Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Ways to Write A Martian Manhunter Movie

With The Avengers a rip-roaring success for Disney, fans on the Internet are busy wondering when Warner Brothers will launch a Justice League of America film. They tried before, with George Miller as the director and a script that tied-in to then-current storylines like The OMAC Project and Checkmate, but he had cast too many relative unknowns as the heroes and the script had been rushed into production too quickly.

There's a lot of talk about how c  following the formula Disney-Marvel made to get to an Avengers film would not be possible - Christian Bale is done playing Batman, Green Lantern tanked, Zack Snyder's The Man of Steel  is still a question mark and nobody knows what to do with Wonder Woman or The Flash. So everyone is looking toward the rest : Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Plastic Man...etc. I want to play, too, starting with the other green guy - not the Hulk, not the Green Hornet, not the Spectre, not Green Arrow, not Green Lantern (he needs a break)...J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter .

I already mentioned in a previous post that I imagined Taylor Lautner as the Martian Manhunter and I haven't been turned off yet by that decision (the character is shirtless and pantless most of the time, so we need a popular young actor with pecs that can carry over 120 minutes). He played Sharkboy, for crying out loud! As for the voice, that's moot. Lawrence Fishburne was the voice of the Silver Surfer, so why not try casting him again as the voice of J'onn? There we go. Actor? Check. Voice? Check.

Also, the powers. MM has a wide range - he's Superman with extra powers, or the Fantastic Four-in-1. He can shapeshift/stretch, become invisible/intangible, has super "breath" (he can blow out any candles on any birthday cake), flight, super-strength,super-speed, "Flame vision" (fire shoots out of his eyes) and is telepathic. He is also a compulsive snacker: he loves Oreo cookies, or any other sandwich cookies (obviously, I would love to see a package of Oreos with J'onn J'onzz on the wrapper. That would be just right). He also may or may not still have a fear of fire...and may or may not still be the last of his kind...I'd rather avoid all that continuity baggage and focus on J'onn as an interesting complete character.

The villains - the White Martians, Scorch (a winged devil-gargoyleish chick with firestarting powers), Bette Noir (an albino vampire, kind of like Batman foe Nocturna, but BN is a vampire, whereas Nocturna was just a glamed-up goth who played like a vampire)...I'd throw the Ultra-Humanite in there because he'd offer a  great visual - an albino ape with a Broccoli-shaped head and the voice of Jeremy Irons. Works for me.
Directors are tricky. I wouldn't mind Brad Bird or Terry Gilliam taking a crack at it - they would find a way out of the rut that a lot of these superhero movies are in - MM  would/should have a different approach to it...

5 short as possible.

Film Noir - yes, yes, in this genre, there are no winners, but who cares? In the comics, he supposedly rivals Batman as a great detective, so I would revisit The Maltese Falcon, only instead of a statue of a bird, how about kryptonite? An absorbascon? A talisman of the Bat-God Barbattos? Mercury's slippers? A golden lasso? set-up, set-up, set-up, set-up...

High Noon - how about planting the seeds for the rise of the Justice League with the disbanding of the Justice League International? J'onn has to suddenly put down the cookies and save Earth on his own, showcasing the full range of his powers. I would pit him against Manga Khan, who always seems one step away from the Fourth World  villains of Apokilips... set-up, set-up, set-up...

"It's Like Die Hard But With A Martian Superhero!" - I couldn't resist that old chestnut, but think about it - J'onn rivals Batman in efficiency as well as deductive reasoning. This could be fun. Supervillains only, please. Bank robbers and generic Bond villains need not apply.

Remington Steele - The romantic comedy. He's fronting a struggling detective agency run by an attractive and intelligent, but neurotic P.I. and they go search for that macguffin I'd set up in the film noir pitch. How about Pierce Brosnan dubbing the voice?

Supermax - a few years ago, there was a pitch for a high-concept Green Arrow feature inspired by the TV series Prison Break, in which Green Arrow wound up in a prison filled with DC Comics Supervillains. Sharp-eyed fans might recognize the story played out in Marvel Comics' Thunderbolts with Hawkeye, not GA. Anyway, forget Green Arrow - why not let it happen to J'onn J'onzz? The concept would still work, only it would rise more to the occasion because you had a superhero who could put up a real fight.

Anyway, that's enough from me. It's time Hollywood put the spaghetti in the machine and started rolling. I know a place that sells green paint real cheap.

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