Category Archives: sci-fi films

It’s not a matter of life or death, it’s more serious than that……… the riddle of unloved sci-fi

Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief Cover, available now at Amazon, Kobo

Following a late night debate over a beer or two, I recently researched the best selling films of all time

I like all kinds of fiction and non-fiction in films, TV and books. I like comedy, horror, adventures dramas and such like. I only draw the line at ‘crud’ and the majority of chick flicks. So that also rules out anything Twilight related. (Yes I can’t stand them – for me the Underworld series is a far better story)

I began writing Sean Yeager Adventures because it felt right and because it arose from my interests as a youngster. We used to have no end of sci-fi on TV: UFO, Dr Who, Star Trek, Blake’s 7. And at the lighter end we had Danger Mouse, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and many more. I guess some of it rubbed off and then Star Wars happened…

So back to the film stats. It turns out that nearly 1/3 of the top selling films of all time are sci-fi and they account for just under 1/3 of the gross income for the top 50 (that’s about 28% or $13.2 Bn).

The big winners are of course well known:

  • Avatar
  • Star Wars
  • Transformers
  • Inception
  • ET
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Matrix

To which we can add other big films like the Terminator, Alien and Star Trek series who fall outside the top 50.

And my point is?

Simply this – how come there are so few top selling books that are sci-fi?

I don’t believe for a second that sci-fi lovers don’t buy or read books.

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett

www.seanyeager.com

It’s life Jim but not as we know it …….. villains never give in

Just like my evil nemesis Egbert Von Krankhausen I never give up in waving a virtual flag at those readers who are seriously missing out on a good thing. I mean come on everyone over here! Aren’t you bored of vampires yet? Sean Yeager awaits! The true spiritual successor to Parry Hotter and Dartemis Owl.

In a move that is bound to spread tremors and tsunamis across the world I am transporting Sean Yeager to a whole new dimension for the holiday period. A dimension of lending. That’s right the Kindle lending scheme. Now you have no excuses – read and enjoy!  Or I’ll send Krankhausen after you…..

Is it life Jim or is it opting for the inevitable? I’ll beam up again soon with news from the front. One thing is clear there will be no cosy little romance picnic to spoil the action. Yes that is a direct dig at Star Wars who made me cringe for what seemed like eternity with that dire excuse for a love story between ‘To be Darth’ and ‘Oh look I’m pregnant with twins and the best sci-fi gizmos and forces ever can’t save me’.

With Hunters Hunted steaming up the mirrors and generally leaping off the page to climb new mountains, The DNA Thief will soon be joined by another. Yes folks its going to be Empire Strikes Back time. Aliens with a plural instead of the singular dark, shifty stomach ache and pregnancy metaphor. (Ouch!) It’s building up nicely into a spaghetti car crash of gargantuan proportions. Try saying that quickly!  (“That, that, that…..”)

So in the run up to Happy Holidays of all colours and creeds consider this: Sean Yeager is out there somewhere hiding from his enemies and hoping that Santa isn’t laser blasted to a crisp by his trigger happy protectors. (Could be worse, have you met Krankhausen? Now he has some serious personal issues man!)

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett

Farewell Star Wars,………. the end of an era

So Disney is paying hard cash and shares to acquire George Lucas’ empire Lucasfilm?

Wow! That’s a big decision.

Apparently the deal is worth £4bn for two film franchises (Star Wars and Indiana Jones) and technical experts (Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound) plus related rights and merchandising.

Double wow!

So why would Disney pay such a  huge amount for an already mature and seemingly complete set of films? I mean it’s not just George Lucas who is effectively retiring, what about Harrison Ford? Does he still need to work?

Sure, the Lucas empire will continue to generate wealth and new spin-offs; no doubt the accountants have done their sums and possibly see it as an annuity cash cow. But even so….. $4bn?

Next we hear there will be more Star Wars films. Oh really, about what? It will be fascinating to see how they try and make the audience care about another tranche of characters. It’s not as if the prequel trilogy stands up to much scrutiny compared to the original first three films (episodes IV to VI).

There also seems to be some bitterness in the air, or at least it is highlighted in some press reports. I struggle to see how George Lucas can be that ‘upset’ about criticisms of selling out or sullying the brand. Surely he is a film maker and business man extraordinaire and somewhat above what some oik thinks? (myself included) I mean, with that kind of ability and success you could choose almost anything you like as your next project couldn’t you? Plus he has milked it for billions – fact. So it’s a bit obvious to say it’s sold out. Yes that’s the whole point of selling stuff so widely and so voraciously surely? We are not talking some minor cult series are we? It is not Sean Yeager Adventures now is it?

For what it’s worth I don’t dislike the prequels, I simply find them contrived, overdone and not entirely convincing compared to the classic episodes. And it’s not because of the years that have passed – I’ve re-watched every episode. It’s more that I believe the original characters in IV were better, their struggles were more believable and I felt like I cared more about them. Yes of course the series is for kids and you do have to make allowances, however adults did enjoy IV and V. There are good scenes in each of I to III but the love interest was dreadfully badly written; the politics were dull and unconvincing and the action sequences were often completely over the top.

So what of the future? Well I hope they go back to brass tacks and find a story or two from the extensive canon (fan, prequel, expanded universe, pro-books, Lucas stories) to make the viewers want to care again. It would also be good if they addressed some of the short-comings of Star Wars as a ‘universe’. Short-comings? I hear you gasp well yes – here are a few and I’m barely even trying…..

Baddies can shoot straight; planets could be glassed; even clones need food and toilet breaks; anyone with a brain cell can see through a simple disguise especially a ‘Jedi knight’ surely?; superior numbers mean you will win battles; even in WW1 there were bombers and missiles; space does not amplify sound; people do not understand alien speak instantly without any form of interpreter; being good at the last second having slaughtered hundreds of kids does not make you instantly popular in heaven; a plama laser sword against hundreds of blasters – do me a favour, you’d die – see last of the Samurai; and no you can not fly or jump through millions of obstacles and survive without a scratch. And last but not least – the clones – when did they become useless as storm troopers? Early on they can save everyone and after decades of evolution they can’t hit a barn door at two paces or see a floating car driving over their feet.

In other words – Star Wars as a franchise has made the fortunes and now is the time to raise the bar back to where it ought to be for the fans – the people who made the franchise worth the mega-bucks in the first place.

Or – Disney could turn it into a romantic, drippy pile of techno-goo and watch that $4bn investment really take-off…….

As someone great once said – just because you pay the big bucks doesn’t mean it’s worth the big bucks.

Happy reading

D.M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager Adventures

Promotion can be fun…….. Sean Yeager book video trailer

D.M. Jarrett author of the Sean Yeager Adventures book series took some time out to have fun making a promotional video for YouTube.

Check it out at: Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief trailer

“It was fun to make and I think it gives the first Sean Yeager book a real personality. I was aiming for a spoof of the kind of movie trailers we used to watch. Apparently there was one man who cornered the market in voice-overs.”

If you enjoy the trailer check out the Sean Yeager book reviews at Amazon and Goodreads.

‘Hunters Hunted’ the second book in the series is progressing well for an early 2013 publication

Enjoy

D.M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager Adventures

What is the best sci-fi film of all time?

What is the best sci-fi film of all time?

D.M. Jarrett author of sci-fi adventure series Sean Yeager Adventures speculates about the best sci-fi films of all time, many of which inspired generations of writers and creators.

It occurred to me the other day that writing is similar to script writing for films. I often find myself visualising how scenes would work and how the characters would respond to situations when writing draft chapters. I wonder how many have subconsciously influenced Sean Yeager and the DNA Thief?

So here is my personal short-list of what I consider to be the finest sci-fi films ever made. Of course it is a subjective list and a bit of fun and there are plenty of other good films not on this list. I have for example not included lighter entertainment films out of personal choice (e.g. E.T.,  Close Encounters, Starman, Jurassic Park.) This is because taken as a whole I’m not that keen on them.

#15 Sunshine: Perhaps a marmite film. Well I liked it and watched it several times over. It’s a bit like the anti-Solaris.

#14 Dr Who The Dalek Invasion of Earth: Sure it’s dated and not strictly a film but for me a very good take on the whole theme with a genuinely threatening enemy and with William Hartnell as Dr Who.

#13 Fifth Element: Yes it’s derivative, yes it’s silly in places but it’s also a lot of fun and highly watchable

#12 Terminator 1 & 2: while the story was repeated three times in my view, the first had the most impact especially in the mirror cutting scene and the final moments. And for me the second had the best Terminator.

#11 The Matrix: stylish and thought provoking action, until it all became a bit silly in later episodes. Only let down by the complete lack of trying not to stand out inside The Matrix – I mean all black gear and sunglasses?

#10 Solaris: thought provoking and unsettling space drama

#9 The Day the Earth Stood Still 1972 – ahead of its time and strangely realistic

#8 2001 A Space Odyssey: slow, moving and thematically realistic with beautiful cinematography. It pulls you in and keeps you in space.

#7 Avatar: Great effects, decent ideas, story was okay if not entirely believable or plausible. Still watched it three times in a week (and didn’t expect to like it) Shame about some silliness that crept into the final act.

#6 Star Wars IV – entertaining, ground breaking and very watchable (until Jabba the Hutt received more scenes in later cuts) Silly in parts – noises in space, stormtroopers who never seem to shoot straight, understanding a Wookie with two kinds of growl.

#5 Star Wars V – The Empire Strikes Back; darker and better made than the rest of the franchise. Of course The Empire kicks ass, why wouldn’t they? Even allowing for the giant walking dogs.

#4 Invasion of the Bodysnatchers: given its age one of the best sci-fi horror films ever made, watch it again if you don’t believe me.

#3 The Thing 1982: a very scary film that stands up to repeat viewings, on first viewing you have no idea what is going to happen next.

#2 Bladerunner: Consistently involving with plausible characters, tech and genuinely touching scenes and score.  I prefer the later cuts and added back-in scenes personally. Can seem a bit slow in places.

#1 Alien  (tied) The original and very scary, try watching it at night on your own…

#1 Aliens (tied) More of everything and works brilliantly as a comment on gung-ho military leadership as well as a shoot-em up

Happy film watching

D.M. Jarrett

Sean Yeager Adventures