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Posts Tagged ‘script’

The Lone Ranger – First Look At The Script

Posted by LiveFor on September 10, 2009

LoneRanger0CoverDW1003The always excellent Latino Review have managed to get a look at a script for The Lone Ranger written by Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio.

Jerry Bruckheimer recently said at the Licensing International Expo that development on the film was going full steam ahead, but all we really know is that Johnny Depp is Tonto and Mike Newell may be directing it.

As for the Ranger himself, Matthew McConaughey is rumoured to be the favourite, but I am still not sure if that would work. Anyway, below is the script review and it sounds as if things could be serious on this one.

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Tron 2 – Script Review – Spoilers

Posted by LiveFor on June 20, 2009

The first Tron film was excellent and the news of a sequel excited me when I first heard about it. Finally we have some more information about Tron 2 from this script review by CC2K. It is a great review of a first draft of the script. Lots and lots of spoilers so you have been warned – details on the plot and characters. Check out the full review though as there is lots more to see. First of all though, let’s remind ourselves of the footage from last year.

Remember the Encom corporation? Well, they’re hard at work on a new global information network called X-Net. They’re pitching it as the world’s only 100 percent secure information network. Encom code monkeys are working ’round the clock to get X-Net ready for launch, but a powerful virus keeps attacking their core system: a virus called Tron. Meanwhile, other computer viruses have been proliferating around the world, making X-Net a massive success before its launch. Everyone is terrified that the world’s computer systems – from the Internet on down – are going to crash, and X-Net is the only solution.

Encom’s evil CEO, named Sinclair in this draft, engineered the global virus attacks to frighten everyone (and I mean everyone) to get on board with X-Net so he’ll have total control over all the world’s information.

What happened to Flynn?

Years ago, Sinclair managed to use the lazer-digitizer thingy from the first movie to zap Jeff Bridge’s character (Kevin Flynn) into the Encom system. Sinclair thought he killed Flynn, but Flynn has remained alive inside the system as a freedom fighter. Flynn used the Tron program as the base code for a powerful new app that’s designed to take down X-Net.

What about Tron?

Pretty much a cipher. He doesn’t have any dialogue, and Rush kills him about midway through the movie. His new look and new moves sound extremely badass, though.

The Characters:

Rush/Sean Flynn – Confused leading man and our proxy in the story. He eventually claims the Tron mantle.

Megan/Mega – The hot babe. I presume that Olivia Wilde is playing this role, and the thought of her in luminescent spandex sounds just fine.

Sinclair/Plexor – The bad guy. Indistinguishable from Dillinger/Sark in part one. Will John Hurt play this role?

Krod – A search program, and the movie’s comic relief. Pretty funny, with lots of off-kilter dialogue.

D-Rezz – A powerful deletion utility that helps out the heroes. Has the potential to be pretty cute. He growls menacingly at various bad guys while clobbering them and dies in a scene sure to distress the kiddies.

I-Beem – A frazzled denizen of the cyber-world. I’m not sure what kind of app he is, but he can teleport from one place to another.

Kevin Flynn – The hero of part one. In this movie, Flynn’s trapped deep inside the system and is the rougish leader of an army called the Finity Fighters. Jeffries portayal of Flynn isn’t bad, but as a leader, Flynn is stuck saying a lot of sis-boom-bah, inspirational speeches that feel strange coming out of his mouth.

Rumor held for years that Tron 2 would follow the structure of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and that we would discover a Flynn who had retreated deep inside the system and lost some part of himself. Jeffries’ script clearly includes an element of that idea, but it’s missing two things:

1. Flynn hasn’t lost his mind.

2. Flynn isn’t a god.

It all sounds a little hit or miss at the moment. Think it is going to hang on the look and if the actors buy into the whole thing or not. It’s the first draft though so things could change. If you read the above what are your thoughts on it?

Discuss in the forum or leave a comment below.

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Paul – The script for Nick Frost and Simon Pegg’s new film has been seen

Posted by LiveFor on June 5, 2009


Rich Johnston over at Bleeding Cool has seen the script for Paul. This is the film where Pegg and Frost play two blokers who visit a comic convention and end up meeting an alien called Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). Then it turns into a bit of a road trip featuring Sigourney Weaver, Jason Bateman and Bill Hader amongst others. It is directed by Greg Mottola and is due to start filming soon. They will be doing some shooting at the San Diego Comic Con, so if you are going keep an eye out for them. Here’s what Rich has to say about it.

This script is chock full of gags, bursting at the seams. Comedy of repetition, plenty of pull-back-and-reveals and overflowing pop cultural references including one Back To The Future gag that had me gasping for breath I laughed so hard. But these references aren’t surface, they are used to describe the relationships that the characters have with each other. Why use words to explain how you feel, when you can just find a common episode of Star Trek that does the job a lot more effectively. It’s honest, it’s true, yes it’s mocking but in a way that both validadates and celebrates both the actual reality and the often unrealised potential of the geek lifestyle. Damn it if the screenplay isn’t moving and poignant in places. But mostly it’s Simon Pegg and Nick Frost revisiting their past screen partnership performances, the friends who know each other so well, forgive the other’s eccentricities as their own are forgiven and would likely die for each other. As long as they were trying to Capture the Flag. No one does bromance like these boys. It’s not surprising that Paul is the character who seems, well, most normal most of the time.

Sounds like it could be another excellent comedy from the Pegg / Frost duo.

Discuss in the forum or leave a comment below.

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Script review

Posted by LiveFor on January 25, 2009

IESB have the script review for the Captain Nemo origin story that McG recently said he was going to direct. Sounds a bit fishy at the moment (did you see what I did there?)

The film opens with CAPTAIN NEMO having a dream. He’s naked with fish swirling all around him. (Ok, we’ll see if this actually makes it into the film)

NEMO awakens, his ship is headed into Mumbai Harbor circa 1850. He is welcomed by DAKKAR and a poorly playing band. DAKKAR quickly extends his deepest sympathies about the recent death of NEMO’S mother but instead of taking him to the grave as NEMO wishes, DAKKAR is under orders to take him to the governor’s office immediately, something that NEMO isn’t happy with.

NEMO and DAKKAR board a train, three spies jump into the last car without notice.

NEMO is taken the the GOVERNOR GENERAL’S office. The general is appalled that NEMO isn’t in uniform. We quickly find out that the general is actually NEMO’s father.

After a confrontational conversation, NEMO must take his post in Her Majesty’s service as his father has commanded. NEMO is unhappy at the treatment of the Indian people and his father’s insistence.

As NEMO supervises the artillery drills. We see the three spies from earlier have infiltrated the army and are in full uniform with rifles.

NEMO senses something is wrong. He uses an elephant to get a lift to the top of the fortress wall and sees hundreds of Indian insurgent soldiers ready to invade the fortress. He sounds the alarm.

Chaos ensues as the soldiers open fire on NEMO and the soldiers inside the fortress turn and fire on the English officers and on each other.

Lots of fighting, explosions, deaths and narrow escapes follow.

Suddenly a horse riding soldier appears, the scarf falls away to reveal a woman, her name is RANI. She rides like a warrior and heads down the hall full speed with the reigns in her teeth, a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other.

NEMO quickly rides his horse to cut her off at a pass. They collide and a horseback swordfight is on between the two. NEMO is shot in the arm.

The description of the swordfight is so full of sexual connotations and wild passion as these two have more of a “sword tryst” than a “swordfight.” It’s bit too Zorro Catherine Zeta Jones versus Antonio Banderas for me.

After being close enough to kiss, she headbutts NEMO and leaves him staring down the barrel of her pistol. She motions him to move, he is up against a giant aquarium full of exotic fish. He won’t move, she leaps to get her sword instead, he jumps and slides. She pulls out her sword, he pulls a book to stop her and of course its the Kama Sutra and it opens to a descriptive drawing. See what I mean, laced with sexual innuendo. Anyway, he ends up punching her, they fight some more.

Plot, plot, plot and we find out the rebellion was to free India from British rule. RANI is part of the rebellion obviously.

NEMO finds out he knew her before as well when she was a servant girl when they were little. But that’s besides the point. They overhear that the rebellion was crushed save for the Jhansi fort where after being promised safe passage all the British men, women and children were slaughtered. NEMO and Rani are devastated by the news. Rani slips away. NEMO goes to see his father who was wounded in the fight and was the target of the rebellion.

Cut to NEMO standing over his mother’s grave. We find Rani watching him, they agree to meet in a more secret place.

Both swim to an island from opposite ends, meet and talk on the shore while eating pomegranates.

Montage begins, we see Rani and NEMO have been seeing each other secretly…music overlayed of course.

Honestly, I am getting the Captain NEMO meets High School Musical vibe here mixed in with The Mask of Zorro.

There are several scenes that cut back and forth between NEMO getting orders and fighting rebels during the day and him and Rani having a contest underwater over who can hold their breath the longest.

Rani tries her hardest to win but soon passes out, NEMO grabs her and they both head for the water’s surface, she is coughing. He drags her to shore and hold her in his arms…love, passion and all that jazz.

Seriously, this is more of a Harlequin novel rather than 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!

The two get married secretly and leave India to travel the world.

Cut to however long later, NEMO is on a steamship in the middle of a storm, his wife and their infant son at his side.

A wave hits, the captain of the steamship (not NEMO) is washed overboard.

Cut to the next morning, the storm has subsided, the crew is struggling to figure out where they are, the compass is spinning. Rani points…they’ve discovered VULCANIA ISLAND!

They dock and find a mining facility along with some fresh graves.

NEMO discovers a room that’s boarded up with the door nailed from the outside, he hears scratching. They break down the door and a man, almost a skeleton, falls out onto the floor. They pear into the room to find it full of dead bodies, contorted in all different positions covered in strange burns.

The crew assumes it’s a plague colony they have discovered and run in fear.

The skeletal name dies in NEMO’s arms.

Cut to a montage of NEMO figuring out Vulcania’s secrets…overlayed with music of course…again.

Cut to NEMO, Rani and son on steamship deck again docking at Mumbai Harbor back in India, the place they fled. NEMO says he’s come back with a “discovery” we aren’t sure what this is, something he learned on the island – how to create power for free. He plans to share his discovery with the world.

He summons his father, the General, to see what he’s discovered. The General says it belongs to the Queen, NEMO refuses and says he plans to share it with the rebels and the world.

BONNEVILLE, the General’s right hand man, says NEMO has already shared it and stabs the General in the back. He yells for the guards and blames NEMO for the killing.

The lake miraculously bubbles up into a fog, just enough for NEMO to jump on his father’s horse and escape. He heads to the palace, finds Rani and the baby and tells her of BONNEVILLE’S betrayal.

He tells her to flee with the child as they will all be killed if found. After she leaves, DAKKAR enters the room, NEMO assumes he’s there to help but he pulls a gun on him and shoots NEMO in the chest. The bullet pierces through NEMO and hits the giant fish aquarium. NEMO falls to the ground, the aquarium shatters and waters spills out everywhere.

Cut to NEMO hung by his wrists, bandaged, breathing raggedly. BONNEVILLE is interrogating him. He tells his men to find NEMO’s wife and child and that is how they will break him.

NEMO is soon sold into slavery. He meets an American DR. CAHILL.

DAKKAR is out hunting for RANI and the child. He finds her during a battle and captures her and the baby.

Guards throw her hair and tell him his wife and son are dead. He cries uncontrollably.

Cut to his dream, the same one that opened the film, nakes NEMO with fish swirling around him underwater. This time RANI is there with him. The images in his mind turn into diagrams and drawings of a whale’s ribcage then an underwater vessel.

He is awakened by his name being yelled by a guard. The guard stabs him in the side with no reaction, NEMO has receded into his mind. As he’s dragged out into the open he does take notice of a few things and figures out a plan of escape.

He is dragged out to where the other prisoners are held and left for dead as an example. The guards leave but NEMO does the unimaginable. He gathers all his strength, takes a deep breath and stands up. He tells the others to listen to him if they want to live.

Time passes, the guards return, NEMO is back in the position they left him in and assume he’s dead.

Obviously not, and he proceeds to escape and take everyone with him.

At the end, he gives a rousing Braveheart slash Bill Pullman Independence Day inspired speech to the prisoners he’s freed. Cahill stands with him along with the men.

Cut to the rebels. We find out RANI and the baby are truly dead. But they conceive a plan to convince NEMO they are still alive as leverage against him. They are also constructing a huge super ship the VIRAGO.

NEMO and the men head to VULCANIA ISLAND to start construction on the NAUTILUS.

Another montage…I swear there are more montages in here than The Breakfast Club!

The NAUTILUS is complete.

Just so you understand the, not to be mean but immaturity of this script let me break down the launching of the famous Captain NEMO ship NAUTILUS, it goes something like this – NEMO breaks a champagne bottle to celebrate… the NAUTILUS is launched to sea…cut to the men cheering…cut to the NAUTILUS as it sinks…cut to the men with jaws dropped dumbstruck…cut to the NAUTILUS as it pops back out of the water….cut back to the men cheering. Whew! A close one!

Wow….

The mean board the skiff to get on board the mighty ship. The nuclear reactor is live. It’s a jolly, good time all around.

They traverse the underwater grotto and encounter a giant sea monster in the form of a spider crab, Battle, battle battle, war ship, war ship, war ship, collision after collision and so on.

NEMO soon tells Cahill and others of his plan to stay out at sea forever, exploring the depths of the ocean….you see the foreshadowing here don’tcha.

BONNEVILLE sees the NAUTILUS and plans to follow NEMO to his base to take it over and build his own version. He tricks NEMO into thinking his wife and son are still alive by planting a buoy in the water with a map with VULCANIA ISLAND circled and her hair clip saying to find them there.

NEMO figures out a point at the straits where all of BONEVILLE’S war ships will have to converge and plans an attack.

The warships lauch torpedo like explosives that cover the NAUTILUS in glowing paint so it can be seen underwater.

The NAUTILUS rams several of the ships underwater and rips the bellies apart.

BONNEVILLE and DAKKAR scan the ocean for signs of the NAUTILUS. Suddenly it breaks the waters surface in all its glory. They are alongside the VIRAGO as NEMO and his men invade the other ship trying to disable their weapons.

Oh wait there’s more, giant mutant monster fish arrive to save the day biting the boats etc. ramming the war ships.

BONNEVILLE and NEMO are fighting. NEMO is stabbed by a dagger. He falls. The NAUTILUS is hit by a turret gun. The men scurry back to NAUTILUS.

NEMO is trying to get back but is plagued by the troubles of slow motion and flashbacks to his wife’s death. He jumps aboard just as it’s pulling away from the VIRAGO.

Three war ships are left.

Through a series of explosions and hot ocean steam acting as a cannon (don’t ask) and a giant sinkhole that swallows up a boat plus a volcanic eruption that creates a tidal wave.

The NAUTILUS is underwater and quickly surfaces, Cahill is thrown and is hurt. NEMO goes to his side, he is bleeding heavily almost dead he is disappointed that NEMO killed thousands of people leading them all to their death through war. He dies in NEMO’S arms.

A part with a seal that climbs stairs (I kid you not) follows, I won’t go into detail here.

They give Cahill an underwater burial and form a pact to keep the secret of the island, the free power from nature, to themselves, a secret to their grave.

The NAUTILUS heads back to VULCANIA ISLAND to dock and repair the ship.

Dissolve to find the NAUTILUS completely repaired looking like a yellow eyed sea monster with Captain NEMO at the helm!

THE END

Sounds pretty poor doesn’t it. Lots and lots of montages, voice overs and cheesy action. At the minute it appears to be a Zorro crossed with Wild, Wild West, crossed with Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood. Oh and a bit of Titanic.

Needs a lot of work and I how the final version McG gives us is a lot cooler and a bit darker. I also don’t think Will Smith will be the right fit got the part.

I think this sums up motages the best.

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The Expendables – Script review for Stallone’s action movie

Posted by LiveFor on December 30, 2008

Vern over at AICN has had a chance to look at Sylvester Stallone’s script for The Expendables and it sounds like it could be a good old fashioned action movie. As Vern says, “This is a movie where a team of 5 can take on an army of 100, where armed men still sometimes engage in martial arts and fisticuffs, where many, many things blow up, where occasionally a character might have something sarcastic to say during combat. In other words, a good old fashioned action movie. An endangered species.”

There is nothing definite as to who is playing what character in the film but is possible, and highly likely that Stallone may play the leader of the group called Barney.

Barney is a very different character from Rambo. For one thing, his name is Barney. For another he talks in more than one sentence sometimes. He’s almost a father figure to the team and finds himself always listening to other people’s problems and trying to be supportive. The other character who gets the most screen time is the lovelorn Lee Christmas. He’s supposed to be American but calls a guy “mate” at one point, which means he’s played by Jason Statham. There’s also Kong Kao, who will be played by Jet Li. He does a lot of kicking, but is much more of a supporting character than Li usually plays. I do think it’s a pretty good character for Li, though, because he gets some funny lines. He’s an unhappy smartass, not the usual Li type of character.”

As well as those three we all know now that Dolph Lundgren is going to be in the action epic. Unfortunately he may only be in the film for a couple of scenes which is a shame. It’s a small but crucial role as an Expendable named Gunnar who comes into conflict with Kong.

Vern also goes onto explain the roles that Forest Whitaker and Sandra Bullock may be playing and he has this to say about some roles that have yet to be cast.

There’s Richard, who is the gay Expendable. It’s a plot point that he’s gay, but they don’t make any dumb jokes about it, he’s just a member of the team. I’m proud of Stallone for that one. On the other hand, the black Expendable isn’t much more than a benign Black Dude stereotype. He doesn’t get enough characterization, but on the positive side he owns a restaurant, is zealous about tacos and has a name even more cartoonish than Lee Christmas: his name is Hale Caesar. I approve of that.”
It’s not clear if this is going to be the final script as many of the fight scenes and characters are a bit sketchy at the moment especially the last big battle that Stallone describes as

“THE BATTLE IS ON!! WHAT ENSUES IS A REMARKABLY SAVAGE EBB AND FLOW BATTLE. TO DESCRIBE THE ACTION DESIGNED FOR THIS SCENE WOULD TAKE MANY PAGES, SO TRUST ME, IT’LL BE LIKE NOTHING SEEN BEFORE.”

I have got a good feeling about this film though. Make sure you have a read of the rest of the script review. Will this be a great action movie or should it be a direct to DVD one?
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Beverley Hills Cop 2009 Script Review

Posted by LiveFor on December 1, 2008


Latino Review have got the script for the next Beverley Hills Cop movie (4 or IV or 2009) and, as expected it doesn’t sound too good. Written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, to be directed by Brett Ratner. Eddie Murphy apparantly doesn’t like it too much. Here is the review. Let me know what you think? Should this be made into the next Beverley Hills Cop movie or should they actually write something decent? Judge Reinhold must be gutted that his chance for a big comeback has gone splat!

It’s been 15 years since Axel Foley was last in Beverly Hills, and screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas needed a good reason to bring him back. That reason comes just a couple of pages into the latest script for Beverly Hills Cop IV (which calls itself Beverly Hills Cop 2009) – Judge Reinhold’s Billy Rosewood takes a leap out the 20th story of the Los Angeles Police HQ. When Axel hears that his former partner and best buddy became sidewalk salad he knows it wasn’t a suicide and he flies to Beverly Hills to get all the facts for himself.

I thought that Beverly Hills Cop 2009 would be a Bad Boys II style movie with all endless car chases and explosions. Brandt and Haas keep it all old school for the most part though, with a small shoot out and chase in the opening and then no more action for like 50 pages until Axel gets into a small fistfight with some East LA gangbangers. Unfortunately, a lot of the shit in the middle is way boring. The whole problem with another Beverly Hills Cop movie is that the basic idea that Axel Foley is this rough and tumble Detroit cop who is a fish out water in upscale Beverly Hills is played out. He’s done a lot of time in Beverly Hills. In this movie they mention that they teach his cases at the police academy and that a restaurant had an Axel Foley sandwich on the menu! (It’s been renamed the Timbaland) Axel Foley knows his way around LA better than his new partner on the case who was born there.

That new partner is Goodwin, a fat rookie with low self-esteem who has a crush on a lady cop in the facial recognition department. When he’s not solving the mystery of who tossed Billy out the window, Axel is playing matchmaker with these two. He’s also teaching Goodwin how to be a better cop. It’s like the Axel Foley Finishing School.

Along with Goodwin, Axel teams up with a limo driver named Elliot, who is the wise cracking comic relief. You wouldn’t think you would need comic relief in an Eddie Murphy movie, but Axel Foley has no funny lines. I don’t know if Brandt and Haas wrote the character unfunny to give Eddie room to ad lib or if they just think having him drop f-bombs every third line is the height of laughs, but Axel Foley is pretty much a Terminator in this movie. He just keeps moving forward no matter what like a shark in the water trying to find out who killed Billy.

It turns out that Billy was learning about a group of corrupt LAPD officers who were involved with gun running with a Beverly Hills rich kid who has ties to the military. The mystery isn’t that big a deal, and Axel mostly gets from place to place by half-assedly conning people. He makes up a fake story about who he is and then doesn’t follow through on it. It’s like Brandt and Haas saw the first BHC and just didn’t have the energy to write anything that matched up to it.

The really weird thing is that Axel Foley just isn’t a character in this movie. In the opening he’s followed a suspect into Canada and is illegally extraditing him, and from there he never takes a breather to be anything but a supercop. It’s almost like the writers took an Arnold Schwarzenneger script they had lying around and changed the details to make it a Beverly Hills Cop movie. There’s no fun in it.

The basic story of Beverly Hills Cop 2009 isn’t terrible. It’s a pretty standard police corruption story that has a personal edge for Axel Foley, and Brandt and Haas make it feel like an 80s action film by keeping the action more grounded, even though the final fight does include RPGs. But there’s no fun in the movie and it feels like it needs another draft to make the film an Axel Foley adventure and not a generic cop getting revenge picture.

Below is a mashup of the Axel Foley them with the Beastie Boys

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Dr Evil would be happy. The Dark Knight has almost made $1 billion dollars. You can also now download the screenplay

Posted by LiveFor on November 11, 2008


batman by ~anima-parilis on deviantART

The Dark Knight is nearing the $1 billion dollar mark, with a grand total of $997,535,317 in box office receipts (as of Monday morning). The film has made $528,535,317 domestically (just $72,252,871 below Titanic’ record) and $469,000,000 overseas.

That is a whole lot of money.

Warner Bros is planning a big rerelease of the film in January so the amount of money it makes will just keep going up and up. I think it is going to take some beating.

Warner Bros have also released Christopher and Jonah Nolan’s screenplay online for Awards Consideration. You can download it for free on WarnerBros.com.

What Oscars do you think The Dark Knight should be nominated for?
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Akira – Script review of live action remake

Posted by LiveFor on November 9, 2008

This review of the Akira script is from Latino Review. Let me know your thoughts on it.

According to the trades, Warner Bros. will turn anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s six-volume graphic novel “Akira” into two live-action feature films, the first of which is being fast tracked for release in summer 2009. Each feature will be based on three of the books in Otomo’s series. The story takes place in New Manhattan, a metropolis that was rebuilt after being destroyed 31 years earlier.

Dr. Strangefist is a huge fan of the 1988 anime and recently took a look at the script by Gary Whitta. He chimes in with his thoughts below.

I am not anti-remake. They do not incense me like they do some people. In fact, I kind of like the idea when they’re done well, even if that’s not all that often, and when they are bad I generally subscribe to the notion that the original is still out there for you to watch and the remake can only increase awareness of it amongst the general movie-going population. So no harm no foul. Still, I can’t help but be a little skeptical, or at the very least nervous, when I hear that a film I love is being remade, or a book I love being adapted, and so on. Even if a remake isn’t ultimately going to take away from its source material I want it to do it justice and maybe even turn out to be something good in its own right. So as I’m sure you can imagine I was pretty damn skeptical approaching Gary Whitta’s screenplay for a live action American version of Akira, a personal favorite and easily one of the best and most influential anime films of all time. Many of you will probably be surprised to hear that the verdict is overall positive, or at least not altogether negative. In fact it’s pretty firmly somewhere in the middle.

The story takes place in a burgeoning new metropolis of the future, several years after a cataclysmic event destroyed the old city that once stood in its place. Unbeknownst to most of the populace, the real cause of the event was a small boy with incredible psychic powers, part of a top secret government program attempting to harness such so called “Espers” as weapons. The project is deemed too dangerous, and the young boy – AKIRA – is put in cryogenic stasis in a secret underground facility to prevent such a disaster from ever occurring again. In probably the most significant change and the only one that really bugged me, the events of this version are shifted from Tokyo to New York – but after the city is destroyed and the United States’ economy collapses, burgeoning superpower Japan buys the devastated island to construct a new city to house their ever expanding population. So the film will still technically be set in New Tokyo, but on the island of Manhattan, and with about half the characters being American and the rest remaining Japanese. It’s a somewhat odd way of appealing to American audiences and fans alike, and feels somewhat awkward, but does allow for some up to date political commentary.

In the ruins of the surrounding boroughs live KANEDA and TRAVIS, two young men who became good friends after being orphaned by the disaster and have since looked out for each other. They are now part of a biker gang called the Red Devils, which tries to maintain the peace in the lawless, neglected, impoverished outskirts they call home. KANEDA is the cocky leader, like a big brother to restless TRAVIS. Following a run-in with a rival gang and a chance encounter with some people smuggling a strange young boy out of the city, TRAVIS inadvertently unlocks dormant psychic abilities and KANEDA gets involved in a resistance movement attempting to stop the resurrected Espers research program, headed by the military and Vanguard, a Blackwater-esque private military contractor. SHACKLETON, an army colonel who was part of the original experiments, mainly wants to contain these powerful psychics and protect the city, while NELLIS, defense secretary in the pocket of Vanguard, wants to restart the weapons development side of the program.

With the help of his new allies RAY, former Vanguard employee and leader of the resistance, and KAY, one of their former test subjects, Kaneda attempts to rescue Travis, who has been taken into custody by Shackleton and his team. Travis’ new powers are so powerful that they awaken the mind of the sleeping Akira, and Shackleton fears a repeat of the cataclysmic event that destroyed the city so many years before. Travis finds himself inexplicably drawn to Akira, and, his ego and powers spiraling out of control, he escapes from captivity and goes on a rampage of destruction trying to reach the secret facility where Akira is kept. The story becomes a race to stop him – Kaneda, Kay, and Travis’ girlfriend KAORI wanting to bring him back alive and sane, and Shackleton intent on destroying him to prevent another apocalyptic event. True to the epic scope of the original, this is only part one of two planned movies, so the script ends with a huge but intriguing cliffhanger.

The people out there who demand faithfulness in adaptations and remakes should be pleasantly surprised, even if not outright delighted by this script; sure, a few elements are slightly watered-down, Hollywood-ized, Americanized – but there is no outright wrecking, ruining, or childhood raping going on here. All things considered it is shockingly faithful to the source material, at times reading like a flat-out transcript/description of the animated movie, and even incorporating aspects of the original manga that were left out of the anime version. It is faithful not only in plot and character details, but in tone. It retains the darkness, the violence, the epic qualities and even some of the themes, though they’ve been tweaked, Americanized, and updated to apply to current events. They are also maybe a bit less complex, but still this is admirable. This adaptation actually retains a lot of the style and, more surprisingly, substance of the original. If you are already a fan, you will probably like this adaptation, because a lot of the same things are good about it.

The other side of that coin, though, is that it’s not bringing many fresh ideas or perspectives on the material to the table. What I love about good remakes or adaptations, what in fact makes some of them good, is that they are opportunities for artists with distinct voices and visions to take already existing works and re-interpret them, pay respect to them but use them to say new things and make them their own. There is very little of that happening here. Don’t get me wrong, as much as I’m talking about how faithful it is, a lot of that reaction is due to my surprise that it’s not a complete bastardization. We’re not exactly talking Gus Van Sant’s Psycho levels of slavishness here. But it’s not a particularly fresh take either. Neither infuriatingly dumbed-down nor invigoratingly creative and exciting, it just kind of exists – at least as a script.

The big, looming unknown that remains now is if the quality of the filmmaking can not only do justice to the words on the page, but ultimately to help justify the whole thing’s existence. The original is known as much if not more so for being a stunning visual feast as it is for its story and themes, so if this project fails in that regard it will probably be a disappointment regardless of how true the script is to the source. And at the same time, I think what I’ve said above applies to currently slated director Ruiri Robinson just as much as it does to the writer; if he just apes the visual style and shots of the original it’ll get points for being faithful but won’t be very exciting or interesting. It’s going to need to look just as good, but at the same time different to really stand apart from the other version, at least in the eyes of this fan.

Having said all of this, I’ll add that I’d still rather have a finished product that hews very close to prior incarnations and maybe doesn’t have a lot to say on its own than one that hopelessly dumbs down or simply discards everything that made the original a classic – and of course, that all depends on how things pan out in part two. If this script is an indication of the direction in which this project is headed, and if it indeed stays on this path, than I think it will yield something that fans will find satisfying overall and which also potentially has a lot of appeal to newcomers. I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of someone who hasn’t seen or maybe even heard of Akira before and I’m thinking that this would strike me as pretty awesome stuff. As a remake it may not be necessary, but then again what really is when we’re talking about entertainment?
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Akira – Script review of live action remake

Posted by LiveFor on November 9, 2008

This review of the Akira script is from Latino Review. Let me know your thoughts on it.

According to the trades, Warner Bros. will turn anime artist Katsuhiro Otomo’s six-volume graphic novel “Akira” into two live-action feature films, the first of which is being fast tracked for release in summer 2009. Each feature will be based on three of the books in Otomo’s series. The story takes place in New Manhattan, a metropolis that was rebuilt after being destroyed 31 years earlier.

Dr. Strangefist is a huge fan of the 1988 anime and recently took a look at the script by Gary Whitta. He chimes in with his thoughts below.

I am not anti-remake. They do not incense me like they do some people. In fact, I kind of like the idea when they’re done well, even if that’s not all that often, and when they are bad I generally subscribe to the notion that the original is still out there for you to watch and the remake can only increase awareness of it amongst the general movie-going population. So no harm no foul. Still, I can’t help but be a little skeptical, or at the very least nervous, when I hear that a film I love is being remade, or a book I love being adapted, and so on. Even if a remake isn’t ultimately going to take away from its source material I want it to do it justice and maybe even turn out to be something good in its own right. So as I’m sure you can imagine I was pretty damn skeptical approaching Gary Whitta’s screenplay for a live action American version of Akira, a personal favorite and easily one of the best and most influential anime films of all time. Many of you will probably be surprised to hear that the verdict is overall positive, or at least not altogether negative. In fact it’s pretty firmly somewhere in the middle.

The story takes place in a burgeoning new metropolis of the future, several years after a cataclysmic event destroyed the old city that once stood in its place. Unbeknownst to most of the populace, the real cause of the event was a small boy with incredible psychic powers, part of a top secret government program attempting to harness such so called “Espers” as weapons. The project is deemed too dangerous, and the young boy – AKIRA – is put in cryogenic stasis in a secret underground facility to prevent such a disaster from ever occurring again. In probably the most significant change and the only one that really bugged me, the events of this version are shifted from Tokyo to New York – but after the city is destroyed and the United States’ economy collapses, burgeoning superpower Japan buys the devastated island to construct a new city to house their ever expanding population. So the film will still technically be set in New Tokyo, but on the island of Manhattan, and with about half the characters being American and the rest remaining Japanese. It’s a somewhat odd way of appealing to American audiences and fans alike, and feels somewhat awkward, but does allow for some up to date political commentary.

In the ruins of the surrounding boroughs live KANEDA and TRAVIS, two young men who became good friends after being orphaned by the disaster and have since looked out for each other. They are now part of a biker gang called the Red Devils, which tries to maintain the peace in the lawless, neglected, impoverished outskirts they call home. KANEDA is the cocky leader, like a big brother to restless TRAVIS. Following a run-in with a rival gang and a chance encounter with some people smuggling a strange young boy out of the city, TRAVIS inadvertently unlocks dormant psychic abilities and KANEDA gets involved in a resistance movement attempting to stop the resurrected Espers research program, headed by the military and Vanguard, a Blackwater-esque private military contractor. SHACKLETON, an army colonel who was part of the original experiments, mainly wants to contain these powerful psychics and protect the city, while NELLIS, defense secretary in the pocket of Vanguard, wants to restart the weapons development side of the program.

With the help of his new allies RAY, former Vanguard employee and leader of the resistance, and KAY, one of their former test subjects, Kaneda attempts to rescue Travis, who has been taken into custody by Shackleton and his team. Travis’ new powers are so powerful that they awaken the mind of the sleeping Akira, and Shackleton fears a repeat of the cataclysmic event that destroyed the city so many years before. Travis finds himself inexplicably drawn to Akira, and, his ego and powers spiraling out of control, he escapes from captivity and goes on a rampage of destruction trying to reach the secret facility where Akira is kept. The story becomes a race to stop him – Kaneda, Kay, and Travis’ girlfriend KAORI wanting to bring him back alive and sane, and Shackleton intent on destroying him to prevent another apocalyptic event. True to the epic scope of the original, this is only part one of two planned movies, so the script ends with a huge but intriguing cliffhanger.

The people out there who demand faithfulness in adaptations and remakes should be pleasantly surprised, even if not outright delighted by this script; sure, a few elements are slightly watered-down, Hollywood-ized, Americanized – but there is no outright wrecking, ruining, or childhood raping going on here. All things considered it is shockingly faithful to the source material, at times reading like a flat-out transcript/description of the animated movie, and even incorporating aspects of the original manga that were left out of the anime version. It is faithful not only in plot and character details, but in tone. It retains the darkness, the violence, the epic qualities and even some of the themes, though they’ve been tweaked, Americanized, and updated to apply to current events. They are also maybe a bit less complex, but still this is admirable. This adaptation actually retains a lot of the style and, more surprisingly, substance of the original. If you are already a fan, you will probably like this adaptation, because a lot of the same things are good about it.

The other side of that coin, though, is that it’s not bringing many fresh ideas or perspectives on the material to the table. What I love about good remakes or adaptations, what in fact makes some of them good, is that they are opportunities for artists with distinct voices and visions to take already existing works and re-interpret them, pay respect to them but use them to say new things and make them their own. There is very little of that happening here. Don’t get me wrong, as much as I’m talking about how faithful it is, a lot of that reaction is due to my surprise that it’s not a complete bastardization. We’re not exactly talking Gus Van Sant’s Psycho levels of slavishness here. But it’s not a particularly fresh take either. Neither infuriatingly dumbed-down nor invigoratingly creative and exciting, it just kind of exists – at least as a script.

The big, looming unknown that remains now is if the quality of the filmmaking can not only do justice to the words on the page, but ultimately to help justify the whole thing’s existence. The original is known as much if not more so for being a stunning visual feast as it is for its story and themes, so if this project fails in that regard it will probably be a disappointment regardless of how true the script is to the source. And at the same time, I think what I’ve said above applies to currently slated director Ruiri Robinson just as much as it does to the writer; if he just apes the visual style and shots of the original it’ll get points for being faithful but won’t be very exciting or interesting. It’s going to need to look just as good, but at the same time different to really stand apart from the other version, at least in the eyes of this fan.

Having said all of this, I’ll add that I’d still rather have a finished product that hews very close to prior incarnations and maybe doesn’t have a lot to say on its own than one that hopelessly dumbs down or simply discards everything that made the original a classic – and of course, that all depends on how things pan out in part two. If this script is an indication of the direction in which this project is headed, and if it indeed stays on this path, than I think it will yield something that fans will find satisfying overall and which also potentially has a lot of appeal to newcomers. I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of someone who hasn’t seen or maybe even heard of Akira before and I’m thinking that this would strike me as pretty awesome stuff. As a remake it may not be necessary, but then again what really is when we’re talking about entertainment?
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Script Review for Prince of Persia is out.

Posted by LiveFor on November 5, 2008

First Showing have a review of the full script of the Prince of Persia movie starring Jake Gyllenhall. It contains lots and lots of spoilers but it sounds pretty good. Here’s a little on what they have to say about it.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time feels like it could be a great adventure story. There are plenty of amazing action sequences, a decent plot and some really fun time travel sequences. Think Pirates of the Caribbean action, Kingdom of Heaven setting, and a dash of Back to the Future. It’s got a solid plot and is going to be really fun to watch. The characters are all believable and entertaining. The action is top notch. However, there are times when the writers decided to make Dastan do something completely unbelievable. Rather than thinking of how cool it would look, I was more inclined to roll my eyes at the absurdity of it all. These moments are rare and small blemishes on what I think is going to be an entertaining movie.

I am concerned that these moments may also resonate with other questionable choices being made for this film, notably the lead casting choice. In the script, Dastan is described as a lean and athletic Persian man. But starring as Dastan is the blatantly American Jake Gyllenhaal who, in leaked set pictures, looks less “lean and athletic” and more like he’s been filling his eclairs with horse steroids. Personally, I can’t see the hulking Gyllenhaal performing realistic wall running stunts and acrobatic flips. Are the filmmakers going for adventure fantasy or a rough historical epic adventure? This is the confusion that I think could pull audiences out of the story, which is sad because it’s really a great story. It might not exactly be groundbreaking storytelling (in essence, an uncle kills a king to get the throne as a young prince struggles with it all – Hamlet anyone?), but it’s damn good entertainment.

Disney has touted this film as the next Pirates of the Caribbean, and it very well could be. What Prince of Persia lacks in vividly memorable characters like Captain Jack Sparrow, it makes up for with tons of entertaining eye candy action. Free running sequences like those seen in the beginning of Casino Royale have become extremely popular, and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is full of them. Just imagine the combination of free running and sword fighting (because sword fighting is always cool!) – if the stunt coordinators can make it look visceral and real, we’ve got a great treat on our hands. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is going to be fun, unbelievable at times, but very, very fun.

What do you think of the sound of that?

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