/Lost in Translation/ is going to take it easier the next few weeks starting today after submerging into Prohibition and Chicago of the eaerly 30s. Fan adaptations will be on the menu for the next few weeks. This week, a look a Kadir Deniz‘ “KITT vs KARR” series. A quick reminder about the approach Lost in Translation takes with fan works – the quality isn’t as important as the understanding of the source works. Fan works are good for learning storytelling and film techniques without the pressure to produce something for sale.
The series that Deniz is adapting, Knight Rider aired originally from 1982 to 1986, was created by Glen A. Larson, and starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight and William Daniels as the voice of KITT, the Knight Industries Two Thousand. KITT is an artificially intelligent vehicle, aiding Michael as he works for the Foundation for Law and Government, bringing justice to people who are often above the law. KARR, the Knight Automotive Roving Robot, voiced by Peter Cullen, was FLAG’s prototype, an early design put aside in favour of KITT. The difference between the two is that KARR was programmed for self-preservation while KITT’s programming placed the life of his passengers and the people around him above his own. KARR was introduced in the first season episode, “Trust Never Rusts”, and thanks to fan interest, returned in the season three episode, “K.I.T.T. vs K.A.R.R.”.
In the first episode of Deniz’ series, KARR is portrayed as he appeared in the latter half of “K.I.T.T. vs K.A.R.R.” The music and dialogue are pulled from existing episodes. Deniz, though, created the storyline for the series of videos. The camera angles used are a mix and include classic angles from the TV series to new angles possible thanks to being CG animated. The only real hints that the series is CG animation are how Michael moves and how the trailer breaks apart. KITT and KARR are spot on, and Michael is wearing his classic ensemble from the series.
There’s a nod to the 2008 Knight Rider series with the black Mustang Shelby, the car that portrayed KITT in the remake series. Again, the episode is all CG animation. The cinematography is based on the original series, but expands, allowing Deniz to make the episode his while still being a fan work. KITT’s abilities are all ones that have appeared in the series, even the skiing.
The latest episode available. KARR’s plot continues and he has help from someone with a grudge against Michael. There’s still classic camera angles as seen in the original series, almost indistinguishable. The problem seen with the tractor-trailer as KITT turbo boosts through in the first episode is more cleaned up this time around. The chase reflects the series; KITT’s shell could withstand bullets, but missiles were to be avoided. The final twist, Airwolf, comes from the Donald Bellisario created series, Airwolf, starring Jan Michael Vincent as Stringfellow Hawke and Earnest Borgnine as Dominic Santini. Hawke had a deal with Archangel, played by Kent McCord; the Firm would get Airwolf back if Archangel could recover String’s brother Saint-John, a POW in Viet Nam. Airwolf, as it appears in the third episode, is a perfect replica of the model used in the TV series. Even how it appears up from behind the cliff rings true; Hawke and Santini often came from below the line of sight in the helicopter. The end theme of the third episode blends the the themes of both Knight Rider and Airwolf, which caps a note perfect episode.
Deniz’ series isn’t complete. He’s working on it as he can, but he has released some test footage for future entries on his YouTube channel. He has captured the feel of the original series and has created a work that fits with the tone of the series while telling his own story.
Last week, I covered how technology and progress affected vehicles in remakes. This week, I look at vehicles that have featured in projects that haven’t been remade yet.
The vehicle: Kaneda’s motorcycle.
Currently in the process of being adapted for a live-action movie, Akira was a milestone in anime released to North American audiences. One of the plot elements is Kaneda’s red motorcycle, something that Tetsuo coveted. The motorcycle is obviously powerful and futuristic, with no make or model given. For a live action version of the movie, the motorcycle needs to match the appearance.* Fortunately, without a specific manufacturer to worry about, the producers can approach a number of motorcycle firms for sponsor ship or try to get one of the fan-made models.
The vehicle: The titular helicopter.
Airwolf came out in 1984 on the heels of The A-Team and Blue Thunder and featured a helicopter with hidden weapons and capabilities. The Airwolf itself was a modified Bell 222 helicopter, used for both utility and executive transport. Remaking the series would require keeping the fictional helicopter’s role the same, an attack vehicle capable of blending into an urban airspace. With the Bell 222 no longer in production, another base model would be needed. Fortunately, a Google quick search brings up several suitable models from Sikorsky and AgustaWestland that have similar appearances to the original Airwolf.
The vehicle: The Bluesmobile, a former Mount Prospect police Dodge Monaco.
As mentioned last year, The Blues Brothers was adapted from a series of musical sketches by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi on Saturday Night Live. Elwood (Aykroyd) had to trade their old Cadillac for a microphone, replacing the caddie with a former Mount Prospect police car dubbed the Bluesmobile. The car, a 1974 Dodge Monaco, was chosen because Dan Aykroyd felt it was the hottest police cruiser in the 1970s. In Blues Brothers 2000, the new Bluesmobile was a 1990 Ford LTD Crown Victoria, an ubiquitous vehicle in law enforcement. A remake of the original movie, a daunting challenge in itself because of the music, would need a make and model of car that has been used as a police car. A used Crown Vic from a more recent year would work, as would a used Dodge Charger.
Back to the Future
The vehicle: A silver DeLorean DMC-12, modified.
In the Back to the Future trilogy, crazy Doc Brown modified a DeLorean DMC-12 to become a time machine, powered by a nuclear reactor. The DeLorean had several things going for it – unique appearance and not well known. The former let the car look cool, a different type of sports car than what was normally seen on screen. The unfamiliarity helped with people not knowing about its performance issues. TVTropes lists the car under the Real Life section of The Alleged Car. Doc Brown was crazier than people suspected. A remake of the movies will have to keep the DeLorean in mind; either to keep the signature car or find a new vehicle that fits the same role. Most car manufacturers prefer not to make bad cars; they cost money, either in lost sales or in lawsuits.** At the same time, a car that’s unique would also fill the role well; for example, a Tesla Motors Model X.
Next week, back to the reviews.
* Something has to remain original.
** The Ford Pinto with its exploding gas tank comes to mind here.