So, the September 2003 shooting date has now officially been put back to May 2004. Our reaction was split between “Wah!” and “Hooray!”. “Wah”, because obviously it’s yet more delays. But “Hooray!”, because it shows that things are still happening: that the movie isn’t dead; that plans are still being made; indeed, that pre-production is still continuing. We believe it is still a positive development, despite being wrapped up in the form of a major setback…
It has to be said though that we’ve been getting more and more worried by the negative feeling surrounding the movie. Now, far be it from us to say people shouldn’t speculate about the movie; what it could be like, or how good it might be; we’ve managed to produce a whole section of the site by doing the same thing. But there’s two points we’d make: one of opinion, and one of fact. Our opinion, pure and simple, is that the movie is likely to be good; or, at the very, very least, not as bad as people are predicting. And the fact? Nobody knows how good this movie is going to be. It hasn’t even entered production yet. And whilst you might have a deep dark sense of foreboding about it, it’s not particularly productive to sit there saying “The movie will definitely be utter shit” when not only are there pretty good signs it might well not be, but there are people sitting there doing their absolute best to produce the best movie possible. It’s really only fair to them to actually see the damn thing before we judge it, surely?
The answer given to this argument is usually “Yes, you’re right – but I’m preparing myself for the worst so I won’t be disappointed if it’s bad”. Which is fair enough in a way – here at G&T, we’ve have built ourselves up to the fact the movie will be fantastic; we’d be genuinely devastated if it turns out to be rubbish. But let’s face it – if the movie is bad, there won’t be a single Dwarf fan that wouldn’t be disappointed by it anyway. It’s kind of akin to not letting yourself get close to someone for the fear of getting hurt. You might end up hurting less, but you’ll also end up loving less as well. Well, it’s… it’s not much of a philosophy, I know… but, well… fuck you. We can live our own life in our own way if we want to. Fuck off.
We’re not denying that the delays are frustrating, of course. Remember, part of the reason Series VII and VIII were made was so the episode count could rise to 52; perfect for syndication in the USA – and hence a higher profile for Dwarf so it could secure American funding for the movie. VIII was broadcast in 1999; plans at the time were that the movie would hit the screens in Winter 2002. As said at the start of the article, the current situation is that the movie is planning to shoot in May 2004; and considering how past dates have come and gone, it’s very possible that date might slip as well. A lot of fans are getting more and more disheartened; some believe that the movie might not happen at all. Of course, we can’t guarantee it will; it’s possible that there might eventually be insurmountable problems.
But remember this: The Hulk had a 10 year pre-production history. Masses of movies have a troubled pre-production. The thing with Red Dwarf is that, as fans, we scrutinise every single delay, every single development – each setback is reported on and scrutinised and blown out of proportion. But setbacks happen all the time, with loads of movies. If many Hollywood films have a troubled pre-production and financial problems, it’s hardly surprising that a British SF movie will have them. None of it means that the movie won’t enter production eventually, as evidenced by the huge amount of movies out there that have had such troubles, and ended up being made. We suspect that it simply has too much momentum now to stop; indeed, we’d be far more surprised if the movie didn’t end up being made than if it did. This “May 2004” date wasn’t put there for the fun of it – things are happening behind-the-scenes. They must be. Now, if the date still pencilled in was September 2003, and all we had was cast rumours saying “next year, next year…” I’d say we had a right to get worried. As it is, our advice is: relax.
The other thing is that when people are frustrated, and with so little information leaking out, some people feel blame has to be attached somewhere, even when they (like everyone else) have no idea what exactly is happening. Hence some have blamed GNP for the delays. This is patently ridiculous – does anyone here really think that GNP don’t want to see this movie made? Does anyone here think that when we’ve been disappointed with yet another setback, GNP haven’t been equally as upset? Another reaction linked to this is “Well, they should only put the dates out there when they are absolutely sure it’ll happen”. The thing is, there is another contingent of fans (and press) who want the information as soon as possible. GNP have to strike a balance here: all they can really do it put out dates when they think it’ll happen. Besides, with movie making, things can be going absolutely on track, and then fall through: surely GNP couldn’t be expected to wait until shooting has actually started before announcing anything?
Another other kind of reaction is a kind of affected boredom with proceedings. This is understandable, really; it does get slightly tiresome hearing the date put back and put back. But it’s really not that useful; and as I say, more often than not it’s affected. As fans, we should care about the fate of this movie. Be cynical about shooting dates now by all means; we’re not convinced that May 2004 will hold true. But to be bored of the entire enterprise is very silly indeed; most fans want a good movie out there – and if you do, you should care about what’s happening in the pre-production phase, even if it is just news of delays. If you don’t, of course, that’s fair enough; it’s also a separate article…
Just hold on. GNP wouldn’t have given the May 2004 date if things weren’t progressing. Meanwhile, concentrate on the DVD releases, and be happy that they’re so fantastic. Now, go and behave exactly like we’ve told you to. Go on.
LEASEHOLDER’S ADDENDUM: (29/12/04): “…we’re not convinced that May 2004 will hold true.” Well, we were right about that one. Nonetheless, if anything, the further delays to the Movie’s production make this article even more relevant. Hold tight, everyone.