Galaxy Quest writer working on original animated film for Paramount
|NEWS - MOVIE NEWS|
And soon, back again after 13 years: The New Adventures of one of the Galaxy Quest writers...
In an interview with THR, Paramount Film Group President Adam Goodman talked about various upcoming movies from the studio. On the subject of animated films, he said, "We feel we have the ability to make these kinds of movies as well as any company does. I can't talk about the project, but Robert Gordon [Galaxy Quest] is writing an original story for us."
For fans of the cult 1999 sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest, directed by Dean Parisot, with a story by David Howard and a screenplay by David Howard and Robert Gordon, this is great news.
Though the writers don’t have many film credits to their names (with David Howard only credited for Galaxy Quest, and Robert Gordon credited for a couple of other things, including Men in Black II and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events; though IMDb says they both have a project called Bizarro Superman in development), Galaxy Quest's writing is excellent, and so both of them clearly deserve more work.
(Of course, Robert Gordon is not to be confused with the editor of the same name, who worked on Toy Story.)
Hopefully the film will include at least one instance of the line, “By Grabthar’s Hammer…” After all, it’s what the fans want…
Making animated films, like operating a teleporter, is “more of an art than a science”. The technology is just a tool. (Like some sort of rudimentary lathe…) It’s not about the technology, it’s about the story. As Pixar's Mary Coleman says, "We may have invented cool new software, but when it comes to story we rely on the deep foundations of good storytelling."
If you haven’t seen Galaxy Quest yet, then do so immediately. (Then check out the excellent script analysis of it on Twitter and at the terrific screenwriting website Go Into The Story.) It’s essentially the perfect spoof, not only relying on sending up the genre tropes in hilarious fashion, but also built on a solid, intelligent, inherently funny storyline, which also works in a more dramatic way as a great example of the sci-fi genre (Star Trek-style stories in particular).
It’s smart, self-aware, funny, exciting, quotable, and features pitch-perfect performances from a brilliant cast, including Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Sam Rockwell, Justin Long, and Robin Sachs (Ethan Rayne from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as the villain Sarris. Galaxy Quest may not be that well known, but if you’re a screenwriter, Star Trek fan (or sci-fi fan in general), or just have a sense of humour, you need to see this movie. Probably multiple times.
Here are some of the highlights from the recent live-tweeting rewatch of Galaxy Quest, which served to remind fans (or 'scholars of the historical documents', as one might say) just how much they loved the movie:
“I once had a producer tell me 75% of good Studio Movie writing is set-ups and pay-offs. Everything in this movie is one or the other. #gquest”
“So yeah. Every beat in the third act is a payoff from earlier in the movie. That’s insanely good writing. #gquest”
“This is a pitch perfect Act Three, one continuous flow of action, cross cuts between subplots. What terrific writing! #gquest”
“If you’re writing a comedy, remember – the human, empathetic moments are actually the most important. #gquest”
“If you can write a line of dialogue five times as a joke and then a sixth time as emotional drama, you’ve won the writing game #gquest”
Incidentally, this reminds me of a similar technique used in one of the Harry Potter books (from memory, I think it's in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), likewise to brilliant effect.
“Great film, great script. I wished this movie were better known – although every pro writer I know loves it. #gquest”
“Perfectly structured, paced within an inch of its life, great characters, high concept, plays to the masses, rated PG… #gquest”
“What a great popcorn movie. You CAN write great, entertaining, quality mainstream movies. GQ proves it. #gquest”
“Yes, it’s a perfect case of write what you want to see.”
“gquest- It’s a perfect movie. Jokes never get old. Story structure great. Great characters. Love it.”
“Fantastic ensemble balance. Thorough characterizations and suplot development. Balance of humor and action. Pleasing major conflict. #gquest”
“Mainstream studio movie. A great script is a great script no matter if the intention is entertainment or art. Both are valid. #gquest”
“This script written today would a) instantly get greenlit and b) get the writers tons of work. #gquest”
“Everybody write one of these. Now!!!! #gquest”
“If you’re worried about selling out, just remember GALAXY QUEST. If they can do it, so can you. Never give up, never surrender. #gquest”
While Galaxy Quest is indeed a great example of a mainstream movie that doesn’t sell out, there are also, in my opinion, many, many more. In fact, most of the time when people use the term ‘selling out’, it’s simply because they don’t like a filmmaker’s (or other creative person’s) latest project, and so automatically assume it must be due to cynicism, rather than simply differing tastes, or a filmmaker trying something new for them that didn’t quite work out, or the complex collaborative nature of filmmaking sometimes resulting in something that’s not quintessential of all of the participants. But people are opinionated, and it seems that it’s easier for some to proclaim ‘Sell out!’ rather than to accept another explanation.
Of course, in the face of such cynicism, the only proper response, as a writer or as a fan (or both), is to remember to "Never give up... Never surrender!"
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