Friday, September 2, 2011

My Fantastic Four movie

How I would film a Fantastic Four movie (or at least the first few scenes!)...

Fantastic Four: the Movie

August 1948. Black screen. A baby cries. A woman is calling for Susan. The woman opens a closet and finds Sue Storm, age 15, curled up inside reading a girls' magazine with a flashlight. The woman berates Sue for always hiding and tells her to watch her baby brother. Just then the doorbell rings. The baby has stopped crying. Sue's aunt gets the door and it's a 28-year old Reed Richards at the door. Sue, curious, has left her baby brother alone again and crept to the upstairs landing to observe Reed thanking her aunt for giving him a place to stay here in Central City while his inheritance is all tied up. While they talk, Sue looks at the article her magazine is open to about "How to recognize the man you're going to marry."

December 1956. The Pacific Ocean. A tiny ship pitches and rolls through a violent storm as a single, fat, ugly man fights to control his vessel. Within moments, the ship crashes onto the shore of an island. The man, tossed onto the beach, picks up his head and looks around. The rushing sound of the surf segues into…

October 1961. The launch of the Saturn-1 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The bright lights of the rocket segue into…

November 1961. Central City, California.

…the bright flash from cameras as Reed Richards, age 40, in a nice suit, walks out of City Hall in front of reporters who ask him questions like, “What does the success of the Saturn program mean for the rocket industry here in Central City?” and “Was this meeting about cutting funding for your space launch?” Reed turns and flashes them a defiant smile, saying all he’s worried about now is being on time for his date.

Elsewhere, 16-year old Johnny Storm is dancing to Bobby Lewis’ “Tossin’ and Turnin’” while his 27-year old sister Sue Storm is running around the house trying to get ready for her big date. Johnny is bored enough that he abandons dancing to torment Sue while she struggles to get the rollers out of her hair. Finally they hear a car out front and Sue exclaims that “Reed’s here!”

Sue comes running to the front door, jumpy and nervous like Reed is the best thing since sliced bread. But she’s all calm and composure by the time he answers the door. As they go driving off to see a movie, Sue can tell Reed is sulking about something so she sighs and resigns herself to letting him talk about it. She knows she’ll never get to see the movie now, as Reed pulls over and launches into a long, boring lecture about how the Russians have Voskhod 1, the first multi-person spacecraft, how far behind NASA’s Saturn rocket program is, and how Reed needs more funding to top the Russians, not less, and the importance of space exploration (luckily we are just treated to snippets of this lecture, delivered in the car, in the street, and inside a nearby malt shop where Sue tries to enjoy a malt while Reed can’t stop talking). Finally, Sue interrupts and says Reed is going to have to do something fantastic to show the government how close his moon rocket is to being ready. Reed says that’s brilliant and gives Sue a kiss that surprises her, but makes all that waiting worthwhile for her. But then he rushes off to the payphone to call Ben Grimm.

Cut to Sue, Reed, and Ben together somewhere else. Ben is also 40. Ben is saying there’s no way he is breaking into an air force base, stealing a rocket, and flying it into orbit. Reed says it’s really just borrowing and that he financed much of the rocket himself with his own fortune. Reed can’t pull this off without his best friend and the best pilot he knows, piling on the buttering up, but what really cuts Ben to the quick is when Sue says she never thought Ben was such a coward. Ben is flummoxed and changes his position on the spot. Reed begins to explain what they have to do (which is voice-overed into the next scene).

Cut to Ben, at home, dressing all in black and smearing black face paint under his eyes. Sue is dressing up like for a party, but also tries on a black coat and ties a black scarf over her hair. Reed’s voiceover is talking about the risk they are putting themselves into and how they can’t tell anyone where they are going when Sue, carrying her coat and scarf, finds Johnny blocking her from leaving the house and the voiceover goes scratchy like a needle being lifted off a record.

Cut to Johnny, Sue, Reed, and Ben all together and Reed is trying to convince Sue that Johnny is too young to come and Ben is trying to convince Reed that Sue is too young to come to and Sue explaining that if she left Johnny at home he was going to blab to everyone and they are all talking at once until Sue asks, if the rocket is so safe, why can’t Johnny come? Reed can’t answer that. He and Ben just look at each other, knowing they’re licked.

Later that same night, Reed and Sue pull up in a car at the Edwards Air Force base. They both step out and Reed talks to the guards about how he needs to get in to retrieve his lab notes. The sentries confirm that Reed has clearance to enter, but warn him to stay away from the rocket. Sue, as planned, notices a run in her stocking and lifts her skirt to check it, distracting the guards so Reed can snatch a higher clearance pass card from the guard booth. A moment later, the guards just wave to Sue as Reed drives in. The camera pans past Reed’s car, across the base, to show Reed’s rocket standing over some buildings and lit from below by flood lights, in the background.

Shortly, Reed pulls his car up between two buildings on the base and Reed pops the trunk. Ben and Johnny are wedged in tight and need help climbing out. “I don’t ever wanna be that close to you again, squirt!” Ben complains. Both Ben and Johnny are dressed all in black, with black make-up on their faces. Sue has already changed into her black coat and scarf. Reed starts to leave them, but Sue stops him and gives him a kiss on the cheek for luck first.

Reed uses the pass card he stole to get into the control room, then hands the card to Ben before they leave him. Its empty inside, so, after glancing out the large windows at the distant rocket, he picks up a screwdriver and begins unscrewing a panel on a machine.

Outside, Ben, Johnny, and Sue sneak on foot through the dark, coming across another fence and use the pass card at an unmanned gate. As they approach the rocket, Sue asks Ben for some light. Johnny flicks on a cigarette lighter and Sue, shocked, asks him where he got that. Ben (who was holding a flashlight) interrupts, takes a piece of paper out of Sue's hands, and holds it to the light. It's a diagram of the rocket. Ben explains that if they don't find the alarm and cut the wires to it, it'll go off the moment they turn anything on at the launch tower.

A quick cut later, Reed runs to join them as they wait on the launch tower's elevator platform to go up. Reed, out of breath, says that everything is ready. Before they go up, Ben flashes his light on the cut wires at the alarm box and Reed races over and holds the wires together.

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