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Superman V "FlyBy" (Spoiler Script)
« on: Jun 22nd, 2003, 10:04pm »
2nd Draft Script Review
Faster than a speeding bullet!
More powerful than a locomotive!
Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!
Look, up in the sky!
It's a bird!
It's a plane!
No, it's Superman!
Who among us hasn't heard all or part of these legendary words? Bright, colorful images of this ageless tale are instantly called to mind when one hears the word, "Superman." Superman stories have been entertaining generations of peoples in print, film, and radio since Action Comics #1 featured Superman in 1938. And coming to the big screen in 2004 (supposedly) is another take on the Superman saga… "Uh-oh, Babosa. You're a comic book purist. How can you give this script a fair shake?" Here's why. Superman, in his various incarnations, has been done and redone many times in the past 60-odd years. As this isn't the first try to enlarge Superman from ink to screen magic, I'm totally open to differing and new interpretations of the stories and the Man. So here we go…
Flyby, by J. J. Abrams (also known as Jeffrey Abrams, he's written several TV episodes of Alias (2001), Armageddon (199, and Forever Young (1992)), is the newest re-write of the next Superman movie being made and put out by Warner Bros. But before I really get into this script, let me summarize the typical origin of Superman to give some points of reference. Far from Earth lay a strong-gravity, 3-mooned planet named Krypton that fostered a technologically advanced civilization under a red sun (yeh, I know. A red giant doesn't burn in that phase long enough to develop that kind of life, but, C'MON, it's a comic!). Krypton was home to the Kryptonians, for our purposes, most notably Jor-El. A prominent member of the Science Council, Jor-El called for a council gathering in the Hall of Wisdom to discuss his theory about the recent spate of earthquakes (or would they be kryptoquakes there?) plaguing the planet. Jor-El gave a grand speech, but his fellow scientists scoffed at his escape-the-destruction-of-Krypton theory and accused him of trying to exile them to space so Jor-El could seize control of the government. So Jor-El rushes back to his mate and explains to her all that went on at the meeting. Using his save-the-Kryptonians model Space Ark, Jor-El and his wife send their son off to a refuge planet called Earth. On Earth, little baby Kal-El's spacecraft crashes on the Midwest farm of Jonathon and Martha Kent. They are a childless couple (infertile) who desperately crave children to pass on their wisdom. Long story short, the Kent's raise young Clark Kent (they don't know his real name), with all his emerging talents, into the able-bodied Superman.
Flyby begins with a video image of a hurried, middle-aged television newscaster shakily announcing the conflict on Earth as a battlefield for warring aliens…then all hell breaks loose in the newsroom as everything quickly explodes out of frame. Indeed, the building housing the newsroom is blown apart, along with 5 city blocks of other buildings, by the thousand-fold hurricane force winds issuing from the blowing mouth of a darkly cloaked, sword bearing, handsome thirty-year old man; his name is Ty-Zor (we'll find out more about him later). The camera pulls back a couple of blocks to show two red boots hitting the pavement with a definite THUD. Pan around and rise to reveal a bruised and bloodied Superman wearing his trademark red and blue tights (hehe) now shredded from battle. Then follows what seems to be (if the special effects are cool) a Gandalf vs. the Balrog (latest Lord of the Rings pic…it's a must see) type of flying, twisting, punching battle through the streets and buildings of Metropolis. The chase ends at an abandoned University Observatory at night. Superman blasts into the building scanning with his x-ray vision while being taunted by the dark whisper of "Kaaaal-Ellll" that Superman's super-hearing picks up. Supes tracks the whispers to a part of the observatory (now a makeshift laboratory) that his vision can't see through (Rats! Lead-lined walls and doors!). So he proceeds to tear open each door down a hallway.
"Superman, it's a trap!"
Yep, Superman is brought to his knees by… well, we don't see what he sees, but we do hear a voice over of Ty-Zor saying, "I want to hear you cry, Kal-El. Like your mother cried…(hehehe)," at which point Superman screams and we cut to an idyllic pasture scene with a young 5-year old girl plucking crystal flowers from a landscape of field and forest under three moons in the crimson glow of a red sun daytime sky. This scene is 29-years earlier than the opening battle scenes. She is roused from her innocence by the distant, yet growing ever closer, ground shaking thumps of something mighty big coming her way. From a nearby forest edge lumbers out a 12-story tall, 2-legged walking mech warrior (like the video game of the same name) followed by dozens of his fellow "Rousers". All are manned by seemingly evil Kryptonians led by the ruthless Kata-Zor (Hmmm, related to Ty-Zor? We shall see.) who is bent on destroying the main (good) society of Kryptonians in the capital city of Kandor. The leader of the Kandor group is the brother of Kata-Zor, Jor-El (39 years old at this time according to the script). Jor-El, sensing the impending doom of his civilization as he knows it, convinces his wife, Lara, to go through with their plan to launch their baby boy, Kal-El, to a safe haven far away from the planet Krypton. WHOOOOOSH!!! The escape pod blasts into space as Jor-El sends Lara off with a trusted ally to somewhere else on Krypton. Jor-El goes back to kick ass…er…um…get captured by his younger brother's cronies. This bit ends with Kata-Zor telling Jor-El that he knows Kal-El was sent off planet in a futile attempt to fulfill the Great Prophecy; so we watch from off-planet as Kata-Zor sends a thousand pods (with one evil dude in each) off to search for and kill the baby Kal-El. Oh, by the way, at this point an extremely large explosion-like tear a hunk of the planet out kind of explosion-rocks Krypton (presumably the capital city and it's population seat). Back to Earth as Martha and Jonathon Kent, in their late thirties, are eating breakfast when Kal-El's pod comes crashing onto their farm sliding right up to their doorstep amongst a heap of dirt (good Midwest farmin' soil!). Mr. Kent climbs down into the unnaturally excavated ditch, and out pops nine-month old Kal-El from the once liquid-filled capsule; of course, this is where Martha's maternal we-gonna-keep-this-here-baby-cause-we-cain't-get-preggers-natchrally (well, not exactly with those words…hehe). So they do. Then follows scenes and flash-scenes illustrating the highs and lows of raising a child that has ever emerging superpowers of Superman kind (ya know…super-strength, flying, super-hearing, etc.) in poignant and sometimes quite humorous ways. Young Clark Kent grows up as a reserved thoughtful farm boy in the small Midwest town of Smallville.
Meanwhile, during part of that timeline, we meet Lex Luthor. In the comics, Lex is a same-aged peer (on Earth) of Clark who only starts resenting Superboy (a separate comic series - Superboy comics were pretty good. Even Kal-El's childhood pet dog on Krypton, Krypto the Superdog, had a series!) when a lab accident has Lex losing his hair when Superboy's super-breath sprays chemicals on Lex; this script plays it differently. Here, Lex Luthor is a forty-ish, disheveled, failing salesman hawking "quality" shoes door to door while those doors all slam in his face. One particularly rough day, Lex, driving at night in the pouring rain, has an encounter that will reshape his life. What Lex thinks is an out of control small aircraft, with its lights flaring, hurtles over his moving car to crash nearby. Luthor stops to investigate and comes upon the shattered remains of one of Kata-Zor's hunting pods surrounded by glowing green rocks (Hmmm, what could those be?). Lex leans in close to see a shriveled up one of Kata-Zor's soldiers. Aaah! Shock as the barely alive soldier grabs Lex's hand and transmits his Kryptonian knowledge and consciencness into Luthor (not enough mind stuff to take Lex over, mind you, just enough to infuse Lex with a renewed strength and purpose). It's during this "infusion" that Lex's hair falls out to wash away in the rain as the Kryptonian dies. CUE THE FRIGGIN' LIGHTNING! The next few scenes show more of Clark growing up as an extraordinary ordinary kid, for good and for worse. And just as Martha and Jonathon are telling Clark he's an alien of some kind from somewhere they know not of, we transition back to Krypton where Kata-Zor's soldiers capture Queen Lara. Ty-Zor brings her to the racked and tortured Jor-El to try to get the whereabouts of Kal-El from him so the prophecy (we'll find out more about that in the next 2 Super films, I guess…) won't come to pass. Doesn't work, so Ty-Zor shows his prowess with a Kryptonian blade. Transition back to Earth where Clark, in college, meets the fiery Lois Lane for the first time. Blah-blah-blah, then we fade-in to a now 29-year old Clark Kent being escorted by young photographer Jimmy Olsen down the halls of the Daily Planet, Metropolis' major newspaper. There he encounters the cantankerous Perry White (THE BOSS!) and meets up again with Lois Lane who is now a driven reporter/writer for the newspaper. Clark, now a cub reporter assigned to shadow Lois, experiences Ms. Lane's out of control nature as she publicly (at a banquet) accuses the now quite economically powerful Lex Luthor, head of the huge technology firm of Lexcorp, of monitoring all information traffic that goes through Lexcorp computer chips (basically everything as the chips are in computers, cell phones, phone switches, etc.). Of course, Luthor eloquently dodges the question and has Lois and Clark escorted out by security. Mr. White is pissed, but assigns Lois, and Jimmy, anyway to interview the President of the United States aboard Air Force One. Just as Lois is about to start the interview (uh-oh), one of the engines explodes and Air Force One rolls into an uncontrolled dive. WHOEVER CAN SAVE THEM!?! As Clark lazily sleeps in his new apartment, a TV voice over alerts him to the impending disaster. Clark, usually mild mannered, gets a sudden dose of courage, puts on his blue and red flying suit (his mom gave it to him years ago in the "growing up" scenes), scans the sky, then races off into the cloud filled blue as SUPERMAN! Yep, Supes saves the plane in Super fashion (setting it down in the middle of a televised game at Fenway) while ignoring the President to see if Lois is all right. Lois doesn't recognize that this handsome hunk with a big "S" (if only all us guys had a big "S" to attract women like Supes…hehe…she's smitten in a big way!) is really Clark Kent, so Clark decides to help the world via Superman while maintaining his true low-key lifestyle of being Clark. And Lex Luthor, with a slight grin, saw the whole thing unfold on TV. So Lex, still possessing the Krypton Soldier's space vehicle, intuitly activates some controls on the kind-of-repaired pod back at his main laboratory. He has summoned Ty-Zor, and three of Ty-Zor's dark comrades, to where Kal-El lives. While we wait for those guys to show up on Earth, Superman flies across the globe (Earth) helping out as much as he can. We also witness the love posturing twixt Superman and Lois as well as Lois and Jimmy continuing to snoop on Lex. Speaking of Lex, he finally meets up with the Kryptonians and manages to "convince" them they should help each other. Ty-Zor wants Kal-El dead and Lex wants to rule the Earth. The deal is struck.
Oh crap! Superman's super-hearing picks up an ominous whisper. He flies (really fast!) through Metropolis looking for the voice and finds it in Ty-Zor who is hovering mid-city while city folk gape and TV cameras stare at the scene. Ty-Zor takes off with Superman following. What follows is a big time, quick chase superspeed battle through the streets and skies of Metropolis. It's during these scenes that we meet up with the chaos of the script's opening scenes. Alas, Supes is led into a trap of dire proportions. I won't reveal what EXACTLY happens (Babosa likes to keep some things about a film a mystery, but you've probably figured that out now from reading my previous script reviews - by the way, if you've seen the latest Steve Martin/Queen Latifah flick, let me know how you think the actual movie compares to my script review of the then entitled In The Houze…), but, suffice it to say, Kal-El manages to become very powerful indeed. Anywho, with Superman seemingly out of the way, the Kryptonians fulfill their part of the bargain with Lex by laying waste to all the Earth's peoples so that Lex can make all of humanity bow to him (Lex just can't take a bite without eating the whole thing.). What follows is a spectacular end-fight sequence between Superman, the four Kryptonians, and some surprise dinner guests. But what becomes of Lex? And what becomes of Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El? The answers to those questions and more will be answered (hopefully, it would suck if they just did one film and then left us high and dry with questions) in the 2nd and 3rd Superman movie in this supposed trilogy.
Wow, this is a damn good script! It reads quite well and is filled with vivid imagery that should be able to be translated to the big screen rather easily and realistically with today's computer technologies. J.J. Abrams does a great job of building a director's view right into the script. Some of the dialogue and scenes, especially between Superman and Lois, are strongly reminiscent of Christopher Reeve's first Superman flick (197, but, like I mentioned earlier, some recurrent theme information strings are going to happen; indeed, they probably should happen to maintain a cohesiveness of the thought and ideals that the Superman saga oozes. But who doesn't love a classic fight between good and evil. The fighting scenes in this one (especially the flying ones) should play incredible IF the film is given enough money in it's budget to wow the audience with dazzling special effects. And with Peter's Entertainment ( Ali (2001), Wild Wild West (1999), My Fellow Americans(1996)) backed by the powerhouse of Warner Bros. ( Smallville TV series (2001-present), some of my favorite cartoons ( I love the young vulture flying home to ma singing, " I'm bringing home a baby bumble-bee…"), and a crapload of TV and film stuff for the last 70 years), legendary might, methinks they just might have a large enough budget to make this film a blockbuster hit if…IF…IF…( drawn out fading echo…)
Well, there's a lot of "ifs" associated with this film which is still in proloooooonged pre-production. Brett Ratner is directing this pic…uh..er…was directing this pic, but it's dragged on way too long in pre-production for him to stay on. McG (a.k.a. Joseph McGinty Nichol, director of Charlie's Angels (2000)) has been rumored as a possible director. And the studly man (seems like they're looking for a guy about 6' 2" tall) to portray the Man of Steel is…hmmm, for a while it was 25-year old Josh Hartnett (Black Hawk Down (2001), Pearl Harbor (2001), The Faculty (199), but rumor was that he didn't want to commit to 3 Superman films over a 10-year period. Others rumored to have tested for the lead include 26-year old Matthew Bomer (All My Children (2000) and The Guiding Light (2001-present)), 35-year old Brendan Fraser (The Mummy Returns (2001), Dudley Do-Right (1999), Airheads (1994)), 30-year old Paul Walker (Timeline (2003)…see Babosa's script review on that one…, The Skulls (2000), Pleasantville (199), and 32-year old David Boreanaz (Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) TV series and Angel (1999) TV series - but he had scheduling conflicts with the film and his Angel series). But, then again, maybe it will be Josh Hartnett after all; he looks more the part (facially) out of all of them. There's even a petition by adoring TV fans to try and get Dean Cain ( he did the TV series Lois & Clark (1993)) to be granted an audition. Most other roles aren't cast either. Rumor mill has Laura Flynn Boyle wanting to play Lois and Justin Timberlake wanting to play Jimmy Olsen. Who knows. The only lock is 66 - year old Anthony Hopkins as Jor-El (that one sounds good). Jon Peters and Jay Stern are, supposedly, still the producers. Also sounds like they might reprise music created by John Williams (Man, this guy has written a LOT of musical scores!) for Superman the Movie (197.
THIS MOVIE IS IN PRE-PRODUCTION HELL!!! Will this spell the end for this project? Probably not, as long as films based on comic books continue to be big draws to the box office, but they had better hurry. The last comic book fad from the late 1970's to the early '80's ( with such corny TV favorites as Wonder Woman (1976 - 1979), The Incredible Hulk (1978 - 1982), the "hit" film Puma Man (1980) although originally released as Vomo Puma), as well as the aforementioned Chris Reeve's Superman Movies ( 1978 - 1987 ) faded in just a few years (granted, the special effects then left a lot to be desired when compared with today's). So the longer this Superman movie waits, the harder it might be to recoup the cost of production if interest does wane for the genre. I hope this movie gets off the ground (pun intended) soon, as I would like to see it. I liked how the script grabbed me by starting out with the flash-forward action sequence then leading the story back to that point. Interesting touch. Not too crazy about the name of the movie if it stays Flyby though. But the special effects paired with all the various fight scenes promise to make this one a wonderfest for the eyes and ears. Hopefully they'll resolve their casting issues soon and get their collective butts in gear to put out a quality movie…hmmm, maybe Babosa should try out for the lead…SuperSlug…"Faster than a snail, more powerful than a big-ass beetle…"…Naaah, my beergut would make me aerodynamically unstable anyway…sigh…