Day: March 6, 2017

UFO – The Making of Jurassic Park – Space 1999 – tape 2091

This tape opens with the end of another Edgar Lustgarten short, Evidence in Concrete featuring Kenneth Kendall as ‘BBC Announcer’ which must have been a stretch.

Next, UFO and Reflections in the Water. A ship is attacked by an underwater UFO. The titles for this episode appear to play over clips of the forthcoming episode, much like the Space 1999 titles do. None of the other UFO episodes have done this.

Straker is being shown a film about an old fishing village. He’s not enjoying it. Meanwhile Shado are learning about the UFO attack at sea.

Bored Straker

He gets a bit sniffy with Col Lake, played by Wanda Ventham. Did I mention she’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s mother?

Wanda Ventham

Skydiver investigates, and finds a strange dome underwater. When Straker and Foster dive to take a look, they can’t find a way in, but they do see one of Shado’s people, Lt Anderson, played by a mind-bogglingly young looking James Cosmo.

James Cosmo

They assume he’s a traitor, despite his psychiatric evaluation giving no signs. And are surprised when they return to Shado control to find him still there. They question him, and when he claims complete ignorance of any dome, they give him a truth drug, but he still claims ignorance.

So Foster and Straker return to the dome and find a way in. I wonder why an alien-built underwater dome is lit like a 70s disco?

Under the Dome

In the dome they again see Lt Anderson, despite him being in custody at Shado.

Some solution is revealed when Straker is attacked by Foster – but not the same Foster that accompanied him on the dive. Then they discover a complete replica of Shado control, populated by duplicates of the Shado control team.

After a bit of tension – will Straker escape the dome in time – Skydiver destroys the dome, and all that’s left is to fend off a massive attack by loads of UFOs. Holy cow, that’s Steven Berkoff as an Interceptor pilot.

Steven Berkoff

After this, recording continues for a time with the start of an episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Then, it switches to Sky One for The Making of Jurassic Park. With contributions from Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton

Live Action Dinosaur supervisor Stan Winston

Stan Winston

I love Phil Tippett’s stop motion animatics for the movie. Spielberg calls these ‘3 Dimensional Storyboards’

T Rex Animatic

Here’s Tippett himself

Phil Tippett

They also show some of Tippett’s Go-Motion tests

Go Motion test

Dennis Muren talks about experimenting with CGI dinosaurs to see if it was possible to do the effects on the computer rather than with Go-Motion. “We didn’t know if we could do it.”

Dennis Muren

Here’s the first test shot of a fully rendered T Rex.

Full T Rex

Here’s Spielberg being the sound of Velociraptors while filming. That’s Director of Photography Dean Cundey behind him.

Spielberg Acts

Longtime Spielberg editor Michael Kahn talk about editing the movie without having half of the dinosaur shots yet.

Michael Kahn

The ILM animation team often did their own reference films. Here they are pretending to be gallimimuses.

ILM animators

Craig Hayes shows the Dinosaur Input Device, which allowed traditional animators to animate the CGI models.

Craig Hayes

I wonder if Steve Williams still uses his nickname professionally?

Steve Williams

I once went to a lecture given by Steve Williams and his ILM colleague Ellen Poon. It was a few months before Jurassic Park came out, and we were all hoping he’d bring some footage from the movie, because at that time nobody had seen any CGI from the movie at all. But we were disappointed, as it was still top secret.

This was a remarkably good making-of. It concentrated almost exclusively on the production and effects – most of these things (see Batman Forever recently) spend so much time fawning over the actors there’s no time to talk about physical production.

After this, recording switches back to Bravo and there’s an episode of Space 1999. It’s Brian the Brain, and one that most viewers remember, I suspect. It’s written by Jack Ronder, one of the writers on Survivors, and directed by Kevin Connor, better known for genre movies like At The Earth’s Core and The Land that Time Forgot.

Alpha is at Red Alert because it’s being pulled off course by an invisible gravitational force. A spaceship is approaching, so Eagles have to intercept. Look at all those Eagles, I’m feeling quite giddy with excitement.

Lots of Eagles

The spaceship is a lost Earth ship, a Swift. Another lovely design.

Swift Spaceship

There’s nobody on the ship. No humans, anyway. The pilot is a robot. With Bernard Cribbins’ voice. He seems so friendly, so it’s a shock when he takes off with Koenig and Russell on board his ship.

Brian the Brain

This story is really delivering on the ‘Loads of Eagles’ front.

More Eagles

Brian is a bit of a bastard, it turns out, playing prisoner’s dilemma style games to see if Koenig and Russell love each other, so he can keep Russell prisoner and Koenig will do what he says.

Brian talks about ‘his father’ – the captain of the mission, who built him and taught him to talk. And it’s actually Bernard Cribbins.

Bernard Cribbins

I wish the photography of the black and white monitors was better on this show. They’re always really shocking. I guess that, at this point, they still weren’t used very often – most screens would have been done by chromakey in those days.

Cribbins really nails his performance here. Brian is funny and likeable at the start, scheming and dangerous when he’s got prisoners, and when the Alphans finally get the upper hand, he’s weak and pathetic, and all of these facets are completely credible. You totally accept the character, in all these phases, and believe that it’s the same character at all times.

It’s nice, after giving such a brilliant performance, that Cribbins gets to appear in person, both as the corpse of the captain, and as Maya’s impersonation, which gives the Alphans their final edge over Brian.

Real Bernard Cribbins

What an excellent episode. I’ve probably not seen it since the 1970s, but no wonder it made such an impression. It just shows you that if you want quality in a TV show, put Bernard Cribbins in it.

After this, recording continues, and we have about an hour of the Jack Lemmon, Shirley Maclaine comedy Irma La Douce, before the tape finally runs out.


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