o-o-o-o! (1)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121814)

Please don't ruin my beloved Foundation Series! Why would everything need to be CG? A great adaptation of these stories should focus on the dialog and characters. There should be little to no flashy action!

Fuck you, Roland Emmerich. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31121820)

There's just nothing else to say.

3D Math (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121828)

Thats the only thing that i think that will have some meaning to show in 3D, dense math formulas morphing into events, if i remember well most of what happens in the movies is more chat in closed rooms than anything resembling action. Unless they take the Matrix approach for math.

Veto power (1)

John Whitley (6067) | more than 4 years ago | (#31121920)

This is a case where I really want to "vote against" a movie project before it hits the theaters. I'd love a well-crafted realization of the Foundation books on screen, but not a movie by a Hollywood hack producing something without any vision broader than trading CG whizbang for cash. The opportunity cost of having to wait until this mess is forgotten and the rights end up in competent hands is just too damn high: it's probably a matter of waiting until the practically-endless copyright expires. Fsckers.

There's no reason that a Foundation movie (to stay in-genre) shouldn't be at least as thought provoking as, say, Blade Runner.

Re:Veto power (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122218)

There's no reason that a Foundation movie (to stay in-genre) shouldn't be at least as thought provoking as, say, Blade Runner.

That is so true. And just like Blade Runner what would matter was the story and characters. The FX in Blade Runner was just to show a dis-Utopian future in the background, not to blow the audience out of there seats.

IMNSHO, The Foundation could be a movie of Blade Runner caliber, the kind that people still talk about 20 years after release.

Unfortunatly what we are more likely to get is another Starship Trouper type where the story and its message was thrown out to make room for CGI bugs, space ships getting blown in half and bodies hitting the window of the shuttle, ALL IN GLORIOUS 3D!!.

If its the latter I think I'll save my money for something else.

no no no Noh.... (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122026)

you gotta be sh***ng me. 3D will not add anything... unless he starts doing some pretty spectacular 3D visualizations regarding the Positronic brain and psycho history... which like 0.01% of the population will understand and will cause the same 0.01% say that its not correct enough.

Help us Hari Seldon, You're Our Only Hope! (5, Insightful)

McNally (105243) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122040)

If there really is a secret force out there influencing events to preserve civilization I'm counting on them to prevent this.

Re:Help us Hari Seldon, You're Our Only Hope! (1)

Cosgrach (1737088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122926)

The trouble is that there is a secret force out there - but not to preserve civilization - only their own profits and selfish goals. So, no. They will not step in and prevent this from happening.

Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31122052)

Things like this don't normally piss me off, but this seriously has. Foundation is quite famous for not being translatable for film, and I doubt even a competent director and head screenwriter will pull it off well, but to get a hack cunt like this? No.

We're not going to like this (1)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122084)

The foundation books, while great Sci-fi, don't have a lot of action.

I'm beting that Emmerich will "sex up" asimov's grand story with some ridiculous chase scenes and lots of action.

Please! Nooooo! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31122128)

It's going to be like a train wreck...something that one can't bear to watch, and yet one can't tear one's eyes away from.

For example, qoting from http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=59905#:

"On the other end, the "Foundation" is a similar problem in that you have all these short stories and then they were combined into a book and so in a way there is not one character and I spoke with the Rob and he said we have to consolidate the characters..."

So here you have this epic story that deliberately spans the generations to show how Seldon's grand plan is being played out (ignoring all the 'other' fuondations books that sort of watered things down) and Emmerich is going to "consoldiate the characters." WTF? Lazarus Long will be taking the starring role perhaps ;-)

Thisgs to look forward to, perhaps:

Maybe we'll see Salvor Hardin kicking Prince Regent Wienis' teeth out in a thrilling fight scene (can't see Emmerich taking the maxim "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" on board!).

Maybe we'll see Bel Riose blowing everything up as he closes in on Trantor. Lots of opportunity for a car chase (sorry...space battle...) scene here...

We can watch the Mule torture Captain Han Pritcher (in close up) into submission. Imagine the fun of seeing blood trickle down from Pritcher's nose and then realise (with a shock) that a burst blood vessel in his nose actually signifies how his will has been broken.

Maybe we'll see a bit of girl-on-girl action between Arkady Darrel and Lady Callia? In 3D!

No. No and thrice NO, I say!

Let's start up a "NO Foundation Film" petition!

Re:Please! Nooooo! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31122560)

Forgot to say:

It is possible to treat the Foundation series with respect. The BBC did it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Foundation_Trilogy_(BBC_Radio)

Truly excellent. Get it if you can find it.

What's even worse... (4, Insightful)

AJWM (19027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122144)

Just wait until the moviegoing public decides that Trantor was just a rip-off of Star Wars' Coruscant. Or more likely, that the whole Empire is a rip-off of Star Wars.

Just something else Lucas will have to answer for.

Re:What's even worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31122212)

Actually, due to the publication dates of Foundation versus the release of Star Wars, Lucas ripped ALL of the technological and political aspects from the Foundation Universe

Re:What's even worse... (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122454)

That's kind of his point: most people have never heard of Asimov, let alone read any of his stories. The only real sci-fi they have seen is in the vein of Star Wars. As this movie would come out later than Star Wars, they would then think they ripped it off of Lucas.

Asimov himself said nothing happens in Foundation (3, Interesting)

Logic Bomb (122875) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122154)

These are absolutely some of my very favorite books. But as I recall, Asimov's own foreword to the original trilogy makes the idea of a movie series seem pretty stupid. He started Foundation as a series of short stories. Years later, when a publisher was trying to persuade him to make a longer Foundation work, Asimov had to go back and re-read the material. He reports that, as he sat there reading, he kept waiting for something to happen in the story. He was right (of course): Foundation is mostly people have discussions. What kind of movie can you make out of that?

Re:Asimov himself said nothing happens in Foundati (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31122338)

"Foundation is mostly people have discussions. What kind of movie can you make out of that?"

Try watching The Man From Earth.
It's a group of people sitting in a cabin talking.
It's still an interesting movie though.

Re:Asimov himself said nothing happens in Foundati (1)

meheler (193628) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122506)

Or the original 1972 Solaris. :)

I don't expect for a second that Emmerich will make a movie like that though. I'm just hoping I can ignore this movie entirely. I imagine it would be like watching someone turn my dead grandfather into a marionette.

Hey, I enjoyed 2012 for what it was. But that Emmerich is going to be adapting a real sci fi? It makes me sad.

i know thee words will fly out fo there mouths in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31122460)

3d
how special
end of movie

Re:Asimov himself said nothing happens in Foundati (4, Insightful)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122480)

You can get some great movies with dialog alone. I had to watch one old movie for a class in high school, and I forget its title, but it was basically a jury talking about whether a man is innocent or not. It was black and white, with no effects that people of my generation have come to expect in movies. It had no action of any sort, just talking and the tension that comes from their arguments. It was, however, an awesome film. Better than most movies nowadays.

I am looking forward to this... (1)

oscarwumpus (1637213) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122360)

...I am looking forward to hating it. I hear you cry: "but you know nothing about it" And yet, still I avoid eating poo, without ever having tried it. Yes, I could be wrong, but I've seen 3-D ships going boom and i don't need two hours of digital space junk being thrown at me to prove the coolness of the 'new 3-D'.

Emmerich? NOOOOOO! (1)

Oyjord (810904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122374)

Emmerich is one of the worst directors in contemporary cinema. Please, the PTB need to keep him as far away from Foundation as humanly possible.

I've been waiting... (1)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122400)

I was wondering how long it would take someone to come along and desecrate Foundation. Foundation was my introduction to real Sci-Fi literature. It's always held a special place in my heart. The obvious problem with Foundation as a movie is, it'd be epically boring if it's even remotely true to the book. It's just not something you can properly do as a movie.

But, if I'm able to completely separate the movie, in my mind, from the book, then I might actually enjoy it. As corny and ridiculous as Independence Day was, I kind of enjoyed it.

I can see it now... (1)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 4 years ago | (#31122450)

brilliant but handsome Hari Seldon (played by Russel Crowe) is accused of treason and is on the run from the Galactic Empire after prophesying the fall of the Empire. We will see Trantor in all its CG glory as a copy of Coruscant which was a copy of Trantor in the first place. We will also see the decadence and corruption prevalent in the Empire through a series of melodramatic montages of oppression and bacchanal scenes. There will be thrilling CG chases and fights through out the labyrinthine corridors on Trantor. Hari Seldon will raise a rag-tag band of plucky followers but eventually, he is captured after a tense Mexican stand-off and is put on trial. There will then be nail-biting court sequences where Hari Seldon forcefully defends his prediction but all seems lost when the Establishment had already made their mind. He is sentenced to death but on his execution day, his followers sprung him from jail and they departed in exile to a far away uninhabited planet called Terminus. There will be Moses-like scenes where the colony ship they are in are chased by miles-long Imperial battlecruisers but superior technology secretly developed by Hari Seldon will save the day. They managed to destroy the pursuing battlecruisers in a BSG-esque space battle and limped on to Terminus. On landing, there will be a poignant close-up shot of Hari Seldon's face looking at the stars, followed by him vowing to set up a Foundation to save humanity. Then a dramatic seamless CG zoom out to see the planet, then the solar system, then the star clusters and then finally the whole galaxy. The end.
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