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Reply to:

SCARLET REVAMP GOOD IDEA OR BAD?

On the Star Trader Forum

Dear Anderfans,

A new series of Captain Scarlet, good or bad? Well, good of course! What else could it be?!

Well... A shocking mess is what it could be, if handled incorrectly. I'm inclined to trust Gerry's experience and deft touch to get the program right, but I'm reminded of certain instances in which the best assumptions proved to be completely wrong.

For instance, around ten years ago, Gerry commented that in any likely reworking of Thunderbirds, Lady Penelope and Parker would have to be dropped, as they were an outmoded idea that he was confident would not go down well with a modern audience... Then the re-release of 1992 onward returned the fascinating statistic that they were the most popular characters! (I don't remember where I read that but it's stuck in my mind...)

The Complete Captain Scarlet book features some material from the CGI test video, and it looks pretty good but the question raised in a topic below is valid, would the magic be there? My impression is possibly not. My suggestion use CGI as a supplement to conventional, albeit refined, Supermarionation techniques. YES, the *puppets* can now smile, walk, run and jump, the machines can do manoeuvres they could never do before, but the combination of technologies would allow retention of the original brand of magic as well.

The book provides a valuable glimpse of something that didn't really strike me until I worked through the volume: the sheer magnitude of the artistry of the sculptors and builders. They made a believable world in miniature that is almost more realistic than one can credit, even 35 years later. This is too much to toss aside in the interests of a pure CGI reworking.

And what about design? Gerry once said "Thunderbirds is really just a name and a concept." He was quite incorrect, I believe, Thunderbirds is an institution and part of modern culture, and if the makers of the new movie mess with it at more than a detail level it will be, I am sure, a disaster. Captain Scarlet has not entered the culture to quite the same extent, but it's still a fantastic product and a suite of designs, characters and personalities that transcend the "name and concept" level approach.

I would of course opt for a close-to-the-original remake, enhanced with modern computers and com systems, a modern detail take on hardware and science, up to date tech-speak but it really doesn't need much more than that. Stephen Begg's reworked SPV used in the test clip is an interesting design, but and this is a case in point it does not serve the specification of the vehicle any better, in fact it serves it less well, than Derek Meddings' original design, and that's a backward step in credibility. In essence it is merely a variation on a theme, produced for its own sake and that is not a good basis on which to proceed, with anything.

I would hope the new series would be the original in a mildly revamped form that allows the introduction of CGI magic, but not at the cost of the magic that was uniquely the Anderson creation and province.

Many thanks for your thoughts,

Thunderbird 9

22 Sep 2002

 

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