Monday, May 09, 2005

Monday. ThisandThat. (notstarwars)

On Friday, Steven Spielberg and stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen were among the luminaries of the science fiction world inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame for their contribution to the medium of fact, fiction and fantasy.

The induction ceremony, which also honored author Philip K. Dick and artist Chesley Bonestell, was the first for the year-old Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, a pet project of Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen. Spielberg, whose science fiction films include "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and "Jurassic Park," said he was
humbled to join the group.

"It (science fiction) really is the only genre that lets you use your imagination without limitations," Spielberg said in a pre-taped acceptance speech. EDITOR'S NOTE: THAT MIGHT BE OVER-STATING IT A BIT. BUT SCIFI ROCKS!

Harryhausen, known for animating tiny figures for classic science fiction films such as "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" and "Jason and the Argonauts," was unable to make the trip from London, where he lives.

SPIDER-MAN 2 and KILL BILL: VOL. 2 win big at this year's SATURN AWARDS
The stars come out to celebrate the best in genre entertainment

The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films handed out their 31st Annual Saturn Awards on May 3 and two films dominated the accolades for the evening: SPIDER-MAN 2 and KILL BILL: VOL. 2

SPIDER-MAN 2 walked away with a total of five Saturn Awards which included Best Film (Fantasy), Best Actor: Tobey Maguire, Best Director: Sam Raimi, and Best Writer: Alvin Sargent. It also won Best Special Effects

KILL BILL VOL. 2 also received multiple honors for Best Film (Action/Adventure/Thriller), Best Supporting Actor: David Carradine, and Best Supporting Actress: Daryl Hannah.

The television series, LOST, received two Saturn Awards for Best Network Television Series and Best Supporting Actor: Terry O’Quinn. The mini-series, FARSCAPE: PEACEKEEPER WARS received three Saturns: Best Television Presentation, Best Actor: Ben Browder, and Best Actress: Claudia Black. EDITOR'S NOTE: GO "FARSCAPE"!!!!

Receiving Life Career Awards this year were Fox Filmed Entertainment Co-Chairman Tom Rothman, and producer/writer Stephen J. Cannell. EDITOR'S NOTE: CANNELL? HAS HE BEEN A BIG SCIFI GUY? (THE "A-TEAM"?) Also honored was Kerry Conran with the Filmmakers Showcase Award. “Star Trek” was commemorated with a Special Recognition Award for it’s 18 year run on television.

The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films was founded in 1972 by Dr. Donald A. Reed to honor and recognize the achievements of genre entertainment. Many of the industry’s leaders have attended the annual event. They include: Rod Serling, Fritz Lang, Rouben Mamoulian, Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Bryan Singer, Roger Corman, Gale Anne Hurd, Brian Grazer, Nicholas Cage, Stan Lee, John Carpenter, Kevin Spacey, Sherry Lansing, Ron Meyer, Gore Verbinski, Walter Parkes, Christopher Lee, Lon Chaney Jr., and Boris Karloff. Currently serving as President of the non-profit organization is Robert Holguin.

Best Science Fiction Film: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”
Best Fantasy Film: “Spider-Man 2”
Best Horror Film: “Shaun of the Dead”
Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film: “Kill Bill: Vol. 2”
Best Animated Film: “The Incredibles”

Best Actor: Tobey Maguire (“Spider-Man 2”)
Best Actress: Blanchard Ryan (“Open Water”)
Best Supporting Actor: David Carradine (“Kill Bill: Vol. 2”)
Best Supporting Actress: Daryl Hannah (“Kill Bill: Vol. 2”)
Best Performance by a Younger Actor: Emmy Rossum (“Phantom of the Opera”) EDITOR'S NOTE: SCIFI? FANTASY? HUH?

Best Writer: Alvin Sargent (“Spider-Man 2”)
Best Costume: Kevin Conran (“Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow”)
Best Make-Up: “Hellboy” (Jake Garber, Matt Rose, Mike Elizalde)
Best Special Effects: “Spider-Man 2” (John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony LaMolinara, John Frazier)

Best Network Television Series: Lost
Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series: Stargate SG-1 EDITOR'S NOTE: SHOWS HOW LITTLE GOOD SCIFI IS ON CABLE RIGHT NOW?
Best Television Presentation: Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars EDITOR'S NOTE: WOOHOO!
Best Actor on Television: Ben Browder (Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars)
Best Actress on Television: Claudia Black (Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars)
Best Supporting Actor on Television: Terry O’Quinn (Lost) EDITOR'S NOTE: MY SEXY BALD GUY!
Best Supporting Actress on Television: Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG-1)

Best DVD Release: “Starship Troopers: Hero of the Federation”
Best DVD Special Edition Release: “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”
Best DVD Classic Film Release: “Dawn of the Dead” (Ultimate Edition)
Best DVD Collection: Star Wars Trilogy
Best DVD Television Release: Smallville (Season 2 & 3)
Best DVD Retro Television Release: Star Trek (The Original Series)

The Life Career Award: Tom Rothman
The Life Career Award: Stephen J. Cannell
The Filmmakers Showcase Award: Kerry Conran
The Special Recognition Award: “Star Trek” television series (1987 – 2005)
The Service Award: Bill Liebowitz

Court blocks FCC's rules for anti-piracy TV technology
WASHINGTON -- A U.S. appeals court Friday threw out new federal rules requiring anti-piracy technology that would have limited how consumers could record and watch their favorite television programs in the future.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned rules by the FCC that would have required certain video devices to have technology to prevent copying digital television programs.

The court said the FCC overstepped the authority given it by Congress. The controversial rules were challenged by consumer groups, including library associations. They complained that the FCC requirement would drive up prices of digital television devices and prevent consumers from recording programs in ways permitted under copyright laws EDITOR'S NOTE: NICE TRY FCC. GO BACK TO YOUR MASTERS AT NEWSCORP AND CLEAR CHANNEL AND TELL THEM THEY HAVE TO RE-WRITE THE LEGISLATION FOR YOU.

Boldly Gone: The Final Star Trek Score
McCarthy recording session exciting, emotional
by Jon Burlingame
Nearly eighteen years ago, on August 31 and September 1, 1987, composer Dennis McCarthy recorded his original score for "Encounter at Farpoint," the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The Friday before last, on April 29, 2005, McCarthy recorded the final score of the Star Trek franchise, "These Are the Voyages..." for Star Trek: Enterprise.

It was his 255th original score for Trek, including music for TNG, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise and the 1994 feature film Star Trek: Generations.

The session at Paramount's legendary Stage M marked the end of an era for Star Trek – and for McCarthy, who more than any other single composer has musically chronicled the exploits of Picard and Riker, Sisko and Kira, Janeway and Chakotay, Archer and T'Pol.

"I hate to see it end," said McCarthy moments before the 2 p.m. downbeat. "It's been fantastic. I just wish it could have gone on forever.

McCarthy conducts the Star Trek orchestra for thelast time.

"In a sense, Star Trek – I consider all the shows to be just one arc, with different faces – defined me musically. I've been listening to all of the stuff I've done, and I can honestly say that this is the show that came the closest to what I've wanted to do."

The Star Trek series were among the few weekly shows left in American television to consistently use an orchestra, and McCarthy's deft handling of the music was a significant but underrated factor in providing pace, excitement and emotional content on all four series.

Nine of Star Trek's 16 Emmy nominations in the music categories have been for McCarthy scores, and he is the only Trek composer to have won twice: for the "Unification" score in TNG's 1991-92 season, and for the main title theme of DS9 in 1992-93. McCarthy's other nominations were for:

"The Child," TNG, 1988-89
"Yesterday's Enterprise," TNG, 1989-90
"Half a Life," TNG, 1990-91
"All Good Things," TNG, 1993-94
"Heroes and Demons," Voyager, 1994-95
"Workforce," Voyager, 2000-01
"The Expanse," Enterprise, 2002-03

McCarthy praised the producers for their "flat-out loyalty" EDITOR'S NOTE: IF NOT THEIR ACTUAL SKILLS? over the years, and spoke warmly of the "total freedom" he was given from the beginning of the series in 1987.

Even when the producers "hated" a specific score, he said, they discussed it but he was never fired -- as happens so often in both TV and features these days.

Asked for favorite moments in the series, he cited "Yesterday's Enterprise" in the third season of TNG, and the alternate-universe shows this year on Enterprise ("it was like Star Trek meets Joan Collins," he said with a laugh).

He described his mood as "very emotional" before heading out to the podium to conduct his final score with an orchestra of 37 musicians.

The location, Stage M, has been the home of Star Trek music as far back as Alexander Courage's original pilot score, recorded in January 1965.

McCarthy was dressed in a short-sleeved green Hawaiian shirt and blue jeans, glasses hung around his neck. As he donned his headphones, he greeted the musicians, many of whom had played on dozens of previous Trek sessions:

"It's great to see everybody for the last and final episode of our 18-year run." He conducted not with a baton but with a green Sharpie pen, a typically casual McCarthy trademark.

Kevin Kiner, who creates the synthesizer elements for each McCarthy score, monitored the performance and the mix in the booth. Also present were supervising producer Peter Lauritson – who on a few occasions asked for minor changes in the music – and producer Dawn Velazquez. Contractor Carl Fortina, who has assembled the orchestras for every Star Trek session since 1987, was on hand as well as scoring-stage manager Stephanie Murray.

The booth was filled with family (including McCarthy's wife Patty), friends and well-wishers. McCarthy had approximately 15 minutes of music to record in a single three-hour session, but the high level of professionalism among the musicians allowed him in many cases to go straight to "record" without even a rehearsal.

He frequently punctuated comments to the musicians with his favorite upbeat exclamation: "Yo!"

The music consisted of equal parts heroism, jeopardy, action and tragedy, befitting the final installment of Star Trek.

The finale was a 47-second piece that McCarthy saved for the final half-hour of the session. "Enterprise number 98, M45, take 42," came the slate announcement from the booth. Majestic and powerful, combining elements of Alexander Courage's original Star Trek fanfare, Jerry Goldsmith's classic Star Trek movie theme and McCarthy's own Enterprise music, it elicited sustained applause in both the booth and among the musicians. The moment was triumphant yet bittersweet: Musically, a perfect way to bid farewell to the multiple Enterprise crews and a memorable piece to conclude the last Trek episode. At the same time one sensed an undeniable melancholy in the knowledge that this was the end of a long odyssey, for both the creators of the many great Trek scores and for the series themselves.

A handful of brief cues remained, and as McCarthy prepared to record them, he told the musicians: "This has just been a joy for 18 years. Thank you, guys, it's just been brilliant."

The final cue recorded, M32, take 53, was completed at 5:15 p.m. Many of the musicians joined composer and crew for wine and champagne after the session; a Star Trek-decorated cake in the booth had already been consumed.

In terms of numbers, McCarthy composed the scores for 88 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, 73 of Deep Space Nine, 64 of Voyager and 29 of Enterprise. (Episodes that initially aired as two-hour shows are counted as one.) He arranged the Courage-Goldsmith main title for TNG; wrote the theme for Deep Space Nine; scored the seventh Trek feature Generations; and created the alternate-universe main-title theme that aired April 22 and 29 on Enterprise.

He was one of just 14 crew members who were with the Trek series from the 1987 launch of TNG.

Now 61, McCarthy said he has no plans to retire but rather hopes to forge ahead with new projects in both longform television and feature films. "These Are the Voyages..." will air as the second hour of a final two-hour Star Trek: Enterprise sendoff, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern time Friday, May 13, on UPN. ("Terra Prime," the first hour, was scored by longtime Trek composer and fellow Emmy winner Jay Chattaway.)

Video of the final Star Trek session will soon be visible at

FLIcK Magazine Premieres with EP3
Press ReleaseThe first issue of FLIcK magazine — a free magazine to be distributed at the movie theater box office nationwide — will launch with Star Wars Episode III. Star Wars fans will be first to enjoy this exclusive coverage! 2.5 million copies will be distributed to Star Wars ticket purchasers! Available at Loews, Cinemark and Carmike theaters nationwide beginning on May 19! EDITOR'S NOTE: SO....NOT WHERE WE GO, BUT MAYBE SOME OF THE OTHER DWEEBS?

New Movie Magazine Premieres in Theatres This Spring
Moviegoers lining up for the biggest motion pictures of the year will soon take with them much more than the experience of the movie itself. Beginning this spring, FLIcK magazine will be distributed free in theatres, presenting fans with an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the film they are about to see.

Designed as a movie souvenir for passionate movie fans, each issue of FLIcK will be a 32-page, digest-sized publication that focuses on one specific movie.

In its first year of publication, FLIcK will be distributed through three of the nation’s top five film exhibitors: Loews Cineplex Entertainment, Cinemark Theatres, and Carmike Cinemas. Combined, these chains are represented in 44 states and the District of Columbia, operating 796 sites and 7,647 screens.

We believe FLIcK offers a rare innovation for the movie exhibition industry—a magazine that actually enhances the experience of going to the movies,” said FLIcK Senior Vice President Monica Jones. EDITOR'S NOTE: OF COURSE, THEY PAY YOU TO SAY THAT. There has never been a movie magazine distributed in theatres that is so focused; both the distribution and content of this magazine are being targeted to the readers most motivated to receive it.”

The first film to receive the FLIcK treatment will be Star Wars Episode III, followed by nine additional tentpole movies in 2005, tentatively including Batman Begins; War of the Worlds; Charlie & The Chocolate Factory; The Pink Panther; Chicken Little; Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire; Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe; King Kong; and The Producers.

The number of movies featured by FLIcK magazine is expected to increase in 2006 and beyond.With a start-up circulation of 2.5 million, moviegoers will be handed a copy of FLIcK with the purchase of their movie tickets or as they enter the theater.

The collectible magazine will feature movie-specific content ranging from interviews with the cast and crew, photography from the set, and fan-focused trivia. While star interviews will always be a highlight of the magazine, two celebrity columnists/comedians are slated to appear in every issue. Paul Gilmartin of TBS’ “Dinner & A Movie” and Christian Finnegan, who regularly appears on VH1 and Comedy Central, will each contribute a signature column for fans.

First and foremost, FLIcK is being developed with fans in mind,” Jones said. “Hollywood is beginning to recognize the tremendous power fans wield over making or breaking a movie. This trend really plays to our strength and experience in creating fan publications and on-line communities.” EDITOR'S NOTE: SPEAKING FOR FANS....UMMM....YEAH...THANKS? (ALTHOUGH, IT IS SORT OF A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT, WHAT WITH THE INTERNET AND ALL).

Tokyo Dis operator sees drop in profit, vistors
TOKYO -- Japan's Oriental Land Co. Ltd., operator of the Tokyo Disney resorts, on Monday reported a 7% fall in annual profit due to a decline in visitor numbers but forecast a better year ahead.

The Tokyo Disney resorts -- Disneyland and the adjacent DisneySea -- drew 25 million visitors in the year ended March 31, down 1.8% from the year before when events marking Tokyo Disneyland's 20th anniversary drew record numbers of customers.

Bad weather that hit Japan late last year also lashed the company, overshadowing its April 2004 launch of Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, a ride-and-shoot attraction.

Oriental Land's group net profit totaled ¥17.2 billion ($163.6 million) for the year ended March 31, beating the company's reduced estimate of ¥16.1 billion yen announced in February. The profit was also higher than the consensus projection of ¥16.5 billion. The company said it aimed to lure 25.5 million visitors this business year. EDITOR'S NOTE: JOEL, THEY NEED OUR HELP. WE SHOULD GO AND HELP THEM GET THEIR NUMBERS UP!

For Disneyland's 50th anniversary, bring the sounds of the park into your living room with a lavish new box set.

With Disneyland's 50th anniversary here at last, the festivities are entering full swing around the world.

But not all of us can make it to Disneyland or Walt Disney World for the gala kick-off. EDITOR'S NOTE: WHIMPER....

Fortunately, one of the most tuneful commemorations is one you can enjoy right there in your living room or car: a deluxe audio tour through Disneyland past and present.

The box set is now available exclusively at Disneyland, but if you can't make the journey, a national version will become available in September.

That trip comes courtesy of a lavish new limited-edition CD box set from Walt Disney Records, compiled by audio wizard Randy Thornton - "The Musical History of Disneyland."

We chatted with Randy about how he discovered the sounds of Disneyland, including many from attractions that have been gone but fondly remembered for decades.

"I've wanted to do this for a long time," Randy says enthusiastically. He's worked on many of the Theme Park albums in the past, but Disneyland's 50th anniversary finally gave him the perfect excuse to do a collection that would truly be the ultimate Disneyland box set.

"About a year ago, I went through and put all these little sounds together to create the box set. What I tried to do was recreate an entire day at Disneyland, and go back to rebuild some of the older attractions that aren't there any more, so people can experience them again," he explains.

The six-disc set includes more than seven hours of Disneyland audio, and it goes far beyond the theme songs to It's a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean, Randy says. "We knew it was going to be a monster of a project - there's well over 200 songs on this thing."

He tried to recreate the entire experience of visiting an attraction - or even just walking through the park - so that if you close your eyes, it's just like being there.

For example, "The Pirates of the Caribbean song is only one minute long," he says. "I put the pirate overture and some of the scary music in from when you're going through the caverns, and more of the pirates - so it's really more of a listening experience, it's something a little bit more substantial. I wanted to take that and make it feel like you're really going on the ride. You hear the boats going down the hill and the splashes and all of that."

The experience begins exactly the way a trip to Disneyland does: "When I was growing up, it was always a competition to see who spotted the Matterhorn first," says Randy. "I realized that we really couldn't get away with things like that, because that's visual. But the one audio thing that really lets you know when you're in Disneyland is the Main Street train announcement. I wanted to include that in the box set, and also take it one step further: you hear crowd sounds on Main Street. You hear the fire truck drive by in between a couple of songs. The horse-drawn carriage comes by. And when you go into Adventureland, you start hearing the jungle sounds that they pipe in." EDITOR'S NOTE: IT'S NOT JUST ME HAVING A VISCERAL REACTION TO THIS, IS IT? I AM FLASHING BACK AND COMPLETELY THERE. SIGH.....

He knew he had a hit when he played a 12-minute sample of assorted park sounds for Disney executives, and they all began saying, "That's going to be on there!? Oh! Oh! I remember that! Wow!"

The box will include more than the six CDs (arranged into two Hidden Mickey shapes, Randy helpfully notes!); there's also a full-color coffee-table book full of Disneyland photos and concept art, and plenty of other goodies to discover.

"It all just fit; I couldn't imagine it being any better. It's really a substantial package; the box is wrapped in cloth, so it's a little bit sturdier. The book is a hard-cover book. This is the biggest, most elaborate box set we've ever done - we have to think about what it's going to look like sitting on somebody's shelf 10 years from now!" says Randy. "The CDs are held in a hardcover book as well. There are three disks on either side and the way they're arranged actually forms a hidden Mickey. We have also replicated the very first album Walt Disney Records ever did in-house, called 'Walt Disney Takes You to Disneyland,' pressed on gold vinyl. We've recreated it down to the last detail."

From fondly remembered gems like the complete audio accompaniment to Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland to the theme music from the fireworks spectacular Fantasmic!, "The Musical History of Disneyland" is an amazing audio birthday card to the Happiest Place on Earth.


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