The Big Picture: A Disturbance In The Force

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People realise Abrams only kicked off Lost and Fringe and pretty much left both of these series after 1-2 seasons right?

I just have to point it out, because I'm seeing huge posts written by people judging Abrams based on these shows while being totally ignorant of this fact.

eh thank god its not lucas and not bay.....

abrahms has at lest shown an ability to make an ok movie when he gets a good script. like super 8.

and it still boggles my mind that rlm likes the trek reboot i cant stand it.

still he could be handed a good script as long as he does not start shooting all the action scenes inside breweries it could lest look ok.

I find that I end up in a lot of geek debates people will say a movie wasn't too bad, the movie was okay, or the movie had the same quality as an old poorly made TV show. We aren't living in an age when good enough is good enough any more. In an age that can give us epic films and studios willing to put huge budgets on films it's a shame to deal with mediocrity.

Rblade:

I will guess you haven't read the starwars books, played the starwars shooter/RTS/MMO. I think the star wars universe is exactly as expanded and diverse as older mythologies. Do some googling and you will find a timeline and score of characters so immense that it could literally contain ANY movie you would want to make. Sure not everything is exactly cannon but it has spawned an immense amount of content and depth. Or is that not what you meant?

I know about the expanded universe and I have played a lot of the games, but those are all just made to fit what's there. There is no capacity to reimagine the world and put your own spin on it. Even the new Star Trek movie played it really safe, despite a ton of visual upgrades and minor character tweaks.

Occams_Razor:
Holy Boston Accent Batman!

Something must be tweaking a nerve in Bob...can't imagine what...

its been like that for weeks, he should stick to one or the other, it annoys me alot that it slips and slides

ferdinand82:

Azuaron:
Bob complains that Abrams doesn't have any vision, but I assert that Abrams' vision is obscured by his constraints. If you watch Abrams' TED talk, you'll find that Abrams loves mysteries, and that's why he got into film making, and is also why the first season of Lost was so great.

Abrams loves mysteries but doesn't get it. Look at X-files. Each time you get a mystery and it gets resolved. That is fun because it makes your mind wander. Lost just had mysteries upon mysteries without any resolution. Like listening to the story of a mad man that just tells stuff that pops in his head. Fringe has the same problem. There are no rules in Fringe anything can happen it is all magic. So I don't care about what happens because there is no story. Anything can happen and it means nothing.

Unresolved mysteries aren't necessarily bad, it's just how they're handled. First season Lost (when Abrams was involved)? Great. Fourth season Lost (when Abrams was not involved)? Terrible.

Look at Cloverfield. We didn't get half an hour of expository dialog about where the creature came from, it's mating habits, what it's motivations were, and the biology of the small runner things that dropped off of it. It was just: here is this monstrous thing. Survive. And it worked better without all that extraneous detail than it would have with it, and the fans get to make up interesting stories about what had happened and what it was.

Katatori-kun:

Rogue 09:
You're also looking at a series that is 30 years old and has been responsible for a fundamental shift in the stories and ways current movies are made.

What shift was that?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_impact_of_Star_Wars

This explains it in more detail than people would probably want me to write here. Take a gander.

I'm not looking for grand lessons, but grand ideas. Perhaps you could name some for me? The only one I can think of is the first one being a fairly close adaptation of the hero's journey- but then so is nearly every other story with a hero.

Well, it all kind of depends on which grand ideas you're looking for. Darth Vader went from an irredeemable monster in the first movie to a horrifying portent to Luke's future should he choose the "easy path", and finally moved to sort of a tragic victim in the third movie.

I would say another unique idea of the movie went from the hero's journey to a redemption tale for both Han Solo and Darth Vader.

There are also your standard good vs. evil, religion and intolerance, weapons of mass destruction, the use of government and control, and the way that neither the good guys or the bad guys were necessarily perfect. There are whole papers that have been written on this stuff, I would suggest you look them up.

Okay, now we're getting to something I don't disagree with. I can totally understand Star Trek fans being annoyed with Abrams's interpretation, because Star Trek is real science fiction. Granted, it has always been a somewhat low-brow, cheesey, techno-babble filled science fiction, but often they use science or scientific thinking to solve problems.

So that explains why some people are annoyed with the Star Trek reboot, but it doesn't explain the anger over Abrams directing the Star Wars movies. Because Star Wars has never been science fiction. Sure, there are robots and space ships and freaking laser beams in it, but those are all superficial window-dressing for a run-of-the-mill fantasy story. Luke doesn't solve his problems by using science or his brain- he solves his problems by being a magical child with a destiny he only earned by having the right family lineage.

Star Trek was less about solving things with science and more about have a philosophical discussion about many of the issues we face in society framed within a science/space framework. Abrams ignored the history of the franchise and remade it into a samey action flick with a boring villain, bad plot, and fundamentally remade the Star Trek Universe.

I'm not saying that Abrams is going to ignore the heavy science side of Star Wars, nor has anyone else that I've seen. I'm afraid we're going to get more of the "Force is a mystical force" to "It's bacteria in your blood" nonsense of the prequels. Fundamentally changing the story and universe to for no reason other than to change it.

I'm not convinced that Star Wars ever had a soul. Or rather, if it did, it's soul wasn't anything more than the soul fans brought to it in their youth. So it's not that Star Wars changed- its that the fans grew up.

Many people didn't see Star Wars until they were adults, and still love the original trilogy. I watch it all the time, and not for nostalgia reasons. It's still a fantastic group of movies that, while not overly complicated, are incredibly enjoyable and not simply for children.

The new trilogy includes a funny speaking cartoon that steps in poop. You see why there is a difference here?

Absolutely- at least things that are meant for children. I'm not convinced that Star Wars was ever meant for anyone else. At the very least, it's meant for the young-at-heart.

The new trilogy saddles the cartoon character with long boring meetings on trade disputes, senatorial processes, and a sixteen year old beginning a love story with an eight year old. Not a kids movie.

I'm not convinced Star Wars ever encouraged constructive thought. The only thing I ever remember it encouraging was making a bunch of lightsaber noises while I jumped off of furniture while trying to hum the theme song.

Right, that's what you take in on the surface. Below that, the brain is working on the concepts of right and wrong, making the bad choices and coming back from them, and making out with your sister. All good stuff.

I know I'm jumping in pretty late here, but I saw MI3, Super 8, and Star Trek. Even though I saw them pretty recently, I had to look them up on the internet because I can't for the life of me remember a single thing about them. They were just pretty and explodey, without a whole lot of content to go along with it. I'll probably catch a lot of flak for this, but I feel that Abrams is just a more decent and grown-up version of Michael Bay. Bay specializes in explody terribleness, and Abrams specializes in explodey decentness. His movies aren't bad by any means; There's just no real heart or soul or vision that I could see, just "HEY! Look at this! Cool right?! Give me your money!" I'd rather chance a horrible clusterfuck/amazingly brilliant movie rather than flat-out average. As MovieBob said, He's safe. That's it. Star Wars deserves better.

Alandoril:

Ultra-Chronic Monstah:
Unfortunately, none of it even matters. Abrams could create the greatest sci-fi films in cinematic history with Episode VII, and people would still complain about it. Star Wars has become too romanticised by the fanboys. While the critics might call it a technical masterpiece, many will whine that it's "just not Star Wars". I love and still care about the franchise. It's a part of my childhood and adulthood, but I'm prepared for the internet to collectively gather their pitchforks when Episode VII is released.

And do you know why those fanboys still say it's not Star Wars regardless of how perfectly OK any other films might be...it's because the first trilogy had a unique spirit all of its own even if it was marred by various production issues.

That's the difference between something great and something that's just good...unique creative energy.

But how would anybody know that Abrams' Star Wars wont have the same level of uniqueness? Maybe he'll capture the same spirit, or perhaps create a new one. It can be done well. Lucas had a limited hand in a lot of the EU, but some of that has been incredible. But there will always be some fanboys that say it sucks purely because it's not the original trilogy, and that's not something that we can simply say "oh, they're just loyal" to. It's thinking like that, that there's no point in making anything because it can't beat the original, that causes a franchise to go stagnant. If that's what too many people thought, then we'd never had KoTOR/TOR, or the Thrawn stories, or the Jedi Academy series. There would be a plethora of amazing characters that would never see the light of day because people were too scared of expanding the mythos. But unfortunately, most of the people that are like that use the internet to vent their problems, with the idea that "I love Star Wars, so it should be catered to my tastes". I don't know if regular internet users are harder to please or if the hard to please fans are just using the internet to vent, but regardless, I'd bet my paycheque that, even if Abrams delivers a masterpiece, the net will be engulfed in fanboy rage.

Or maybe it'll actually just really, really suck.

Sylveria:
Disclaimer: I hate JJ Abrams and I'm going to bitch about it and will unconditionally hate the new Star Trek AND Star Wars movies based purely on this notion regardless of their quality.

You can't really talk about the last new Star Trek movie and discuss quality, at least not about good quality.

That last movie showed me that we most likely won't get proper Star Trek movies or television again.

It definitely didn't feel like Abrams was shooting for quality with that last movie. It felt like a name grab cash in. Star Trek fans would come for the name, and they decided to go with young and inexperienced actors to draw in more of the young crowd.

For the vast most part, the new Star Trek was one big action scene with barely any story development. Heck, I was horrified when I left the theater and shocked to the point that I couldn't tell at first what I had watched.

I will hand it to them that they pulled a big somewhat ass-saving maneuver, by making it a reboot in an alternate reality/dimension. There would have been more of a shit-storm if they had made a canon reality story in the style of that movie.

I haven't watched much of any of Abrams shows, but when I heard he had control of that new Star Trek movie, and that everybody was saying how good he was, I thought maybe it would be good. But now after that mockery he made, I really can't trust him with anything sci-fi or anything that is established for that matter. And now I feel sorry for Star Wars, because with Abrams at the helm, it's going to end up sucking harder than Jar-Jar, if that is even possible.

Urh:
I still think Bob is being too generous in regards to Abram's Star Trek. As a dumb sci-fi/action movie, it's average at best, but as a Star Trek movie it's terrible. Empty is the perfect word to describe it. It felt like a movie masquerading around in a Star Trek skin suit, not unlike the bug in Men in Black.

Totally agree. Of course it felt empty. The new Star Trek movie was just a cash in action flick; the type of movie where the story and the integrity of the subject matter take a back seat to the action scenes and things that the makers think will make their movie hip and cool to the youth.

The sickening thing...the last I heard about the supposed new Star Trek television series, is that they want to make it more like the new movie than the established old series/canon. Gene Roddenberry is rolling in his grave.

All this complaining about Star Wars all the time >_>
I liked the prequels. Hell, I even saw them before I saw the "sequeks". I doubt it will matter who makes the movie, he or she will always do wrong in the eyes of the fans who've been bashing the same movies for a decade now.

darksakul:
I also notice TV, Movies, Video Games and even books has gotten blah or mediocre lately.

Examples? Because, for instance, when we have TV shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, it's hard to argue that TV has gotten mediocre.

Bland corporate mediocrity... You realize that pretty much describes comic books to a T now?

Thedutchjelle:
All this complaining about Star Wars all the time >_>
I liked the prequels. Hell, I even saw them before I saw the "sequeks". I doubt it will matter who makes the movie, he or she will always do wrong in the eyes of the fans who've been bashing the same movies for a decade now.

Right, because they made three of the same crappy movie in a row. Make a good movie, or don't make one at all

Kmadden2004:
Bob... just promise us you're not going to troll this film for the next two years, like you did with Amazing Spider-Man. That kind of behaviour kind of hurts your credibility as a critic.

It is worth remembering that Abrams isn't actually writing Episode VII, he's just on board to direct. Michael Arendt, the guy who wrote Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3, is in charge of the script. Which has got me feeling optimistic about the project (what can I say? i like those movies). Sure, Abrams will have some input, but it's Arendt holding the pen at the end of the day.

Plus, we have absolutely no concrete word on how long Abrams will be involved in either of the franchises; we don't know if he'll be directing Star Trek 3 (or should that be 13 now?), all Paramount have said is that he'll definitely have a producing credit and that's it, like he did with Mission: Impossible 4 (a film which was, through-and-through, Brad Bird's). We don't even know if Abrams has signed on for Episode VIII.

Let's at least wait until Star Trek Into Darkness before we throw this guy under the bus, shall we?

That's the most sensible thing I've read on this whole comment thread. It's just Too Soon To tell.

captcha: Keep More Money
I'll do by not watching many of January's "hits".
Wasn't the purpose of captchas to block adbots? Now the adbots ARE the captchas. This time it was TurboTax.

I want to maintain cautious optimism, but you argue it well, Bob. I tip my hat to you, sir.

Grospoliner:
Bland corporate mediocrity... You realize that pretty much describes comic books to a T now?

most of the bigg 2 yeah, i say most because every now and then you get gems like Journey into Mystery Hawkeye and the soon to be cancelled I, Vampire. a part of me suspects not enough general consumers want to try something new or different.

Mr. Moviebobs feelings are clear. Star Wars is walking the tightrope, it can't go back, and its chances of crossing to the other side are slim and slender. He cries out in fear, helpless and powerless. Anybody with attachment with Star wars should feel the same. Then they should just stop tolerating it; the massive rolling snowball of crap that has flattened all peoples, which they're about to bring to bear on Star Wars.
Should we, the retarded mob of sheep just let them do it?

Katatori-kun:
I have trouble seeing how the original Star Wars had any vision.

It was certainly fun, but the biggest achievements I saw were purely aesthetic: the special effects, the dirty sci-fi look. When you look at the actual content of the original Star Wars movies, there is no grand message or unifying idea- there's just a fun way to spend the time in a dark room while eating popcorn.

There's a bit more than that, the story is at least compelling, the character's are strong and well acted, the dialogue is rather well written and there are some powerful moments in it.

That's what vision means, telling a good story.

Pulp Fiction certainly didn't have a grand message or unifying idea, but it's a story told well and that's really what matters.

I feel as Bob does about this. Maybe I shouldn't, but I feel that Star Trek and Star Wars should strive to be as separate in aim as possible. What I think this will do is homogenize both franchises until it's difficult to tell which is which. Director's styles are unique, they are like fingerprints, they can change, but only over long periods of time and most never do.

I saw New Hope when I was about 12 or 13. After Revenge of the Sith came out. And you know what? I was so damn bored. Every time I watch it, I ask myself "what the fuck do people like about this movie?" It's an incredibly standard "hero's journey," it's a predictable story, it's got bad acting and bad dialogue, bad editing (one shot is used multiple times), and I never felt like the Empire was a threat. When the stormtroopers can't hit jackshit and the little farm boy is dropping dudes left and right, I feel no suspense. It felt empty to me. As did Abrams' Star Trek, so they're a perfect match!

Empire is excellent, though.

Is it me or did his actual accent come through there more than usual? must really be upset with this... :P

daibakuha:

FelixG:

Did it ever occur to you that he could just talk in his natural boston accent for the whole clip instead of bouncing in and out of his standardized accent instead of just being lazy?

You act like bouncing in and out is two different things. I live in New England, it's much more in and out, like it is here.

For bob bouncing in and out is pretty much just lazyness and bad editing.

He has just had this problem a lot more lately, for the longest time he was purely speaking in a standardized accent so we know for a fact that he can choose one or the other to speak in. But now he is just bouncing back and forth, so yeah, lazy.

And for the record, I dont really care where you live, as it means less than nothing to me.

I share these fears.

Ah yes, the part in Top Gun where that one guy I can't remember goes back in time because he accidentally nuked Vietnam... and the last Vietnamese miner swears revenge and blows up New Jersey.

Like it or not, the Star Trek reboot had a lot more subtlety and strength than pretty much anyone gives credit for. I could give a play-by-play of nods to original continuity, the oddly well-played Shatnerness of the lead actor, the way the movie plays with putting the cast of TOS in a TNG (or DS9)-type scenario, the way Kirk gets fleshed out in the alternate timeline where he doesn't have a father to look up to, the shit Spock went through on Vulcan, etc. But Abrams was above all making a TOS Trek movie. An above-average Trek movie at that. 1, 3, and 5 were nowhere near as good as this, and 2 pulled together almost entirely on the charisma of Ricardo Montalban. The rest were okay. It's because as a cinematic piece of entertainment, Star Trek can never be more than okay. It's part of what makes Trek Trek. There's always too much baggage from the series itself, too much focus on garbage technobabble that even infuriates fans. Star Trek is good, it just can't make a good movie. And yet, there were inexplicably 3 good movies! Why? Because the bad movies weren't bad, they just played too much like an episode of the show! And here's where Abrams delivers: he doesn't have or need the show as background, but if you pay attention, the movie is subtly steeped in lore and personality, undiluted Trek with the 60's-ness stripped away.

Also, let's talk about Avengers. And Disney by connection, and Lucas by connection. The Avengers was not given the Whedon treatment, if you will; it didn't become a campy mess that forgot what it was about halfway through. Why? Because Disney and Marvel HAD HIM BY THE BALLS and WOULD NOT LET HIM SCREW UP THEIR FRANCHISE. Disney will do exactly the same here, and Lucas has been included as a consultant, need we forget. He gave away his baby, but he still has visitation rights and isn't going to let its new parents turn it into a monster (prequel rant flame shield up). I repeat: J. J. Abrams isn't the only hand in this! Lucas is still on as a consultant, and Disney has too much stake in this to let anyone screw this up. They hired one of the best to write this thing, Michael Arndt.

You said in the beginning that you hoped you would be proven wrong. I say now it is very likely.

Well, just because you thought the new film was great doesn't mean that Bob's whole argument has been debunked, and that his fears aren't even well founded.

Secondly, the less Lucas involvement the better as we all know the biggest screw up to happen to Star Wars was George Lucas. And my main hope is the fact that Lawrence Kasdan is on the writing team, he wrote Empire Strikes Back and managed to stave off a lot of Lucas' ideas for it and it became the best Star Wars for it, so hopefully he can make Abrams do things we didn't expect of him, and at least make him hold back on the awful, awful lens flare.

I most certainly agree with the sentiment that fanbases just don't really want to see anything new or "interesting." I'm not going to say that the average person is dumb or has bad taste, but I will say, and this is a fact, that the average person going into a movie does not want a unique or engaging experience. Most people don't want to think when they go to the movies, they just want to be entertained in the most basic way for about an hour and a half/two hours. You can also apply this to nerd culture as well; most times, fans don't want to see their beloved properties played with, they'd rather have a baseline experience because that's just easier to stomach.

Case in point, Ang Lee's "Hulk." While not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, can you name me a reason that makes it terrible, other than the fact that is wasn't like the comics? "Hulk" maybe the most downright "different" comic book movie ever made, and it was shit on by the fans.

Sonic Doctor:

That last movie showed me that we most likely won't get proper Star Trek movies or television again.

It definitely didn't feel like Abrams was shooting for quality with that last movie. It felt like a name grab cash in. Star Trek fans would come for the name, and they decided to go with young and inexperienced actors to draw in more of the young crowd.

One also has to consider that Abrams was teamed up with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the writers responsible for the first of the Michael Bay Transformers movies. Even if he wanted to shoot for quality (or even attempt to remain true to Rodenberry's vision), he was hobbled from the get-go by having hack writers who seem to have no fucking clue what Star Trek is about. It pains me to say this, but I'm almost willing to forgive Rick Berman for the damage he did to the Trek franchise if it means we can get it out of the hands of such philistines.

At least Episode VII has a writer who has cranked out at least one damn good script (Toy Story 3). While I'm not sure that's enough to create a new hope for Star Wars, it's all we've got at the moment.

Srhodes:
If you want to talk about movies with Ambition or getting to know a director, then The Avengers isn't really it either, and yet every nerd on the planet praises the hell out of that movie despite that the last half does exactly what a Michael Bay transformers movie does... just a really long battle where tons of stuff blows up and where tons of giant robots and other things destroy and nearly level a city. The only reason that Joss Wheddon escape criticism for that seems to be "Because he's a fellow nerd," where as if it were Michael Bay (and believe me I really hate Michael Bay) he'd be ripped to shreds.

Actually, it's because The Avengers is a movie where you actually give a shit about the characters, and you can tell them apart - not because Joss Whedon is a fellow nerd. Just to clarify things.

Srhodes:
If you want to talk about movies with Ambition or getting to know a director, then The Avengers isn't really it either, and yet every nerd on the planet praises the hell out of that movie despite that the last half does exactly what a Michael Bay transformers movie does... just a really long battle where tons of stuff blows up and where tons of giant robots and other things destroy and nearly level a city. The only reason that Joss Wheddon escape criticism for that seems to be "Because he's a fellow nerd," where as if it were Michael Bay (and believe me I really hate Michael Bay) he'd be ripped to shreds.

Actually, it's because The Avengers is a movie where you actually give a shit about the characters, and you can tell them apart - not because Joss Whedon is a fellow nerd. Just to clarify things.

FelixG:

daibakuha:

FelixG:

Did it ever occur to you that he could just talk in his natural boston accent for the whole clip instead of bouncing in and out of his standardized accent instead of just being lazy?

You act like bouncing in and out is two different things. I live in New England, it's much more in and out, like it is here.

For bob bouncing in and out is pretty much just laziness and bad editing.

He has just had this problem a lot more lately, for the longest time he was purely speaking in a standardized accent so we know for a fact that he can choose one or the other to speak in. But now he is just bouncing back and forth, so yeah, lazy.

And for the record, I don't really care where you live, as it means less than nothing to me.

It's a point of reference and no, I still don't buy it. Most people here speak with a standard american accent and some of the time the regional one breaks out. It has nothing to do with laziness.

The fact of the matter is, you will just find any reason to shit on anything he does. Over some imagined slight that you feel he has against you. Honestly just shut up about it, we know you can hear his accent, no, it doesn't make you smarter or mentally superior for pointing it out.

Markunator:

Srhodes:
If you want to talk about movies with Ambition or getting to know a director, then The Avengers isn't really it either, and yet every nerd on the planet praises the hell out of that movie despite that the last half does exactly what a Michael Bay transformers movie does... just a really long battle where tons of stuff blows up and where tons of giant robots and other things destroy and nearly level a city. The only reason that Joss Wheddon escape criticism for that seems to be "Because he's a fellow nerd," where as if it were Michael Bay (and believe me I really hate Michael Bay) he'd be ripped to shreds.

Actually, it's because The Avengers is a movie where you actually give a shit about the characters, and you can tell them apart - not because Joss Whedon is a fellow nerd. Just to clarify things.

I agree, you have to do some serious mental gymnastics to pull that comparison off. It's both incredibly generous to Bay and disingenuous to Whedon to even compare the two. It's almost like we didn't even watch the same movie.

daibakuha:

FelixG:

daibakuha:

You act like bouncing in and out is two different things. I live in New England, it's much more in and out, like it is here.

For bob bouncing in and out is pretty much just laziness and bad editing.

He has just had this problem a lot more lately, for the longest time he was purely speaking in a standardized accent so we know for a fact that he can choose one or the other to speak in. But now he is just bouncing back and forth, so yeah, lazy.

And for the record, I don't really care where you live, as it means less than nothing to me.

It's a point of reference and no, I still don't buy it. Most people here speak with a standard american accent and some of the time the regional one breaks out. It has nothing to do with laziness.

The fact of the matter is, you will just find any reason to shit on anything he does. Over some imagined slight that you feel he has against you. Honestly just shut up about it, we know you can hear his accent, no, it doesn't make you smarter or mentally superior for pointing it out.

I am sure that excuse would fly some times, but this is, you know, a product turned out by money, not a speech delivered on the fly, an editor or the person himself can listen to it, realize he fucked up, then fix it.

Yahtzee does it, others do it, why is movie bob lazy enough to just toss this out there without any editing?

I suppose its because George Lucas says so, its his judgement. Can't you put your trust in him?

Orks da best:
Well bob, on that last part on fanboys, I agree with you.

But I think fanboys have not only affect the movie industy, they have affect the game industy too, just look at ME 3, just ugh.

Since when did fanboy become another word for hater.

But in that regards the ending of ME3 was nonsensical, and full of broken promises of how "your actions effect the ending providing hundreds of endings & finding out what happened to all the characters you have shared so much time with". Its a example of people banding together for the coming good & adding to something that felt unfinished.

So its kind of very different to whats happening here, to compare the movie industry with the gaming industry with this safe kind of no-risk taking, we should use a better example, the king of mediocrity: Call of Duty.
Or with Nintendo, the locking down of Mario so that we no longer get funny parody game versions of it like Mario RPGs of it or the Paper Mario series.

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