Things I Learned From "Wing Commander"

(Cronan Thompson)

1. The effects rocked, the story and stars were appealing, then the trailers ended.

2. A nation at War with an Evil Alien Threat bent on genocide will, of course, have only one guy monitoring the space radar of an ostensibly vital outpost.

2a. When that guy takes a coffee break, don't send a replacement. It's not your sworn enemy would dream of attacking while your undermanned, outgunned outpost is completely unprepared.

2b. And for godsakes don't *automate* your alarms or warnings or hey-lookee-heres! That might, you know, give your people time to, you know, fight back.

3. Super Sekrut Hyperspacial Decoder Ring distruct not working? Bullets won't penetrate the armored window? Hit it with the butt of your rifle. Once. You wouldn't want to actually make an *effort* to keep that type of thing from your enemy, would you?

4. The merest possibility that the enemy might attack Earth is entirely out of the question until they're obvious doing it. (Which is why military doctrine demands that the home system's defenses be completely inadequate for the task of actually defending much of anything.)

5. Aaron Spelling's descendants dominate the military-industrial complex; hence the ban fighter pilots over the age of 25, and the standard issue scanty shipboard clothing. Guess those "Charlie's Angels" residuals really paid off.

6. Quasars and pulsars are fairly common stellar phenomena. In fact there appear to be two or three every few miles or so.

7. Building dramatic tension is far easier than I'd ever thought possible:

8. Hey, wanna intimidate the hell out of your enemies? Make your fighters from the fuselage of a WW2-era Mustang, equip them with tracer bullet firing M60 machine guns, nerf missiles with an apparent range of about 10 feet and a computer that talks just enough to remind the pilot of things he can already see.

8a. Oo! And don't forget to make those special effects really *special* by patterning all your battleships after the Red October

9. High ranking Navy Intelligence officers with super sekrut powers are best put to use in the middle of nowhere, ferrying about replacements pilots.

9a. Said officers don't tell you about their super sekrut powers, or their position in Naval Intelligence until an absolutely vital moment.

10. Does Matthew Lillard make you horny? Does he make you randy, baby? No? Well he's certainly supposed to.

11. After shooting down an enemy ship, rip off your breath mask for a deep and meaningful reaction shot consisting largely of a witty, hyperventilated quip and a thumbs up to your fellows who are all flying about three inches from you.

11a. The Kzin^H^H^Kilrathi, considerate enough to time their attacks so that they don't interrupt Our Heroes in mid quip-and-breathe, are also kindly enough to never actually use their superior numbers in any meaningful way.

12. Automation, schmautomation! Torpedo tubes loaded by greasy, sweaty, cross-eyed Eastern Europeans (are there any other kind?) are so much more efficient.

13. Christopher Roberts direction is marked by a heretofore unprecedented ability to hammer an illconcieved script filled with single ply toilet tissue characters, and scene after scene of preposterously out-of-date special effects, into a movie paced like Artic Dogsled Racing.

14. After forcing the enemy into a retreat covered by kamikazes, laugh and play and joke. After all, is there any better time for a discussion of male genitalia's influence on one's ability to perform feats of daring do than during a desperate adversary's suicidal maneuverings?

15. For godsakes don't kill all delta-v relative to the carrier, keep buzzing around so you run out of fuel forcing then to make a Hard Choice that'll kill your bestest bud.

16. Combining the love interest, the black guy, and the good friend lost to enemy action whose name can be invoked at key moments to inspire the unstable, unsure pilot responsible for their death, saves time, money and efficiently does away with the last remnants of plausibility.

17. While sneaking up on an unsuspecting enemy ship is the best of all possible times to break radio silence and debate the mission's merits.

17a. Further, be sure to transmit confidential codes for the retrieval of top secret data.

18. Cutting power to all systems just isn't enough to hide from Kzin^H^H^Kilrathi sensors. Oh no. Watcha gotta do is whisper and keep looking at the ceiling(which is covered in exposed pipes and ducts since they obviously pose no danger to the crew).

18a. It's also interesting to note that no one onboard a spacegoing battleship under nuclear bombardment is actually prepared for the possibility of a hull breach.

19. It's common knowledge that Kzin^H^H^Kilrathi keep handy dandy Confederation fuel cells lying around on their communications ships for any boarding parties that happen by.

20. All you need to do to board a Kzin^H^H^Kilrathi vessel - the one with the Super Sekrut Hyperspacial Decoder Ring no less - is to shoot down the two enemy fighters and extend your docking collar.

21. Oh, and be sure to take your two highest ranking officers, your wing commander and your living compass when boarding said enemy vessel. The Marines ostensibly trained for such things couldn't possibly handle it by themselves.

22. Hear a funny noise through your spacesuit? Send compassboy down the long, dark corridor to investigate.

23. All Kilrathi dialogue is close captioned in both English and Kilrathi script. (I didn't actually learn anything from this, just thought it was pretty damn funny.)

24. It's not faith, it's genetics!

24a. Speaking of which, there once was a special breed man, known collectively as "Pilgrims", who had the uncanny ability to read the vagaries of space-time as other men do the Sunday paper. They got too big for their britches though, and were promptly genocided by the good guys. (Well, except for the French ones who rape skulls.)

25. Nothing'll break down an emotionally scarred woman's defenses like a few hours without oxygen. Hell, it may even turn her on a bit to be mostly dead.

..."It's not faith, it's genetics!"
 ...oh, and "The Rage: Carrie 2" managed to be even worse

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