it for 1 million less than that. No major special f/x, ape make-up
already paid for, full-scale prop spaceship already built and paid
for(just haul it down to the same Malibu beach where the 1st
movie was shot and smudge it up in black). And how convenient
that the story takes place in Southern California! Some of the
"on-location" shooting involved going two, maybe three miles from
the studio. Oh, well, "Escape..." is my favorite of the Ape movie
sequels, mainly for the comedy relief that the other sequels
To all Trekkies and non-Trekkies who dis the original series' special effects: get over it!!!! Rodenberry had neither the time or money for fancy f/x. Just the fact that he and his staff ground out such a high quality sci-fi show weekly on a $190,000 per-episode budget is a miracle. During the first season, L.A. f/x houses were barely keeping up supplying much-needed opticals(phaser beam footage, ships-in-outer-space-footage, etc.); episodes were shot, then shelved, waiting for their opticals footage to arrive. It almost reached a point where Rodenberry did not have a completed episode ready to ship to NBC in New York for broadcast. The first, and still the best....
because some of the principal actors portrayed their characters
that way. But then, Fred Savage and Co. had to leave openings for
Daniel Stern's "And there you had it..." narration, which at times
made their characters appear to be afraid of what to say next.
Overall, a really good show. It's too bad it didn't run longer, so we
could find out what happens to these characters later on. I do
have some minor nits to pick: the nagging problem of making
everything look truly late-'60's and early-'70's(especially that bright
yellow TV set in the Arnold kitchen, clearly a circa-1977 model).
"Snuffy" Walden's at times overly sentimental acoustic
guitar-as-background-music(remember his Thirtysomething"
work?). And I wish Dan Lauria got more dialogue, poor guy,
instead of just a grunt at the dinner table.
had detailed writing. The computer-animated images were pretty
impressive for TV back in 1995(Lightwave 3D, anyone?).
The series really leaned heavily on all of the military jargon and
hardware, which reminds me of another good point: the sets,
such as the interiors of the ships, were first-rate. None of the actors who played the "Wild Cards" were really
well-known. I only saw fresh-faced Morgan Weisser in one other
program, an episode of Quantum Leap, in which he played an
aspiring rock guitarist in 1966 in a small town(check him out with
long hair!). I wished the writers had developed the "chigs" more. Those
bad guys didn't get a whole lotta background. Maybe said writers
would have if the show had lasted longer. Oh, well. The best TV
sci-fi show will always be the original Star Trek, in my opinion.
loves to drench every other scene with blood and guts. Pow, pow
pow pow!!!! Time for another close-up of a bullet going through
somebody's head. Oh, yeah, that's right, there's this story about a
secret gadget on Mars, but will get to that later. Here's another
over-the-top shot of someone buying the farm, via a neck-stabbing.
Mr. Foley person, give us your loudest, sickest sound effect here,
please. Again, good story, lighten up on the violence a bit and focus on
man, was it funny!!!! How can you NOT like a show where all the
characters are college dude-voiced sock puppets, anyway? One
thing I admired about this show is that it didn't depend so much on
gross-out gags for laughs, ala South Park and Beavis And
Butthead. The sets and the costumes were joyfully and
side-splittingly cheesy. How about the "Calls,calls, calls, calls
from the public" sock puppet with the giant phone dial behind him,
being whacked on the noggin with a phone receiver?!!? Again, not
everyone "got" the humour of this show, but for me anyway, it was
out-and-out truly off-the-wall hilarious. I now give a tip o' the hat to
Precious Roy: "Buy my waffles! You guys are SUCKERS!!!!"
actually speaks volumes about the film's subject matter. It occurs
during the aftermath of the Krakow Ghetto destruction, at night,
when the Nazis are digging out the people hiding in the buildings,
hoping to avoid death. One soldier sits down at an upright piano
and starts playing, surrounded by the sounds of gun fire and
people screaming and crying. Two more soldiers stop in the
doorway and banter lightly about whose music he's playing, Bach
or Mozart. I think Speilberg here is trying to emphasize the fact that, even a
supposedly "civilized" and "educated" group of people like the
Germans could be coerced and driven to cold-blooded murder. In
this case, a young German man who no doubt had classical piano
lessons as a child becomes part of a brutal killing machine. It's
small but chilling scene in a very powerful movie.
Jungle"! Those two sillouhetted faces with the words coming out of their mouths! J. Arthur Crank! "So-And-So
Has Five Seconds To Read The Next Word He Sees. Can You Read It Before He Does?"! Oh no! The Spellbinder
has changed the "s" in "sun" into a "b", turning the sun, into
a bun! Today on the Electric Company, Paul The Gorilla
says(Moog or Arp synth sound)! Tight-budget special f/x!
Tight-budget sets! Morgan Freeman! Yes, Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader, wearing is Levis Jeans Jacket and shades and grooving and looking soooo 1975!!!! Funkeh!!!! The List Goes On!!!!
The truth is, the writing was consistently sharp and witty, and pretty mature. Plus, this program was one of Steven Bochco's creations, as in Steven Bochco, the man behind Hill Street Blues(which won something like, I don't know, 2,000 awards). I'm surprised this last fact alone didn't get Doogie Howser more respect. Oh, well. If you get a chance,definitely check out the reruns.