All posts by bobpony

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Alien3: Fixed

I just discovered that Alien3 has been fixed, restored and released in a version much closer to director David Fincher’s original vision.  And it was released almost fifteen years ago!  I’m just that late to the party.  Bad fan.

The Alien movies are great fun.  Super scary.   I’d never say no to a couple of hours of xenomorph hide & seek.  So it was a happy day when I heard a third Alien movie was in production.  When 1992 came around and the movie was only weeks away I vividly recall seeing the novelization of the movie prominently displayed in the mall bookstore.  Yes, malls used to have bookstores.

I picked up a copy.  Put it back down.  Picked it up, read the back cover again.  Put it down.  Did I want to spoil the surprises in the movie?

In the end I just couldn’t resist.  I tore through the book.  No big deal really, it was just your typical movie novelization.  An easy read.  But it was a good read.  It’s all about a prison planet with a trapped alien ‘dragon’ and a crazy murderer that ends up worshiping the Alien!  Prisoners are chased by aliens, Ripley is chased by aliens (and not chased), and the whole thing seemed like a claustrophobic, exciting sequel along the lines of the first Alien movie.

Then I saw the movie.  I saw where the big cut was.  Where the movie went wrong.  They left out the entire plot about the Alien-worshipping nutter.  There was almost nothing about the religious beliefs of the prisoners, the betrayals, the ‘risk’ of dealing with the prison population.  It just became a flat, boring patchwork of chase scenes.  Blah.  So disappointing – why didn’t they follow the book?!

Fast forward to this past weekend.  I’d picked up a board game that recreates the Alien movies.  It’s called Legendary Encounters: Alien, and it’s great fun, I highly recommend it.  While reading some of the online reviews for the game I saw mention of an ‘Assembly Cut’ of Alien3!  Assembly Cut?  What is this?  I Googled and then practically ran to my stack of DVDs.

And there it was.  Tucked away inside the blu-ray version of Alien3 that I’d bought years ago.  A special ‘fixed’ version of Alien3, restoring all of the missing footage.  It had been sitting on my shelf all of these years, waiting for me to pay attention.  Bad fan!

So, as I said, the movie has been fixed.  The full version of the novelization had actually been filmed by David Fincher, but the studio didn’t like it and edited it to pieces before the release.  Without the director’s approval (yes, it’s directed by that David Fincher.  The guy that did Seven, Fight Club, and Gone Girl).

Alien3 was quite rightfully panned when it was released to theaters, and it’s common knowledge that it’s a weak, disappointing addition to the Alien franchise.  But I’m here to tell you that the Assembly Cut is quite good.  Much better, and a full twenty-five minutes longer than the original release.  It’s the version to watch.  So right now you’re either saying ‘Yeah Bob, I knew this years ago’ or, like me, you’re rushing for your stack of DVDs.

Enjoy!

By the way, if you’d like a run down of every single change restored in the Assembly Cut you should visit this wiki page.  It’s amazing how much the studio left on the cutting room floor!

 

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Kolchak on X-Files?

I spotted something last night in the ‘next week’ previews for The X-Files.  There were a couple of glimpses of a middle-aged man in a light colored coat wearing a straw hat with a red band.  I immediately said to my wife “That’s Kolchak!”.  To which she said “Who?”…So I explained about Kolchak: The Night Stalker, an X-Files-esque show from the mid-70’s.   X-Files creator Chris Carter has cited Kolchak as an influence on the show, and it looks like they may be giving the character a tip of the hat in next week’s show.  Here’s a shot from the preview side-by-side with Darren McGavin of Kolchak fame.

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Yep, that’s the same guy that played the Dad in A Christmas Story (Bumpussessss!).

All twenty episodes of Kolchak are available on Netflix right now.  Watch them!  They’re old, but they’re fun!

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Time Lords Use More Starch

I like tech, especially when it can be used for fun. That’s largely why I have a 3D printer, to make toys. Truth be told, it’s really why most anybody has a 3D printer at home, to make toys. Sometimes I’ll just hop onto the big library of 3D files on the Thingiverse website and waste an hour looking for something cool to print.

And sometimes I design something reasonably cool myself. Tonight I was inspired, and the thing I designed turned out pretty great. At least I think so.

Earlier this week I’d run across a design on Thingiverse for a Lego version of Han Solo frozen in carbonite. Neat! But it was lacking a bit of detail, so I grabbed the model, threw it into my design software, and before you knew it I had a nicely detailed Han ready to be hauled away by Lego Fett. Still, I had just cleaned up someone else’s design. I wanted to do my own.

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Suddenly I was interested in legos. I tried to think of other designs I could attempt. I remembered that there was a Doctor Who lego set due out, I’d heard about it on a the Radio Free Skaro podcast. A quick search and there it was on Amazon – it has Daleks, a weeping angel, and the entire Tardis control console. This is definitely on my list for Santa (hint, hint). And then it dawned on me. The Doctor was headed back to Gallifrey in the season finale, he was headed home. But the lego kit didn’t have any Gallifrinians or Gallifrayans or whatever they’re called (I’m a bad fan). But you know what every member of the Gallifrey high council has?  You betcha, a super-high three-winged Gallifrey collar! That’s what I’d build!

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I broke out my handy digital caliper, went down and dug out our daughter’s old legos, and began measuring. I mocked up a little helmet, something simple just to test that I had connector design right.  Why put all the effort into sussing out the entire design only to find the thing didn’t fit? So I took a baby step, and about half an hour later I had a little lego minifig wearing a silver helmet from the printer.  It clicked on and off quite nicely. I like small bits of success.

I then became absorbed. I think I lost a couple of hours, designing and fiddling and designing and tweaking. When I was ready to print I discovered two things. The helmet was too thin, and the supports the software automatically built into the design were too thick. But it fit. My lego minifig looked like a Time Lord.  🙂

Another hour of work and I had it. The helmet was thick enough that it didn’t fall apart, and I replaced the automatic supports by designing my own breakaway struts. I finished the model off by dropping the Seal of Rassilon onto the shoulders. The Time Lords are ready to greet Doctor Who! If you’d like to print one yourself, the file is up on Thingiverse. Enjoy!

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Do you think the show will have a warm, happy reunion between the Doctor and his home world? With an episode title like ‘Hell Bent’ I’d think not. It would be quite the twist for Timothy Dalton to give the Doctor a big hug and invite him in for tea…

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