TTV just posted an interview with Nathan Furst, the composer of the original film trilogy. It's all cool stuff, but the most interesting stuff for me was towards the end, where Furst recalls some intimations of future film ideas, from before they pulled the cord on the series.
I suspect that Bob Thompson leaving Bionicle was contingent on the cancellation of the movies - Thompson's other work is mostly in animation and I guess if Bionicle wasn't going to be communicated primarily through animation anymore there wasn't much treason for him to stick around. If such a grand supposition might turn out to be true, the early concepts Furst talked about may indicate the direction Bionicle could have followed if Thompson hadn't left.
He mentions two movies specifically:
- Makuta origin movie
- Movie succeeding Mask of Light, with Takanuva leading the Toa
In the midst of it all, there is some suggestion that the overall grand concept was to jump liberally from point to point on the Bionicle timeline with each film, rather than jumping back to a linear chronology after all the Metru Nui business.
The idea of a Makuta origin film is especially interesting imo, especially since it would seem to address the hanging bit in LoMN where Lhikan mentions Makuta was "sworn to protect the Matoran." The Bionicle canon does kind of address this, but not really in a way that ever seemed to satisfy the implication of what Lhikan was saying. That this movie was on the table indicates that there was a bigger idea in mind when that line was written.
Takanuva as a fixture of the ignition trilogy would've been interesting, though really if things had gone that way it's quite probable that the entire trilogy would have been rendered unrecognizable to us (for the better, I'd like to think).
Furst also mentions catching a sense of a conflict of interest within lego about which way Bionicle should go: more to the techno/robotic/scifi or more to the tribal/mythological, at least so far as the music went. I wonder if that argument extended to other aspects of the line. If it did, I guess we know who won.
So yeah. Just putting thoughts down. Cool bionicle stuff
The biggest deal with Templar's update here is their original synopsis for the chapter. It elaborates on some things that are only implicit in the game. For example, Jala says something in passing that implies he isn't fond of the Ko-Koronans and keeps an eye on them, but the synopsis takes things way further:
I love this. Jala, the stuck-up military mastermind who is married to practicality, probably hates those monks and their mystic, meditative lifestyle and thinks it's all the work of the devil. MNOG is really the only bionicle thing to brush on bonkle racism in a mature capacity and adds a lot to the world. You can see why he'd think like that because the game characterizes Ta-Koro and Ko-Koro are these far-off places from each other with distinct cultures and lifestyles. Also, you know, Fire vs Ice. Of course there would be tensions between them. It's a shame pretty much every other Bionicle story outlet relegates villages to kindergartens the Toa have to keep safe because THE CHILDREN MATORAN
The script also decidedly refers to Takua/George as The Visitor. Tales of the Tohunga, the GBA game with Takua's name in it, was only a month out from release, so this raises a few questions. The Kini Nui is also referred to by an early name, the Temple of Legend.
The synopsis also plays up the hunter aspect of Ko-Koronan lifestyle - it describes Takua overcoming various traps in order to reach Ko-Koro.
The end of the synopsis also begins to suggest where the game would have gone if the PC game hadn't been cancelled, forcing MNOG to shoulder the burden of carrying the Toa's story to the finish line. Apparently the entire population of the island would have evacuated to the Kini Nui - this is pretty surprising to me, at most I expected the only difference would have been an expansion of the final minigame - the dialogue pretty clearly indicates it was supposed to be larger.
I basically have MNOG memorized at this point which turns out to be pretty helpful when you are reading through a copy of the script posted by the developers! There are a few interesting differences:
Jala Reply 2
Matoro/Nuju Reply 1
This is interesting! First off we have some classic Wairuha/Akamai confusion, something Templar seemed to slip up with a lot. More importantly, it looks like Akamai originally embodied Spirit, not Valor. Neat.
But do you know what is even more interesting? Replies 1-2 and 1-3. When I read them in the script I knew right away I had never seen them before, but I checked and there they were in the files. To verify, I went to the dialogue in-game and, sure enough, they weren't there. This actually isn't the first time I've come across bits of replies in the files that don't show up in-game - however, unlike the other instance, which is the result of a bug, this appears to be intentional. The lines are actually turned off by the preceding code. I'd guess that they wanted to pare things down a bit to stay in keeping with the brevity of Ko-Koronans in general - a good call I think. Its cool to see more genuine article MNOG lines but these don't really add anything or say anything that isn't already said, implicitly or otherwise. Here's another section of dialogue that was cut out:
It's possible there are other cut bits of script hanging around the MNOG files still. I'll probably go hunting for them someday.
All those years back my family would make the drive up to a bigger town every Sunday, to go to Barnes and Noble, get some drinks from the cafe, and read. And so every Sunday I'd head back to the children's section and search for the next BIONICLE novel. Usually I'd have to settle for something else, but those special days that the BIONICLE world expanded just a little were always my favorite.
Today I don't really have the luxury of the serendipity of discovery like I did then. I knew Island of Lost Masks was coming long before it did, and I knew that I would be reading it the same day. I did make the attempt to stop by Barnes and Noble to pick up a physical copy, but they haven't got their shipment in yet. That's just how it goes, I guess.
After 5 solid years of Farshtey its exciting to have a new author. If I'm being honest than Windham's writing history hasn't exactly inspired much confidence in me, but I've tried to go into this with as much of an open mind as I can.
The first and probably most important thing that I want to bring up: I really, cannot thank Windham enough for maintaining consistency with the online episodes. I realize that for a lot of people that's probably a disappointment; a repeat of the same story content instead of something new. But I can't tell you enough how much I prefer that to the alternative that Greg (and Hapka)'s books opted with: making their own narrative at the expense of a coherent continuity. For example, Greg's depiction of this short differs fundamentally from the source material on enough points that he may as well have not referenced it at all. I get that he wants to do his own thing, but him doing his own thing at the expense of story coherence was really frustrating for me. Windham does not do this. He keeps true to what we've seen. And I deeply appreciate that.
What is more, Windham does put forth the effort to make sure the characters are depicted consistent to their characterization in the episodes. We have a fumbling Kopaka too proud to admit his mistakes, a joke-cracking Lewa, an objective-driven Gali, and so forth. I didn't always feel his writing was quite up to the mark (Onua fumbling about Korgot being a girl got to be a little too verbose for him in my opinion), the effort is clearly there and, really, that's all that I expect of him as someone newly inducted into the BIONICLE mythos.
The writing style is simple and straightforward, which is more or less to be expected from someone coming off of writing tens of Star Wars readers. It does the job well enough. I liked that some of the Protector's speech came across as more formal without being detached, echoing the style that MNOG often followed. Windham's got a nice sense of humor too, Greg's jokes never really hit me the right way but a few of Windham's original passages have genuinely laugh-out-loud moments.
In general, I think it is a good start that has potential. The book doesn't strike nearly as hard as the online episodes, but then, it is an adaption - Windham is taking something that wasn't made for the novel medium and trying to get it to fit. I think the true test will come this winter with Revenge of the Skull Spiders, which, if the alignment of the stars hold true, will be an original story and Windham's first real chance to dig into the world and do things his own way.
Before that though, he's got another BIONICLE writing debut coming up in the form of the first graphic novel - which is looking to be another retelling of the episodes. It will be interesting to see how Windham goes about attempting to breathe a unique life into them for a second time. He's certainly got his work set out for him.
Silicon Dreams' Highest Paid Voice Actor
The Entire Population of LEGO Island
Parrot Polly Peeps of Pirate Plunder
Nick Bluetooth: Defender of the Outer Dimension
The Slimy Slug that Invaded Your Base
Laura Brick Joke
Has More Degrees than a Professor
Getting Down to Biznis
I am Not Bruce Wayne (He's Totally Awesome, Though)
Captain Roger Dodger
Lord Baron von Sinister Ulrich "Evil Eye" Hates Gluipstra
Doctor Cyber Slam
compiled from two separate entries on my BZP Blog
So a while ago Lucina put up this excellent blog entry about a tantalizing piece of dialogue that we got from Makuta in Mask of Light, that never really went anywhere. It's a nice little piece of "what if" to consider, but ultimately the existence of the dialogue could be fairly well explained as another example of all of the weird nonsense that was going on at the end of Mask of Light. "We'll awaken Mata Nui, except we won't!" "All of the island's inhabitants must gather at the Kini-Nui and then come underground, except not really!" etc.
Or at least, that's what I thought until Torsti put up the ISOs for the CDs in his BIONICLE Style Guide. There is an extremely interesting note made in the introduction:
Now, try to rectify that with the "bwahaha I will put Mata Nui to sleep and take over the world because I'm evil" Makuta we got. It's impossible. There is simply no way to cover both with one character. So I'm going to put forth a theory: it would seem that up to and through 2003, Makuta had a legitimate and potentially very interesting motivation for plaguing the islanders. By the point Legends of Metru Nui came out in 2004, the story team had rewritten him to be a more "kid-friendly" villain fitting into a black-and-white paradigm.
But that leaves us to wonder what Makuta's original motivation was. The line from MoL explains why he is doing what he is doing, at least (he believes that Mata Nui's reawakening will cause him pain, and so he does his best to prevent the people trying to awaken him from achieving their goal). But then why does he believe that Mata Nui's reawakening will be to his detriment? Why did he send him to sleep in the first place?
A lot of what Makuta says in Mask of Light gets obfuscated by his demeanor. He has a deep, rumbling voice, an oily, patched-together appearance, and he hangs out in a cave filled with thick green smoke and pillars holding creatures in stasis. On top of it all, he is very clearly the designated villain in what is a kiddy, direct-to-video film made to sell toys. Literally everything sets our expectations to "he is a bad guy," and we don't question it.
But look beyond this external layer, and we find something rather different through a few curious hints. It begins in Makuta's first appearance. Before he releases the Rahkshi, he contemplates,
I'm not sure how to frame this in any way other than as remorse at the idea of what he is about to do. So what convinces him?
It comes back to Mata Nui. Makuta will do whatever it takes to ensure his brother remains asleep. This isn't a ruthless, power-hungry maniac bent on world domination - if that were the case, he would have no qualms with unleashing the Rahkshi.
So the Rahkshi set out and start to terrorize the island, and Makuta sits back and observes. But something goes wrong - Kopaka manages to freeze the beasts within a lake, incapacitating them. Makuta can no longer rely on the fact that his sons will halt the coming of the seventh Toa, so he goes to plan B. Even though Takua himself doesn't know it yet, Makuta knows that the Matoran is right smack in the center of this matter. So he makes him an offer: If you stand down, give me the Avohkii so that Mata Nui can never be awakened, I will leave you alone. Your friends, the entire island, will be free from my grasp.
Takua, like us viewers, don't think twice about calling Mukau droppings on him. Yeah, right. If you give the McGuffin to the bad guy, he'll let you off scotch free. That's likely. But what happens after Takua departs, when Makuta is left to himself, with noone listening? What does he say?
Unless Makuta is in the habit of lying through his teeth to himself for no reason, his offer was absolutely genuine. With his last resort, the Rahkshi, evidently unable to stand up to the Toa Nuva, his hand was forced and he tried the next best thing to victory: ensuring that his brother could, at least, remain asleep and be spared the pain of conciousness. But Takua has none of it, so he does the next best thing: more Rahkshi.
So by now, you may be asking: why? Why are all of these hints dropped in Mask of Light, of all places? What about the myriad of other story media leading up to it, why isn't it hinted at in any of it, too?
For the answer, we have to dig a little into the past. If you are a longtime fan, then you might recall the earliest press releases for Mask of Light in 2002. They had familiar elements: two friends on a quest, the fate of the island at stake. But something else was mentioned in these synopses meant to strip the story to its absolute core: the island is crumbling into the ocean.
Obviously, this plot element does not survive into the final film. And with good reason, because it ties into another major element of the film that was canned: the awakening of Mata Nui.
Throughout the conclusion, wierd things keep happening. Everyone insists that they are descending into the Mangaia to awaken the Great Spirit, only for the matter to be forgotten once they literally do something that is supposed to awaken him. Takanuva instructs for all of the island's inhabitants to be gathered, and later brought underground, but we only get the Turaga (in the novelization, the island's population does in fact show up). This all makes sense only in the context of a film where Mata Nui does awaken; the islanders would need to be safely underground before Mata Nui could stand up and destroy the island.
This explains the early island-crumbling plot. In the days before his awakening, Mata Nui is stirring, rocking the island and breaking chunks of it off.
Incidentally this explains a scene that does make it to the final film: Jaller and Takua's reuniting. Jaller ends up vulnerable thanks to an earthquake, which you don't really question until you look at is specifically. An earthquake? Natural disasters like that never happen on Mata Nui outside that instance. Its a really weird anomaly in the mythos that seems solely an excuse to have Jaller mistake Takua for an approaching Rahkshi until you consider that it was originally part of a very relevant, ongoing series of quakes on the island. That also explains Jaller's wry response to the event - earthquakes were common. Otherwise, he might have been expected to be more "wow! an earthquake!" like Vakama in the Kikanalo scene in LOMN.
So that's why we get all of these hints dropped regarding Makuta's true nature. Originally, Mask of Light was the BIONICLE finale, and the climax was to be the revelation of Makuta's true nature.
Eventually, Takanuva is born and travels to the Mangaia. Makuta's last ditch resort is to keep his cool and challenge Takanuva for his mask, as without the Toa of Light Mata Nui cannot be awakened. This, too fails, and we get to that all-important dialogue first highlighted by Lucina:
Naturally, Takanuva reacts with shock, confusion and denial.
And then Makuta responds with what seems like a really strange non-sequiter.
But despite how little sense it makes, it has a powerful effect on Takanuva. Suddenly, he is confident. He knows what to do.
I feel like the implication here is that Makuta's badness is somehow tied to his mask (the 'real' him is 'behind' it).
Takutanuva isn't, in reality, all that important in the final movie. He lifts the gate for everyone. But if, say, Makuta had been incapacitated, it seems entirely within reason that the Toa Nuva could've opened it themselves somehow.
But in our supposed original version of the film, Takutanuva is all-important. He is the merged conciousness of Takanuva and Makuta. Suddenly, both understand each other, and they know what must be done to set things right. Cue the awakening of Mata Nui. Fin.
So there you have it. What Mask of Light could have been.
Hey folks! Putting your LEGO sets on shelves is totally fun, right? And I'm quite happy with how things turned out when I set up the sets I brought to my college dorm, so I wanted to share some pictures. Sorry for phone photos, but I can't really justify buying a proper camera when all I would ever use it for is pictures of small plastic people.
TLM and miscellany
Cloud Cuckoo Land
Ogel attempts to preempt Where are My Pants with Dr. Cyber falling onto the set and probably shouting about time or something
Max is watching Ogel approvingly. Does Johnny notice that Mr. Pollywana appears to be eating his map?
Lord Business and the Super Secret Police (apparently caught in a nasty fog)
Micromanager (thanks Lucina on BZP for reverse-engineering the film model and producing and LXF of it)
MY PARENTS ARE FROZEEEEN
A whole mess of Tohunga
They're stealing the disc!
Robot vs. Dragon smackdown
quick shoot arrows at the robot that will probably stop it
Detail shot, I guess?
Neptune Discovery Lab
check out all of the dust on this dome
If you're curious, here's my full collection on Brickset.
With my sharp eye, it is only natural that it took me until literally today to note that there are publicly available means of sort-of playing LEGO Universe.
Avoiding all of the copycat TimTech stuff, I've downloaded the official release and am trying to use Microsoft Visual Studio to compile it, but despite numerous attempts I keep receiving errors that I have absolutely no idea what to do with. Here's what I've got:
Error 1 error C4996: 'inet_addr': Use inet_pton() or InetPton() instead or define _WINSOCK_DEPRECATED_NO_WARNINGS to disable deprecated API warnings c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\raknet\tcpinterface.cpp 198 1 RakNet
Error 2 error C1083: Cannot open source file: 'StringSplit.cpp': No such file or directory C:\Users\[Pereki]\Downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\LUNI Server\SUtil\c1xx SUtil
Error 3 error C4996: 'inet_addr': Use inet_pton() or InetPton() instead or define _WINSOCK_DEPRECATED_NO_WARNINGS to disable deprecated API warnings c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\raknet\socketlayer.cpp 283 1 RakNet
Warning 4 warning C4244: '=' : conversion from 'double' to 'float', possible loss of data c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\sutil\inireader.cpp 19 1 SUtil
Error 5 error LNK1104: cannot open file 'C:\Users\[Pereki]\Downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\LUNI Server\Debug\SUtil.lib' C:\Users\[Pereki]\Downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\LUNI Server\Test\LINK Test
Error 6 error C4996: 'inet_addr': Use inet_pton() or InetPton() instead or define _WINSOCK_DEPRECATED_NO_WARNINGS to disable deprecated API warnings c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\raknet\rakpeer.cpp 374 1 RakNet
Error 7 error C4996: 'inet_ntoa': Use inet_ntop() or InetNtop() instead or define _WINSOCK_DEPRECATED_NO_WARNINGS to disable deprecated API warnings c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\raknet\raknettypes.cpp 86 1 RakNet
Warning 8 warning C4101: 'randomChar' : unreferenced local variable c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\raknet\datablockencryptor.cpp 142 1 RakNet
Error 9 error C4996: 'inet_ntoa': Use inet_ntop() or InetNtop() instead or define _WINSOCK_DEPRECATED_NO_WARNINGS to disable deprecated API warnings c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\raknet\commandparserinterface.cpp 151 1 RakNet
Warning 10 warning C4018: '<' : signed/unsigned mismatch c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\packetmanager.h 12 1 LUNI Server
Warning 11 warning C4018: '<' : signed/unsigned mismatch c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\packetmanager.h 21 1 LUNI Server
Warning 12 warning C4018: '<' : signed/unsigned mismatch c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\packetmanager.h 12 1 LUNI Server
Warning 13 warning C4018: '<' : signed/unsigned mismatch c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\packetmanager.h 21 1 LUNI Server
Warning 14 warning C4005: 'DEBUG' : macro redefinition c:\users\[pereki]\downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\luni server\raknet\types.h 280 1 LUNI Server
Error 15 error LNK1104: cannot open file 'SUtil.lib' C:\Users\[Pereki]\Downloads\luniserver-code-0a290bd46e80341bb40db7b0dc57241e52a79663\LUNI Server\LINK LUNI Server
And so, despite realizing that this must come across as entirely obnoxious, I ask you, RRU: "how to play lego universe?"