Wing Commander (feature film)

From Academic Kids

Wing Commander is a 1999 science fiction film based on the Wing Commander computer game series.

Directed by Chris Roberts, the creator of the computer game series, it stars Freddie Prinze, Jr., Saffron Burrows, Matthew Lillard, and Tchéky Karyo.

In the United States, the film was rated PG-13 for sexual references and Sci-Fi action/violence.

The film borrows heavily from naval warfare films such as Das Boot, going so far as to include a scene where the TCS Tiger's Claw is "depth-charged". It was shot on a minuscule budget - resulting in, among other things, unconvincing aliens that appear as little as possible in the final edit of the film - and was a commercial and critical failure.


Set about one month before first original Wing Commander (computer game), the story unfolds in the middle of an interstellar war between the human Terran Confederation and the cat-like alien Kilrathi Empire, the movie follows the exploits of Christopher Blair, a young pilot assigned to the TCS Tiger's Claw. There he and the crew of that carrier are given the mission to buy time for the Confederation's fleet to set up a defensive line to protect Earth and to help stop the invading Kilrathi armada. While this is going on, there is also tension between Blair and the crew of the Tiger's Claw due to the fact that he was born a "Pilgrim", one of a strain of humanity (who have special powers) that had previously fought against the Confederation.

Differences from other Wing Commander works

The movie, while having several similar features to the games and the books (the names of the characters and ships), has some differences, such as the inclusion of the Pilgrims as a subset of humanity that had not been mentioned before. Other differences mostly are in the way the ships look (those in the movie are presented as an earlier model of those in the games), and changes to several characters' ranks and postions. The appearance of the fighters is mainly due to the resourcefulness of the special effects team, who built the fighter mock-ups from scrapped RAF fighters. Character backgrounds have been altered (in particular, Admiral Tolwyn's), rendering the movie of dubious canonicity.

For example, Angel speaks not with a French accent but a British accent, while Paladin, instead of Scottish, speaks with a French accent. Several sub-plots developed in Wing Commander II and III, including Blair's relationship with Angel and Paladin's assignment to Special Operations, are developed in the film.

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