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Friday, January 07, 2005

YES YES YES YES YES!!! "The Tripods" will tower on the big screen soon!

This generation of kids needs a movie like Red Dawn: you know that flick twenty-odd years ago where Patrick Swayze and his high-school chums waged guerilla warfare on the Soviet swine that had taken over their Colorado hometown and the rest of America. It's so dated now as to be laughable (though for awhile it held the Guinness record for being "most violent movie ever") but the core idea is the same: young people fighting for real freedom, instead of sitting around in their Birkenstocks signing pointless petitions and otherwise complaining against "evil white men" or whatever. Director John Milius had a clear notion in mind that America was a great land because her children could fast learn their way around an AK-47... and ya know, he's right. But that ain't the point of this post.

Lots of places have the news but I found it first on ComingSoon.net that John Christopher's Tripods Trilogy is being adapted into a feature-length film series: presumably one film for each book (The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, and The Pool of Fire). Haven't heard anything on whether the prequel novel When the Tripods Came is part of the deal but that alone would be hella lotta fun to see as a two-hour movie.

Now if Disney (which'll be producing and distributing it) does it right, this will potentially be a very cool thing to behold: right up there with Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and the Wachowski Brothers' Matrix saga. I don't wanna spoil any of the really good details but this'll give you an inkling: it's an unspecified time (centuries from now?) in Earth's future and everything's gone back to medieval days. You can live free as a bird and do whatever you want... until your fourteenth birthday. At which time the Tripod comes to your village and grabs you with a tentacle and draws you into itself. That's when you get "capped". And after that you never need to fear having to think for yourself again for the rest of your life. Everyone in one village of the land once called England accepts this ritual without question. Everyone, except for one boy approaching his fourteenth birthday. And then one day a "vagrant" comes to the village...

I mentioned Red Dawn earlier 'cuz that's what this book series always reminds me of: it's like Red Dawn meets Independence Day crossed with Stand By Me. And for a book series aimed at young teens there's an awful lot of core values that the saga emphasizes: I'd even say the trilogy is "traditional conservative science-fiction". There's a box set of all four books at Amazon and since it's long been considered a classic book for young people you should have no trouble finding it in the preteen's fiction section of your bookstore.

Can't wait to see the movie. I'm praying that it'll do justice to the books. In the meantime, if any suggestions can be made I can't think of anyone better to play the role of Julius than either Sean Connery or Ian McKellan.

(And if you REALLY want a treat in the meantime, hunt out the comic-style serial that Boys Life magazine did of the trilogy back in the early 1980s: a terrific adaptation that deserves getting republished for mass consumption!)