Monday, May 09, 2011

In lieu of content, please enjoy the good Masters of the Universe mugging the evil ones:


That looks like a straight-up jacking, there. From Masters of the Universe: the Rock Warriors, written by Michael Kirschenbaum, illustrated by Fred Carrillo. What the hell, let's take a quick look at another page, where He-Man sells--I mean, uses, the Dragon Walker, a vehicle so impractical it makes an Imperial AT-AT seem like a reasonable around-town car.

Anyway, I saw Thor on Friday, and liked it quite a bit. Then on Saturday, I watched Almighty Thor on SyFy, and got drunk and passed out fell asleep halfway through it. Sweet merciful crap, it was terrible. And to tie it into this post, for no apparent reason, a good chunk of the movie takes place in downtown L.A, to capture the fish-out-of-water feel of the Masters of the Universe movie. Or to be cheap, either or.

If you are not familiar with the Asylum...you lucky bastard. They're a low-budget movie studio that gets a lot of play on SyFy and specializes in "mockbusters," thinly-veiled knockoffs of big-budget films. They've brought us such classics as Transmorphers, the Terminators, and Snakes on a Train...seriously? Since the films are made with exceedingly low-budgets, they inevitably turn a profit, usually when people accidentally rent them at Blockbuster.

But my intent wasn't to knock their business model (since it seems to be working for them) but their scripts. Their Wikipedia page points out that the Asylum's films are made under a tight turnaround time, and the "scripts take from an hour to a few weeks to write." And it shows. A lot. And I realize the story is going to have a number of constraints, from budget and CGI concerns to availability of cheap locations to how knock-offy they can get before any copyrights are infringed. I get that. But, I still think it's possible to work within that framework and not produce something you'll be ashamed to spend two hours drinking to watching. Think less knock-off, more 'homage.'

So, I was going to write an open letter to the Asylum: whatever their next mock-buster or tie-in or whatever was going to be, for twenty bucks and two cases of Guinness I would take a stab at re-writing it. I'd still work within the budget, I wouldn't write a part for a star or anything, and I'd keep my trap shut confidentiality-wise. Mainly, I would just try to remove plot holes and cliches and the crap dialog, but if asked I could serve up a new plot, too.

For example, for the next Trans-Morphers, which I imagine production is probably due to start on any day now; I had an idea for a plot that would involve surprisingly little CGI. Our plucky college-age antagonist finds evidence from a missing professor suggesting that alien robots are infiltrating the earth disguised as everyday machines. The student laughs it off, of course, until the hero's roommate is killed in a freak electrical accident in the dorms...an accident that may have been meant for the hero. (I'm trying to write this gender-neutral...) The hero still doesn't buy it, until a couple more of the professor's notes support the theory, maybe a couple more 'accidents,' and now our hero's wondering if the professor was crazy...or they are.

$20 bucks and some Guinness, Asylum...think it over.

3 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

Yeah, I don't want to knock them either, but seriously, my dead dog could write better coherent scripts than them, and he's/was a dog! I hope they take you up on your offer after they read a couple of your scripts. Of course, they could just might rip off your skits too though! Imagine, a low-budget buddy comedy/action movie with knock-offs of Falcon, Deadpool, and Nightcrawler, but with loose renditions of your words and wit. It could happen.

By the way, not to start something, but how in the hell can you get past the horrible taste of Guinness? I'm a Bud Light/BL Lime/Captain Morgan man myself.

Susan said...

To quote my husband: "How can you like Guinness? It tastes like earwax! Harp Ale is better."

Back on topic...thank you for introducing me ot the term "mock-buster". It's got a better ring to it than "rip-off". Also thanks for taking the bullet for me and watching "Almighty Thor". First time I saw the commerical for it, I muttered, "Marvel should sue." With luck, we shall be seeing the REAL Thor later this week and enjoying the heck out of it. :)

googum said...

I had a friend that went to Ireland and came back with a taste for it...well, he said he went to Ireland. He may have just spent a week chugging Guinness and watching Darby O'Gill and the Little People...I picked it up later, when I used to drink rather labor-intensively. Couple of Guinnesses would get me too full to get ripping drunk...

Y'know, it occurred to me that whoever owns the rights to Fighting American should run to the Asylum, get a knockoff Captain America flick done as soon as they could crap it out...