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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Guilty pleasures

I bought two DVDs tonight. They were both on sale, but the sale was wrapping up a half-hour after I bought them. With the $10 coupon I received in the mail which was expiring on February 23, my total purchase set me back a little over $4 - which I put on a gift card.

The first DVD was one that I actually referenced in a post a few weeks ago. The Boatniks is reported to be a terrible movie, a heist caper combined with nautical slapstic. But I think of it fondly because I had a comic book adaptation of it years ago. I figured it was worth what little money I was spending to finally have the opportunity to see it.

The second DVD...well...

The setup: A ghost ship, its crew mysteriously absent save for a possibly mad scientist, sits on the very edge of the most mysterious and powerful phenomenon in the Universe: a black hole. Another ship arrives, and its crew tries to unravel the mystery of what happened to bring about this situation - and what happened to the missing crew. A cast that includes Tony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine, and Maximillian Schell. A huge budget, massive special effects, produced by a major motion picture studio, and released in the science-fiction-friendly post-Star Wars environment. What could go wrong?

Apparently, plenty. I have seen The Black Hole, at least on television, and I have read both the Alan Dean Foster novelization and the comics adaptation that appeared in the Sunday funnies at the time of the original release in 1979. The story was, at times, dull, confusing, preposterous, silly, inconsistent, and illogical, and at other times definitely not for kids. (One of the characters comes to a particularly grisly end, while another gruesome revelation concerns the fate of the missing crew.*) But on the whole, the movie is remembered more fondly than The Boatniks. It seems like a story ready for a remake, though I'm not sure what of the original story might survive the process.

In any case, I own them both, and can watch them any time I want. Though if my track record with DVD purchases is any indication, I'll just be tossing these on the pile with the others, to remain, unopened, until some point in the distant future.

*As an aside to this aside, I have always been fascinated by "ghost ship" stories, and do not feel that any filmed version of these tales - including this movie, Event Horizon, and, of course, Ghost Ship, has ever done them justice.

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