Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Freejack Flub: The Starlog Project: Starlog #176, March 1992

The Emilio Estevez vehicle Freejack is on the cover, but Starlog flubs up the cover in an embarrassing way. No, it’s not the grainy, badly outlined photo of Anthony Hopkins on the cover, though that hurts. No, it’s not the weird yellow-black-yellow bands of background color on the cover, though that mystifies. The mixup is evident when one looks at the small text on the lower left-hand portion of the cover, where the cover image is described: “Emilio Estevez as Furlong (left) & Anthony Hopkins as McCandless (right).” The problem? There’s no Estevez on the cover. It’s just Hopkin’s giant, somewhat blurry head.

Someone apparently switched the cover photo at the last minute but didn't switch the cover copy. Um, waitaminnit ...

Oh, dear lord ... I just realized what the cover is. It's two faces melded together. Estevez, y'see, is on the left (or at least half of his face is), and the right side of the head is Anthony Hopkins. And you know what? It still sucks.

All around, then, a crappy cover. Therefore, it’s fitting that it features Freejack, the movie that gives us a Mick-Jagger/Emilio-Estevez/Anthony-Hopkins trio of underperforming performers. And to think this weak film was based on a story by the great Robert Sheckley. Sad.

Just keep repeating to yourself: It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie ...

Also this issue, Starlog publishes its annual postal statement of ownership and circulation. The total paid circulation for the issue closest to the statement's filing deadline is listed as 164,074 (down from the previous year's 171,137), including the number of paid subscriptions of 9,521 (barely changed from 9,567 last year).

Starlog #176
80 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $4.95

Freejack pretty much tanked at the box office. But perhaps you liked The Addams Family reboot more. Well, Starlog’s hoping you will, because it’s publishing The Addams Family Official Movie Magazine. Includes “FREE! FOUR GIANT POSTERS.” As the ad on page 22 says, “Prepared by the Editors of FANGORIA! (SO YOU KNOW IT’S CREEPY!)”

The rundown: As I mentioned above, Freejack is featured – if that’s the word – on the cover; but on the contents page, a “Rebellious Kathy Ireland” promotes Dick & Marge Save the World (apparently an alternate title for the Teri Garr opus Mom & Dad Save the World). Meanwhile, Communications letters range from Terminator 2 speculation to never-ending Star Trek debates to follow-up to David Hirsch’s #172 article on composer Leonard Rosenman, plus Mike Fisher’s Creature Profile features the Bride of Frankenstein.

David McDonnell’s Medialog column gives us first word on Harve Bennett’s newest upcoming syndicated TV series, Time Trax; Booklog reviews The Garden of Rama, Martian Rainbow, The Revenge of the Rose, Jack the Bodiless, Prince of Chaos, and Jinx High; David Hutchison’s Videolog column announces the release of The Rocketeer and other genre titles; the Fan Network pages include Lia Pelosi’s directory of fan clubs and publications, plus the convention calendar; Bill Wilson reports on one of the most exciting developments in the genre in the early 1990s: the birth of The Sci Fi Channel, and he goes behind the scenes to look at plans for the new cable channel; and Kerry O’Quinn’s From the Bridge chats with George Lucas about his upcoming TV series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, and it includes this quote equivalent of a money shot, in which Lucas discusses who will and will not be interested in the program: “The exception is Starlog’s readership, especially the Star Trek group, who are more interested in ideas, generally, than in action. They like action, but I think that one of the things which makes Star Trek work is that it explores many very profound ideas in a dramatic context. That’s what I’m trying to do with this TV series.”

Adam Pirani interviews Freejack’s Anthony Hopkins, who says of the role, “It’s just a chance to work. I’ve never been offered a science fiction thing before, so I just did it. No great reasons.” Ian Spelling talks to Hopkins’ costar Emilio Estevez, who was more enthusiastic when he was offered the role: “I jumped at it”; Adam Pirani also spoke with actress Kim Cattrall, who stars as the newest Vulcan character Valeris, and Marc Shapiro and Ian Spelling provide a sidebar in which Cattrall discusses the sexual connection between Valeris and Spock (and their controversial mind meld); Tom Weaver explores the comics version of Forbidden Planet; in “Miracle Worker,” Lynne Stephens talks to actor James Doohan about Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; and Bill Warren profiles Jon Lovitz, who plays the comic ruler Tod Spengo in Dick & Marge Save the World or Mom & Dad Save the World – take your pick.

Ian Spelling interviews actor Wil Wheaton about his returns to Star Trek: The Next Generation and his post-Trek career; Marc Shapiro chats up model/actress Kathy Ireland; Mike Clark notes the recent death of producer Irwin Allen with a career retrospective; in another post-mortem article, Eric Niderost profiles the late actor Ralph Bellamy; and David McDonnell’s Liner Notes column discusses comics and movies.
“Great business concept or not, [Sci Fi Channell president and founder Mitchell] Rubenstein is quick to dispel any notion that such an idea sprang forth from the mind of a diehard SF aficionado. ‘I’m not a Trekkie in the sense that you or your readers would think of a Trekkie, though I do watch. I just don’t watch it over and over and over. When you come into my office, the first thing you notice is that there’s virtually no science-fiction memorabilia anywhere. I’m definitely not a fan in the traditional sense; I don’t go to conventions. I would put myself in the mainstream of those who watch science fiction, but aren’t fanatics about it. I would put myself more in the category of the “traditional” viewer we would hope to attract with the Sci-Fi Channel, though we do want the hardcore fans to watch, too. We recognize their importance to us.”
– Bill Wilson, writer: “I Want My SF-TV!”
For more, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent site.
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