Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fan X-23 Movie Tips - Potential Script Revisions

Forewarning.  This is long winded.  Like moreso than what's normal for me.  So much so to the point I'm not sure I'll be seeing straight for a few days now with the headaches this gave me.  Anyway, as promised here's my views on what revisions to the origin minis would be needed and how an origin theatrical feature should be handled.  Remember, you were warned, because Jiminy Cricket did this turn out long.

I've always maintained the same view on this.  If a movie was to be done based around X-23, it should start with her origin.  This is the perfect place to appeal to the comic fanbase as well as audiences at large.  X-23's origin tale is a masterfully woven story from Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost, but not all of it is applicable to the big screen or for general audience appeal.  There are also a handful of mild plot points that need to be more robust for audiences and some mild plot holes that need paving over.

So the starting point is simple.  Use the basis from Innocence Lost to tie this into X-Men Origins: Wolverine to maintain film continuity.  The opening bit wouldn't be that hard as it's marginally the same to what happened in that movie with Wolverine's escape, but with the addition of Dr. Dale Rice's  act of espionage and death as he attempts to get out before anyone finds out what he's stealing or the escaping Wolverine kills him by accident.  The film could open with this pre-title and help establish the first half's narration by Dr. Sarah Kinney, X-23's mother.  This would help set the tone for what follows in the first half which should strongly feature more heavily on Dr. Kinney.  The Wolverine origin feature never does show what happens on the inside of the door Logan escapes from which is where this death would have to occur anyway for Dr. Sutter to recover the sample as the Weapon X project is frantic in trying to recapture Logan.  Role title, and then slap a so and so years later banner on as the post-title starts with Dr. Kinney and Dr. Sutter hiring her.

The rest of that mini-series is pretty easy to follow for film accuracy and audience appeal.  There are a few spots where things need to be stronger emphasized like how Dr. Kinney made a viable embryo without the lab inventory taking noticeable losses.  This would be best emphasized with elaborating Dr. Zander Rice's belittlement and rhetoric aimed at Dr. Kinney.  Most poignantly emphasized similar to how the mini does it when he confronts her to be the surrogate because of her genetic compatibility to the viable embryo.

Another spot from this miniseries that would need to be changed is the addition of Kimura to earlier into the story.  She doesn't make her appearance in the origin until Target X retcons her in, which this film would have to rectify.   This does help the viewers in many ways though.  By implementing Kimura sooner into the story, it allows for an easy way around the self-mutilation that could be a ratings issue though may need to be kept due to the psychology of the issues involved. 

While the rating is a concern, it can be pointed out that X-23 herself isn't human and therefore isn't subject to the same rating as a normal human child under this treatment would give a movie.  It's sad to say, but the treatment of anthromorphic characters, robots, aliens, clones, and similar genetic creations aren't subject to the same stipulations of treatment that "normal" human characters have even though to an audience the impact is the same once they are attached to the character on screen.  It's a huge oversight the MPAA has, but it's one that can be exploited here.  This film will be dancing between the PG-13 and R ratings pretty easily.  Some cuts will have to be made to potentially keep this in the PG-13 range for best audience appeal, though an outright R director's cut could work on the dvd/bluray release and could very well be feasible for theaters.  With how an R rating could hinder the box office, playing it safe might be best.

There are bits that need to be added from the Liu ongoing series though too.  Items such as Alex Cimini's parents who were killed that helps establish a pattern of X-23 saving children against orders.  This would be perfect to help top off the mission montage used in the mini.  The puppy Laura was given as a child is another that should probably be added as it helps display why Triggerscent was created.  Further diving into Triggerscent, the job she was hired to do by Kingpin would need to be added.  Not problematic right now as Fox owns the Daredevil film rights for now, but that could change come October.  That would need to either be cut completely from an X-23 film, or adapted using a Mafia boss mutant of film creation or obscure comic-lore. 

Another scene that could potentially be cut centers around Dr. Zander Rice's infidelity with Dr. Sutter's wife.  While this does help add a layer of panic and reason to his killing his father figure along the lines of an Oedipus Complex, is it really needed to display his sociopathic tendencies and downward spiral?  It eats up time and becomes problematic, though it does open up doors for sequel potential with the child having been suggested to be his. which is a concern for him to lose his seat of power from his mentor.  Since this information is outside Dr. Kinney's view though as the letter is the framing point, it is probably best to cut from the origin and use as information if the untold tale about the son of Zander Rice is ever used in a sequel film(it has yet to be touched upon in the comics too).  The only problem with cutting it is it makes Zander's motives a bit more unclear as to why he uses X-23 to kill Dr. Sutter and family which is the crux of the ending buildup for act 1.

The death of Dr. Sutter and Zander Rice's usurping of the Facility does need to be kept though.  Herein lies another set of problems.  X-23 saving Megan Kinney at a young age happens right before this, which is what led to X-23 not killing the Sutter child.  By using a pattern from previously (as the ongoing suggested) to establish that X-23 would have not killed him, it helps block the plot hole created from Dr. Kinney being proud of her for that moment that she inadvertantly self-created from rewarding X-23 for saving Megan Kinney prior to that event.  The other problem from this is that the saving of Megan Kinney happens, then the Sutters are killed, which leads right into Dr. Kinney trying to help her daughter escape as she's finally hit a point of moral and ethical clarity as well as what could be argued as maturity.  This bleeds right over into X-23, once free, seeking out Megan Kinney and Debra Kinney.  All of this seemingly has no time passage inbetween.  A time overlap needs to be included that establishes years have passed inbetween these events of saving young Megan, and running to the Kinney's to protect them after escaping the Facility(as is suggested in the second origin mini about maneuvering out of the Facilities tracking reach before going to them).

That's within the confines of the first hour also.  The first act should focus on Dr. Kinney's letter as the narrative, but also help establish the key players in this tragedy and end on Laura having been named and escaping the Facility grounds through the skills they taught her.  Much could still need to be cut or accelerated in details to help fit within the time constraints of that but the action piece transition could be cathartic to viewers.  So it needs to stay.  Plus it helps establish how Laura thinks outside the box to incapacitate Kimura to escape.  The second act though could follow more closely to Target X.  With having removed the elements of flashbacks from Target X, we've freed up ample amounts of time now for this second and third act to fit within an hour or so.

The narrative should change at this point to the question style that Target X uses.  Again Daredevil/Matt Murdock is open game currently to use with Fox, but with that possibly changing in October, it might be best to use Douglas Ramsay as an adult who counsels in mutant affairs(depending upon his usage and era within the much talked about potential New Mutants movie).  His ability of reading body language could play as the same factor Matt Murdock's skills of a human lie-detector does.  The other problem here is in Steve Rogers aka Captain America.  Fox does not have the rights for him, and as much as it'd be awesome for this feature to be the connecting piece into Marvel Studios cinematic universe, it's not likely.  With that change away from SHIELD though, it allows an earlier introduction of a different agent.  Again they could approach obscure comic-lore, but it might be best to use Agent Morales from the X-Force story Not Forgotten.  If she's not available for rights usage, they might have to research for someone else that's open to use and fits.  Without SHIELD, they could also implement the MRD(Mutant Response Division) into the film continuity.  Post the events of X3: The Last Stand, this seems highly likely as a government response anyway.

With the narration change as the letter ends being read by aloud by Ramsey/Murdock, the next part should open with revealing X-23 is captured again, but by these two who have questions that need answers.  With the Cap/Morales/whoever usage earlier as part of the politician protection detail, it gives us an opening into those motives for this as they ask her questions that leads to the audience seeing how she was captured.  This allows the rest of Target X minus the Facility flashbacks to be told, barring potentially the Triggerscent elaboration maybe.  Again that one borderline hits time constraints and since the narrative at this point is being voiced by Laura, it may not be needed, but could help establish the point for audiences.  Possibly something for a Director's cut again.

Everything else from Target X can stay barring one minor changes and one major change.  One minor change is in the tv store front that allows X-23 to see where Logan is staying.  This needs to be changed to something simpler and easier to digest like a pawn shop store front, or a tv by a cashier at the end of their night on the town montage.  This change also needs to feed into film continuity and relfect news events of the Phoenix/Alcatraz Island incident instead of Xavier's press conference that announces what his school has always been.  This could feed into the notes Dr. Kinney had on Logan staying at the Xavier institute too, which explains how Laura finds him for act 3.   This places act 3, the Wolverine and X-23 fight, a few weeks after the third X-Men film.

As for the major change.  The major change is in how X-23 deals with Kimura.  More directly when Laura handcuffs Kimura to the basement wall.  Laura pulling the chain that causes the explosion at the Kinney house puts her at the epicenter of the blast.  This works symbolically but also contains a minor logic flaw as it means she couldn't have escaped.  This needs to stay even though it could be seen as a plot hole initially.  By using this scene to suggest that Laura did indeed kill the Kinneys while trying to stop Kimura, it helps end the narrative of that point for now and moves us along into her facing Logan near the school to end this all before she gets captured by the MRD and taken to Murdock/Ramsey for questioning by Cap/Morales/whoever.   With those scenes still ending the same as seen in the miniseries, the followup scene of her bus ride to New York can be used to suggest she did manage to lie to Murdock/Ramsey and trick Cap/Morales into letting her go free.  Here as she's thinking of all that's transpired, a scene can be inserted that she did let the Kinney's escape first, and had attached a string to the light switch or chain that reaches to a window so she can pull it from outside instead of pulling the basement light bulb chain while being at the center of the blast.  This maintains the initial shock of the scene earlier but also allows her family to escape as 'ghosts' that go from one safe house to the next following Laura's advice and explains how Laura went from their household to getting her locket to then finding Logan.  This keeps her family safe from both the Facility and the aforementioned MRD so that they can't be used to get to her.  It also allows for the time constraints to be played with as these are parts that can be done right before credits to during credits.

The final scene should still be the same as the mini-series, with the last lines of Dr. Kinney's letter being read about how much she loves her daughter.  Lines that should be cut from Murdock/Ramsey's reading earlier since it doesn't pertain to the case they are dealing with in establishing facts, but is a more emotional note to end on that allows Laura to reflect on her mother as the final closing credits are rolling.

For an extra bonus, the after credits scene should show Laura disembarking from the bus in New York and then have Deadpool in full comic-accurate movie-stylized costume run past her with him screaming "The Bee-men are coming! The Bee-men are coming!"

Phew.  Okay that was long.  Some of this still needs to be better rounded out and of course as mentioned many times there are time constraints to play within too.  Thankfully, as mentioned, a director's cut could alleviate many issues in that regard.  These are the revisions I would do to the script though for the most part.  Initially I made the mistake of keeping it majorily entirely intact minus the self-mutilation points and the Rice-Sutter affair.  It worked out well within the timeframe marginally, but didn't really seem to have the same impact it needed.  The lack of the Rice-Sutter affair also made Zander Rice's motives a bit unclear and made him seem only power mad without rhyme or reason.

For the chronology, if you place the Weapon X Logan escape at 1977(two or more years before the 3-mile island incident maybe?), this gives us 15 or so years for Zander to grow up(best to place him at about 8-12 years old with the opening scene) which places us at 1992 for Dr. Kinney to be recruited.  This can lead her into a year or two later for Laura to be born, placing us at 1993 or 1994. Laura and Megan  both growing up, puts them at about roughly the teenage years needed in 2008 or so roughly.  By playing with the birth year, it can manipulate the ages needed for these two, which is easy as it can be extended by how long it takes Dr. Kinney to create a viable sample for X-23, or the amount of failures Dr. Rice has had or even the age Dr. Rice was when his father died during the Weapon X escape.  It might be best to place Laura a year or two older than Megan too, but then use Laura's healing factor as reason for why she seems to age slower than Megan.

For me at least, that's where the bulk of the headache that comes from thinking about this.  Doing the age math is a royal pain in the...

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