Category Archives: STUFF

STUFF: THE BEGINNING of the NeverEnding Story [UPDATED]

avatar-scottwoodard32 years ago today, American audiences were first introduced to the screen versions of Atreyu, Bastian, and Falkor the Luck Dragon, a few of the main characters from THE NEVERENDING STORY, directed by Wolfgang Petersen.

Based on the 1979 novel by German author Michael Andreas Helmuth Ende, this epic, big budget (at the time, the most expensive movie in German history) 1984 fantasy film took audiences to the incredible world of Fantasia, where the mysterious Nothing was threatening to consume the limitless realm of imagination itself!

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For many viewers (especially kids), the dramatic loss of Atreyu’s horse Artax in the Swamps of Sadness (spoiler alert!) left deep scars, but despite persistent rumors, no horses (or actors) perished during the filming of that sequence.

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THE NEVERENDING STORY starred a young Noah Hathaway (Boxey from the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) and Barret Oliver (D.A.R.Y.L.) as well as a number of other talented performers buried inside suits and under layers of elaborate makeup.

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To learn a lot more about this film, check out CINEMA AND SORCERY: THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO FANTASY FILM – written by G2V’s very own Scott Woodard (that’s me!) and Arnold T. Blumberg – in either print or e-book!

…And at this point, we’re just assuming the theme song performed by Limahl (lead singer of ’80s band Kajagoogoo) has now found its way back into your brain. “Turn around, look at what you seeeeeeee…”

UPDATE: You can see the film in a special Fathom Events screening on September 4 and 7, 2016, accompanied by an introduction from critic Ben Lyons and a “Reimagine the NeverEnding Story” featurette!

HELP US BY ORDERING THE MOVIE VIA THIS LINK!

STUFF: KRULL – A WORLD LIGHT YEARS BEYOND YOUR IMAGINATION

avatar-scottwoodardOn this day back in 1983, science fiction and fantasy fans excitedly rushed to movie theaters to feast their eyes on a new cinematic marvel titled KRULL! The trailer (see below) suggested a world of myth and magic featuring a ragtag band of heroes in the mold of a typical DUNGEONS & DRAGONS adventuring party doing battle with fearsome enemies in exotic locations.

With an impressive (especially for the time) budget of $27 million, KRULL was a well-financed epic that so desperately wanted to be the next STAR WARS, but alas, that was not to be. Despite the budget, rather impressive special effects, superb cinematography at the hands of veteran Director of Photography Peter Suschitzky (STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK), and a talented and attractive cast, the film was considered a box office failure and the hope for sequels and extensive lines of merchandise was squashed. For example, while a line of 3-1/4″ action figures was commissioned (with prototypes by G.I. JOE sculptor Bill Merklein), the line was cancelled. We did, however, get a boardgame and card game (both from Parker Bros.), a decent cartridge for the Atari 2600, and even a stand-up arcade videogame!

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As for DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, rumor has it that early on the film was intended to be the official tie-in movie for the game. In 2007 however, the late Gary Gygax (co-creator of D&D) said in an interview: “To the best of my knowledge and belief, the producers of KRULL never approached TSR for a license to enable their film to use the D&D game IP.”

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While KRULL certainly has its flaws, there are plenty of other charming and even outright impressive elements that make it worth viewing. The sequences with the fire mares – gorgeous Clydesdale horses – are stunning; Lysette Anthony is adorable as Lyssa, although you might be surprised (as was Anthony) to learn that all her lines were dubbed by American actress Lindsay Crouse; and the sweeping score by James Horner is not to be missed and might well find its place in your game table soundtrack! And keep your eyes peeled for appearances by two young, fresh-faced actors named Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane!

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To learn a lot more about this film, check out CINEMA AND SORCERY: THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO FANTASY FILM – written by G2V’s very own Scott Woodard (that’s me!) and Arnold T. Blumberg – in either print or e-book!

HELP US BY ORDERING THE MOVIE VIA THIS LINK!

Five Storied Swords – From Excalibur to Sting

avatar-scottwoodardmeavatarjessIt was years in the making – a quest unlike any other – but now the exhaustive tome that is CINEMA AND SORCERY is available in print and e-book, penned by none other than the G2V Guys, Arnold T. Blumberg and Scott Woodard!

As we celebrate the release of our volume on the vast history of the sword and sorcery genre, we’ll be offering some extra insights here on the site – consider them side adventures in the midst of a bigger campaign – and first up, a little overview of five favorite swords from films that all received full chapters in our book! The journey begins…

MacLEOD SWORD

10499856_2Sure, we know there can be only one, but thanks to movie prop replica makers and lots of devoted fans, there must be several hundred copies of Connor MacLeod’s ivory-handled Masamune katana out there. Keep your head on your shoulders!

STING

lord-of-the-rings-sting-glowing-blueIt glows when Orcs are near, but if only it warned the production team not to revisit middle-Earth and give us the CGI-laden disasters that were the HOBBIT films. Ah well, we’ll always have the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy!

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imageYes, all right, this isn’t a sword really, but we couldn’t leave out this impressively forged implement from one of the greatest fantasy films of its era, featuring none other than the dragon of sword and sorcery cinema, Vermithrax Pejorative!

EXCALIBUR

excaliburA legend beyond film, beyond fantasy and folklore. This then is Excalibur, the blade of King Arthur, drawn from the stone and heralding the rise of a warrior hero! And it’s also good for playing catch with the Lady of the Lake.

THE ATLANTEAN SWORD

dvd1Discovered in an ancient tomb and used to dispatch ravenous wolves, this bastard sword (well, that’s what it’s called!) serves its muscle-bound master well and remains one of the most iconic weapons in fantasy film history.

Did I miss your favorite blade of destiny? Let me know what your favorite (or least favorite) storied sword is in the comments below, and remember that the quest is the quest! Now…onward!

Get CINEMA AND SORCERY now in either print or e-book!

Hear all about the genesis of the book on a special episode of the G2V Podcast!

Learn from Scott how to add some movie magic to your role-playing campaign!

Read Scott and Arnold’s tribute to the late great Ray Harryhausen!

For more information or interviews with Scott and Arnold, write to contact@g2vpodcast.com.

TRIBUTE: RAY HARRYHAUSEN (1920-2013)

avatar-scottwoodardmeavatarjessToday would have been special effects maestro and storyteller extraordinaire Ray Harryhausen’s 96th birthday. For fantasy fans of so many generations including our own, Harryhausen’s groundbreaking, painstaking work in the field of stop motion animation (and let’s not forget, acting, for through every creature he gave an award-winning performance) made him a towering figure in our childhoods. His creations were more than rubber and metal and fur – they breathed, they lived, and they thrilled us in darkened movie theaters, on late-night television broadcasts, and now on DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming video.

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In our new book, CINEMA AND SORCERY: THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO FANTASY FILM (coming out July 1, 2016 from Green Ronin Publishing), we naturally devoted many full chapters to Harryhausen’s unforgettable work, from the Sinbad adventures to JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS and, of course, CLASH OF THE TITANS. In fact, when the multi-year quest began to write this tome, Arnold revisited those favorite films first in order to write the chapters about their creation. And for Scott, there was the added dimension of having met Ray in person one day while working for the late David Allen in the 1990s. Scott was working on an armature at a table and suddenly heard: “Hey Scott, I’d like you to meet Ray.” And there he was, the man himself, examining the work that Scott was doing! It was a brief but memorable experience.

We had no choice but to dedicate the entirety of CINEMA AND SORCERY to Ray when he passed away during the writing of our book. We’d like to share the Dedication page with you here (click below to enlarge the image), and we hope that if you decide to seek out our work, you’ll be able to share in all the joyous memories of fantastic adventures, horrifying monsters, glorious heroes, and amazing creations that we detail with such admiration and respect in its pages. You can also hear us talk about our memories of Ray in one of our earliest episodes of The G2V Podcast.

Happy birthday, Ray.

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