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Sunday, 25 January 2009

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Script review

IESB have the script review for the Captain Nemo origin story that McG recently said he was going to direct. Sounds a bit fishy at the moment (did you see what I did there?)

The film opens with CAPTAIN NEMO having a dream. He's naked with fish swirling all around him. (Ok, we'll see if this actually makes it into the film)

NEMO awakens, his ship is headed into Mumbai Harbor circa 1850. He is welcomed by DAKKAR and a poorly playing band. DAKKAR quickly extends his deepest sympathies about the recent death of NEMO'S mother but instead of taking him to the grave as NEMO wishes, DAKKAR is under orders to take him to the governor's office immediately, something that NEMO isn't happy with.

NEMO and DAKKAR board a train, three spies jump into the last car without notice.

NEMO is taken the the GOVERNOR GENERAL'S office. The general is appalled that NEMO isn't in uniform. We quickly find out that the general is actually NEMO's father.

After a confrontational conversation, NEMO must take his post in Her Majesty's service as his father has commanded. NEMO is unhappy at the treatment of the Indian people and his father's insistence.

As NEMO supervises the artillery drills. We see the three spies from earlier have infiltrated the army and are in full uniform with rifles.

NEMO senses something is wrong. He uses an elephant to get a lift to the top of the fortress wall and sees hundreds of Indian insurgent soldiers ready to invade the fortress. He sounds the alarm.

Chaos ensues as the soldiers open fire on NEMO and the soldiers inside the fortress turn and fire on the English officers and on each other.

Lots of fighting, explosions, deaths and narrow escapes follow.

Suddenly a horse riding soldier appears, the scarf falls away to reveal a woman, her name is RANI. She rides like a warrior and heads down the hall full speed with the reigns in her teeth, a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other.

NEMO quickly rides his horse to cut her off at a pass. They collide and a horseback swordfight is on between the two. NEMO is shot in the arm.

The description of the swordfight is so full of sexual connotations and wild passion as these two have more of a “sword tryst” than a “swordfight.” It's bit too Zorro Catherine Zeta Jones versus Antonio Banderas for me.

After being close enough to kiss, she headbutts NEMO and leaves him staring down the barrel of her pistol. She motions him to move, he is up against a giant aquarium full of exotic fish. He won't move, she leaps to get her sword instead, he jumps and slides. She pulls out her sword, he pulls a book to stop her and of course its the Kama Sutra and it opens to a descriptive drawing. See what I mean, laced with sexual innuendo. Anyway, he ends up punching her, they fight some more.

Plot, plot, plot and we find out the rebellion was to free India from British rule. RANI is part of the rebellion obviously.

NEMO finds out he knew her before as well when she was a servant girl when they were little. But that's besides the point. They overhear that the rebellion was crushed save for the Jhansi fort where after being promised safe passage all the British men, women and children were slaughtered. NEMO and Rani are devastated by the news. Rani slips away. NEMO goes to see his father who was wounded in the fight and was the target of the rebellion.

Cut to NEMO standing over his mother's grave. We find Rani watching him, they agree to meet in a more secret place.

Both swim to an island from opposite ends, meet and talk on the shore while eating pomegranates.

Montage begins, we see Rani and NEMO have been seeing each other secretly...music overlayed of course.

Honestly, I am getting the Captain NEMO meets High School Musical vibe here mixed in with The Mask of Zorro.

There are several scenes that cut back and forth between NEMO getting orders and fighting rebels during the day and him and Rani having a contest underwater over who can hold their breath the longest.

Rani tries her hardest to win but soon passes out, NEMO grabs her and they both head for the water's surface, she is coughing. He drags her to shore and hold her in his arms...love, passion and all that jazz.

Seriously, this is more of a Harlequin novel rather than 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea!

The two get married secretly and leave India to travel the world.

Cut to however long later, NEMO is on a steamship in the middle of a storm, his wife and their infant son at his side.

A wave hits, the captain of the steamship (not NEMO) is washed overboard.

Cut to the next morning, the storm has subsided, the crew is struggling to figure out where they are, the compass is spinning. Rani points...they've discovered VULCANIA ISLAND!

They dock and find a mining facility along with some fresh graves.

NEMO discovers a room that's boarded up with the door nailed from the outside, he hears scratching. They break down the door and a man, almost a skeleton, falls out onto the floor. They pear into the room to find it full of dead bodies, contorted in all different positions covered in strange burns.

The crew assumes it's a plague colony they have discovered and run in fear.

The skeletal name dies in NEMO's arms.

Cut to a montage of NEMO figuring out Vulcania's secrets...overlayed with music of course...again.

Cut to NEMO, Rani and son on steamship deck again docking at Mumbai Harbor back in India, the place they fled. NEMO says he's come back with a “discovery” we aren't sure what this is, something he learned on the island – how to create power for free. He plans to share his discovery with the world.

He summons his father, the General, to see what he's discovered. The General says it belongs to the Queen, NEMO refuses and says he plans to share it with the rebels and the world.

BONNEVILLE, the General's right hand man, says NEMO has already shared it and stabs the General in the back. He yells for the guards and blames NEMO for the killing.

The lake miraculously bubbles up into a fog, just enough for NEMO to jump on his father's horse and escape. He heads to the palace, finds Rani and the baby and tells her of BONNEVILLE'S betrayal.

He tells her to flee with the child as they will all be killed if found. After she leaves, DAKKAR enters the room, NEMO assumes he's there to help but he pulls a gun on him and shoots NEMO in the chest. The bullet pierces through NEMO and hits the giant fish aquarium. NEMO falls to the ground, the aquarium shatters and waters spills out everywhere.

Cut to NEMO hung by his wrists, bandaged, breathing raggedly. BONNEVILLE is interrogating him. He tells his men to find NEMO's wife and child and that is how they will break him.

NEMO is soon sold into slavery. He meets an American DR. CAHILL.

DAKKAR is out hunting for RANI and the child. He finds her during a battle and captures her and the baby.

Guards throw her hair and tell him his wife and son are dead. He cries uncontrollably.

Cut to his dream, the same one that opened the film, nakes NEMO with fish swirling around him underwater. This time RANI is there with him. The images in his mind turn into diagrams and drawings of a whale's ribcage then an underwater vessel.

He is awakened by his name being yelled by a guard. The guard stabs him in the side with no reaction, NEMO has receded into his mind. As he's dragged out into the open he does take notice of a few things and figures out a plan of escape.

He is dragged out to where the other prisoners are held and left for dead as an example. The guards leave but NEMO does the unimaginable. He gathers all his strength, takes a deep breath and stands up. He tells the others to listen to him if they want to live.

Time passes, the guards return, NEMO is back in the position they left him in and assume he's dead.

Obviously not, and he proceeds to escape and take everyone with him.

At the end, he gives a rousing Braveheart slash Bill Pullman Independence Day inspired speech to the prisoners he's freed. Cahill stands with him along with the men.

Cut to the rebels. We find out RANI and the baby are truly dead. But they conceive a plan to convince NEMO they are still alive as leverage against him. They are also constructing a huge super ship the VIRAGO.

NEMO and the men head to VULCANIA ISLAND to start construction on the NAUTILUS.

Another montage...I swear there are more montages in here than The Breakfast Club!

The NAUTILUS is complete.

Just so you understand the, not to be mean but immaturity of this script let me break down the launching of the famous Captain NEMO ship NAUTILUS, it goes something like this - NEMO breaks a champagne bottle to celebrate... the NAUTILUS is launched to sea...cut to the men cheering...cut to the NAUTILUS as it sinks...cut to the men with jaws dropped dumbstruck...cut to the NAUTILUS as it pops back out of the water....cut back to the men cheering. Whew! A close one!


The mean board the skiff to get on board the mighty ship. The nuclear reactor is live. It's a jolly, good time all around.

They traverse the underwater grotto and encounter a giant sea monster in the form of a spider crab, Battle, battle battle, war ship, war ship, war ship, collision after collision and so on.

NEMO soon tells Cahill and others of his plan to stay out at sea forever, exploring the depths of the ocean....you see the foreshadowing here don'tcha.

BONNEVILLE sees the NAUTILUS and plans to follow NEMO to his base to take it over and build his own version. He tricks NEMO into thinking his wife and son are still alive by planting a buoy in the water with a map with VULCANIA ISLAND circled and her hair clip saying to find them there.

NEMO figures out a point at the straits where all of BONEVILLE'S war ships will have to converge and plans an attack.

The warships lauch torpedo like explosives that cover the NAUTILUS in glowing paint so it can be seen underwater.

The NAUTILUS rams several of the ships underwater and rips the bellies apart.

BONNEVILLE and DAKKAR scan the ocean for signs of the NAUTILUS. Suddenly it breaks the waters surface in all its glory. They are alongside the VIRAGO as NEMO and his men invade the other ship trying to disable their weapons.

Oh wait there's more, giant mutant monster fish arrive to save the day biting the boats etc. ramming the war ships.

BONNEVILLE and NEMO are fighting. NEMO is stabbed by a dagger. He falls. The NAUTILUS is hit by a turret gun. The men scurry back to NAUTILUS.

NEMO is trying to get back but is plagued by the troubles of slow motion and flashbacks to his wife's death. He jumps aboard just as it's pulling away from the VIRAGO.

Three war ships are left.

Through a series of explosions and hot ocean steam acting as a cannon (don't ask) and a giant sinkhole that swallows up a boat plus a volcanic eruption that creates a tidal wave.

The NAUTILUS is underwater and quickly surfaces, Cahill is thrown and is hurt. NEMO goes to his side, he is bleeding heavily almost dead he is disappointed that NEMO killed thousands of people leading them all to their death through war. He dies in NEMO'S arms.

A part with a seal that climbs stairs (I kid you not) follows, I won't go into detail here.

They give Cahill an underwater burial and form a pact to keep the secret of the island, the free power from nature, to themselves, a secret to their grave.

The NAUTILUS heads back to VULCANIA ISLAND to dock and repair the ship.

Dissolve to find the NAUTILUS completely repaired looking like a yellow eyed sea monster with Captain NEMO at the helm!


Sounds pretty poor doesn't it. Lots and lots of montages, voice overs and cheesy action. At the minute it appears to be a Zorro crossed with Wild, Wild West, crossed with Kevin Costner's Robin Hood. Oh and a bit of Titanic.

Needs a lot of work and I how the final version McG gives us is a lot cooler and a bit darker. I also don't think Will Smith will be the right fit got the part.

I think this sums up motages the best.

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