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Movie Pitch: Indiana Jones (5) and The Lost City of Atlantis

Now that we know Steven Spielberg will be directing the fifth Indiana Jones with Harrison Ford returning as the titular treasure hunter we can have some fun speculating in the meantime. What follows is not just a movie pitch, but an idea that I believe would make for a strong entry in the adventure series. Obviously, not all will agree, and that’s okay. Lets just all dream of a better Indiana Jones sequel together.

Okay, so:

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: *Not George Lucas

Cast: Harrison Ford, Shia Labeouf (patience), Daniel Day-Lewis, Chris Hemsworth & Mark Rylance

Plot:

It’s 1963 and Shia Lebouf’s Mutt from “Kingdom of The Crystal Skull” is on the trail of a South American war monger (Daniel Day-Lewis) that’s been manipulating villages into mind controlled slaves. Rumor has it the ruthless leader of the violent gang was seen with an artifact that allows for such a transformation over mind and body. Mutt tracks the gang but gets too close, seen, and caught. The man-in-charge leaves no prisoners and sends Mutt’s corpse back to the closest inhabited town to ward off any other would-be pursuers.

We find Dr. Jones examining a recently discovered temple in Central America when he receives word of Mutt’s demise. With Marion back stateside, bed ridden with a worsening case of alzheimer’s, Indy swears to find out the truth behind his son’s death. He leaves for South America with his most recent collegue, Samuel Kern, (Mark Rylance) an expert in diseases of the mind and tribal languages along with his steadfast assistant Kel Worth (Chris Hemsworth).

From there the group follows the trail of the band of criminals as they weave further into the jungle. Indy and company slowly piece together what they are after upon spotting them. It is not immediately revealed that Daniel Day Lewis’s character is a former Nazi, that comes later, but what they do figure out is that Lewis and his gang of miscreants are after the Lost City of Atlantis.. but why? To revive the catatonic body of Adolf Hitler that they have been hiding in secret all these years, of course. It turns out he was wounded upon their exit of Germany, the body that the allies found in the bunker was obviously an illusion to throw the allied governments off their trail.

The elite team of escaped Nazis want to raise Atlantis out of the depths because of the rumored healing properties and psyche warping abilities surrounding the small continent-city. I’d honestly love them to succeed until they get to the altar where Hitler is woken and placed in the device, only to have his face melt off similarly to the scene in “Raiders of The Lost Ark”, because who doesn’t want to see Hitler get his face melted off?

There’s a lot in play that could be changed or altered, but I believe there is a solid idea in there for a compelling return, and end, to the Indiana Jones film series.

Filmmaking ideas:

This film will need a lot of underwater shots. Who knows, maybe this will be what excites Spielberg the most, a new filmmaking challenge. He could even have James Cameron on as an advisor with his groundbreaking work in the waves.

I would almost entirely stick to on location shots, props, and huge sets as much as possible. Indiana Jones lived in the first half of the 20th century, and that was a far more palpable and tactile world than the one we live in now. At least in the romantic sense.

Mutt lives?

I feel like this could go either way. It would likely just be seen as fan service and a darker turn for the series so maybe killing the character off wouldn’t be the best bet. I wouldn’t want the character to go down the same path as Indiana Jones however, he should have his own story. I’d also be interested to see what Shia Labeouf himself would like to do with the character, with the amount of hate this movie (somewhat unfairly in my opinion but I recognize I’m in the minority on that one) received I doubt he would want to return unless it was worth his while. Maybe he’s thought of a tasteful way to end his character, or maybe he just wants an off screen death and nothing to do with the production. Although why anyone would want to turn down any amount of work with Steven Spielberg is beyond me.

Location of Atlantis

Originally I thought it could be fun to play with the myth of the Bermuda Triangle. The lost city’s docile effects on nature being the turbulent storms that the area is known for.. and mind warping, which could explain all the downed ships and planes over the years. However if we’re going with a more reality based concept Atlantis was probably located far closer to the “western world” at the time, Greece, Rome, etc. Although certain accounts only cite that it is “Far off in the Atlantic Ocean” and that it was “larger than Ancient Libya and Asia Minor combined”

Artifact that draws them to Atlantis

My Atlantis lore is a little rusty at best but all we really need is a good Macguffin, all of Indy’s stories have a solid one. Of course the screenwriters could simply make something up entirely that has no basis in lore, but if there was a viable object in particular that would be nice.

Casting

Obviously getting Daniel Day-Lewis for an Indiana Jones movie, especially as a Nazi on a quest to revive the Führer, would be difficult to say the least. Let’s be honest though, he’s won three academy awards for best actor, the man has absolutely nothing to prove. If he wanted to pursue a roll in one of cinema’s classic series and bring an unprecedented level of gravitas to a potentially generic role otherwise, why not? He’d probably have a great deal of fun in the process as well, but who am I to say? I’d simply just love to see him do it, especially after his scene stealing role in “Gangs of New York”.

I chose to add Mark Rylance to the crew because Spielberg loves to work with his regulars and adding Rylance to the series couldn’t hurt for the level of acting he would bring as well. Plus He’d be another knowledgable character to aide in the search for Atlantis.

Chris Hemsworth as Rylance’s assistant/personal body guard would add a youthful charisma to the team. He’s also entirely capable of acting as the tough and foreboding muscle, or a sort of “thief with a heart of gold” type. Plus somebody has to be able to throw a solid punch around besides Indy, and even he’s getting up there.

Thanks for taking the time to read and (hopefully enjoy) my musings on what I think would be a fun take on ending the Indiana Jones series now that we know we’ll be getting another one anyways. What would you like to see in the next/last Indiana Jones film? Let me know in the comments!

 

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantis

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Review: Swiss Army Man, or “Undead Harry Potter farts a lot; Paul Dano talks to him about it”

Are you sitting around wondering what to do with yourself? Have some time to kill but are tired of the same old thing at the box office? The answer you’re looking for is “Swiss Army Man”. Co-directors and writers Daniel Scheinert and Dan Kwan, both presented here simply as “Daniels”, have created something truly unique. This is by far the most original film I have seen in ages. It’s quirky nature may not be for everyone, but I suggest checking out if only for the fact that you’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

Okay, so, in short, this movie is about a suicidal guy teaching a dead man that life is beautiful. I know, but trust me, it gets weirder. The film opens with Paul Dano’s character Hank about to hang himself as he’s stranded on a small island. Right before he does so he spots Daniel Radcliffe’s, or Manny as Hank later dubs him, dead body washed up on shore. He investigates the corpse and finds it to be full of flatulence. From there Hank rides Manny away from the island like a jet-ski, powered solely by Manny’s farts. Now, if at this point you’re asking why I would recommend such a film, I would say to you that this film is almost indescribable. It doesn’t necessarily sound “fresh” on paper. However what Daniels achieved in this film is the weirdest, and oddly most heartfelt, combination of what could be considered trash, or low brow art, and elevating it, or mixing it with high class art.

Hank and Manny reach the mainland and try to reach society throughout the rest of the film. The hook is when Hank begins to talk to Manny a la Tom Hanks and Wilson in “Castaway”, and Manny begins to talk back. From there Hank begins to teach Manny, who actually is dead-yet also alive.. sort of, about life, people, and how the world works. Manny has no memories of his past life and he’s almost alien like in his understanding of how things work. He constantly asks questions and points out the illogical tendencies of human social acts, like how if you want to talk to a girl, you should just talk to her. Hank soon finds that Manny may be dead but his body has even more odd abilities as the story unfolds. I won’t go further into all of the details as I find it best to seek out the story here for yourselves mostly because to elaborate further would ruin the surprise.

This film is a standout for me because all of the weird pieces come together with a unique voice that hasn’t been heard until now. The writing is solid, the cinematography nicely shot, and the acting by both Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano is superb. This film has heart, saddness, truth, and a pretty cool soundtrack that matches the film’s wild changes in tone and sensation. It also has erection jokes, good use of body humor, and a whimsical spirit that defies the mainstream love of grit and darkness. The film rejects the stifled society norms of what is acceptable and what kinds of story that can be told. This film is deeper than it has any right to be, and that’s amazing in itself. Not to mention the elaborate practical effects that showcase the Daniels’ skill for original and entertaining sequences onscreen.

Personally I adored this film, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it unapologetically is what it is, and it’s okay with that. Be warned though, just because Daniel Radcliffe is in this doesn’t mean it’s for all ages. I doubt children would be okay with seeing a dead, farting, Harry Potter being dragged through the dirt by Paul Dano.

Final Score: 4.5/5

 

Check out this interview with Daniels

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Movie Pitch: Tree Loop

Genre: Quirky Comedy/Drama/part Sci-Fi

Director: Wes Anderson or Taika Waititi

Writer: Simon Pegg or Joss Whedon

Actors: Elijah Wood, Charlie Day, Zach Galifianakis etc

 

Charlie Day & Elijah Wood both work as Park Rangers in a giant Yellowstone-like National Park. Charlie Day is the opposite of everything Elijah Wood’s character stands for. The chaos to his order. Zach Galifianakis as the head of the Forest Rangers. Charlie Day is the veteran and Elijah Wood is the rookie being trained. Starts as a sort of “Day in the life of” scenario following Elijah on his first day of training at the Park. Charlie is a bit deshoveled and irritable,  he isn’t as devoted to the idea of the park as Elijah is.

They are sent to investigate an anomaly with a gigantic redwood tree in the forest. Elijah believes that Charlie doesn’t know what he’s doing and thus has no respect for him, which leads to him digging further into the anamoly with the tree. The tree’s identification is unknown to the public as it is the oldest known tree in the world. Elijah falls into a hole deep in the roots… the tree is one of the few spots on the planet that are in direct contact with the flow of the universe. This is a thread of connection between dimensions.

The rest of the story follows  Elijah’s character as he tries to find a way back to his dimension, but he never finds it. He can only enter the tree and fall into other different dimensions, there seems to be no rewind, or discernible path, between them. From here we can have fun with repeating the actors as slightly different versions of their characters in each dimension, sometimes they don’t even recognize or know Elijah’s character. He also has a doppelganger in each new dimension, but he doesn’t think of this right away. He eventually stumbles upon a dimension in which he happens to be an artist and finds peace in this new life. The message of the movie is that life is what you make of it, you may not have been born into royalty or fame and fortune, but sometimes you have to make the best of your situation. Elijah ends up impersonating himself and taking over this life and making the best of it.

I would peg the humor of the film as not exactly slapstick or modern humor, but rather just a weird ambiance with an embrace of the unknown and whimsy. Trippy and existential with lots of practical effects, I feel like a lot could be done with the premise and that a lot could be said with the ideas at hand. Personally I’m at a point where I’d like more unexpected turns being taken in films. Unpredictability is something I adore when I encounter it in films and keeping a fresh take on big ideas could be worthwhile!