Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Top Ten SF Films...

... that never existed. Or so this guy says. Actually, most of David Wong's list has movies that were made... poorly. And as usual with lists, there are some on his that I disagree with. Was Alien 3 bad? Most definitely. Did it "kill the franchise" as Wong claims? He seems to have forgotten 1997's "Alien: Resurrection" which, while not up to the second - and best - movie of the franchise, wasn't bad at all.

So, a counter list. In the order thought of...

10: WATCHMEN - In-and-out of turnaround so much that they've mounted revolving doors on Paramount's sound stages. During its long, pre-production history casting rumors have included Robin Williams as Rorschach and Sigourney Weaver as Silk Spectre (at this point in time, it would have to be Silk Spectre I). Terry Gilliam once considered directing WATCHMEN, but eventually concluded it was unfilmable, although he later said it might make a good 12-episode miniseries. I own three different versions of the script, and even I've attempted to script it.

9. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - I liked Starship Troopers, in fact I'm probably one of the few who liked Starship Troopers II, and I'm a fan of the Roughnecks CGI series, too, which is much closer in spirit to Heinlein's book than the proto-fascist film, which RAH probably would have hated passionately. Given Hollywood's success with Phillip K. Dick adaptations, it's surprising that so few other movies have been adapted from Heinlein's books, except for the inferior "The Puppet Masters." I think Stranger in a Strange Land (which, Mick Jagger was supposedly going to star in lo, many years ago) is a little too long-in-the-tooth (like Jagger himself) to be a viable movie, but I sure would like to see what I think is the best of Heinlein's books, TMiaHM, on the screen. Ja! Da!

8. Neuromancer - The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

"It's not like I'm using," Case heard someone say, as he shouldered his way through the crowd around the door of the Chat. "It's like my body's developed this massive drug deficiency." It was a Sprawl voice and a Sprawl joke. The Chatsubo was a bar for professional expatriates; you could drink there for a week and never hear two words in Japanese.

Does that read like a script, or what? But, by God, don't let Gibson write it.

7. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - I can hear the story pitch now, "Yeah, get this! Batman's old, really old. Think Sean Connery, but even older. He comes out of retirement, and starts breaking criminal's arms and legs. The Joker comes out of retirement, kills David Letterman and the whole studio audience, and Batman breaks his neck! Oh, and Robin's an 11-year-old girl, did I mention that? So, the government freaks out and they get Superman, and he and Batman have a big fight! And this doesn't even include the mutants, the other big fight at the amusement park, and nuclear winter!!!" Man, the studio execs would piss their pants. And we'll never see it. DC/Warner will never let it happen.

6. Snow Crash - Yep, I agree with Wong on this one. Stephenson seemingly could never decide whether he wanted to write this book straight or not (I mean, a main character named Hiro Protagonist? C'mon Neal), and it's be super-hard to adapt, but...

5. Miracleman - Probably the least likely to ever be produced, given its tortured ownership issues. But, you know Matrix: Revolutions and the big battle between Neo and Smith? Now think - if you've read the comic - of the fight between Johnny Bates and Miracleman. Think of 90 minutes of that. OMG! Nuff said.

4. Red Thunder - Possibly the most likely to be produced, as Varley is reportedly working on a screenplay based on this very good, Heinleinesque/John D. MacDonald-like book about a group of misfits who decide to go to Mars. On the other hand, Varley wrote the execrable (sorry, John) screenplay Millennium, based on his wonderful short story, "Air Raid." so he may not be ah, the right choice to script this. And, btw, it'd be nice to see "Air Raid" done right, too.

3. The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything - All right, I'm cheating. It was made as a TV movie. But not a good TV movie. Clockstoppers got closer, but this is the story of what it would mean if Time waits for one man. And while we're on the subject of John D., are we ever going to see a decent Travis McGee movie? Ever? Please?

2. A Song of Ice and Fire - Yes, yes, I'm cheating again, Martin's yet uncompleted series is fantasy, not sf. So sue me. Wolfs, dragons, incest, epic battles, foul murder, feasts, bards, fools, storms, tourneys, the living dead, who can ask for more? I want to see this on screen, or preferably as a gigantic, multi-episode mini-series. Actually I want Martin to finish the damn thing sometime in my lifetime, and then see it on-screen. One is as likely, as the other, I fear. And, I have to say it, what is about sf authors that their web sites suck so badly? Is it to show they're too busy writing?

1. Black Hole - Any time I have the opportunity to flog Charles Burns' wonderful graphic novel, I'm a happy camper. Neil Gaiman reports that he's pitching a (I think yet unwritten) adaptation to Paramount. The mind boggles. And, Neil, while you're at it, could we get American Gods, too?

Thanks to my bro, Lee, for the productivity-busting link.

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