Hello there my reading friends, Harry here with an exclusive from one of the best movie spooks around... Mysterio... He's scored quite a coup here with the first post-Raimi involvement draft of SPIDER-MAN. This is still the David Koepp draft, and as we all know, Scott Rosenberg is currently handling the rewrite duties and working in close conjunction with Sam Raimi is honing the script and it's characters. Personally, I'm a bit relieved that Koepp's involvement is now over... I wish him the best of luck on his own projects, but I haven't been a very big fan of his involvement thus far with SPIDER-MAN. While this draft sounds like a vast improvement over the previous drafts... it still has a ways to go, and that is why Raimi is continuing to work on it. From the sources I have talked to involved in SPIDER-MAN, Raimi has thrown himself into this film like no director has before with a comic property. HOWEVER, I must do my duty and warn some of you about the following review... Mysterio does discuss some of the set pieces and events that take place in the film. As a Courtesy to your fellow film geeks and movie fans, if you choose to read this... respect their wishes not to know these things... always post spoiler warnings before discussing them, and be cool about it. Again... this is not the shooting draft or even the final screenwriter... What Mysterio is reading is where the project was 3 months ago and serves to give us a rough concept of how Raimi is directing this film in a new direction away from the Cameron Treatment. Watch out for spoilers, not only in the review... but in SPIDER-MAN talkbacks... read at your own risk....
Hey Harry, “Mysterio” here.
And have a got a little somethin’ special cooked up for you and the readers. Villainy has it’s moments, and this my friends is indeed one of them.
Ahem! When Columbia Pictures and Sam Raimi announced that they were replacing James Cameron’s villains, with two more far popular choices, I thought for sure I was a shoe in. Then the news hits, as always courtesy of AICN. Sam wants The GREEN GOBLIN and DOC OCTOPUS as SPIDER-MAN’s lead adversaries. As I initially read this most disturbing news, I began pounding my dome-encased head onto one of my custom-made marble tables, in a fit of rage. So much so, that I ended up cracking the table in half, and giving myself no more than a splitting headache. So, as with all crafty and genius super-villains, I meticulously planned my revenge on protesting this film until I could convince them otherwise and be heard. Unfortunately my voice wasn’t heard loud enough, even when I went down to Savannah to try and visit Raimi on the set of his latest film, “THE GIFT” in an effort to “persuade” him to think bigger, better. But I surely wasn’t going to leave the set without accomplishing anything. So I managed to take a “little gift” of my own and lift a copy of the script when the script super wasn’t looking. Figured a script review up here would surely get a notice from the man, and he would consider my actions of serious intentions. Hear a word? Nope. Heard a word? Nada.
Well let me just say, I think they’ll hear me now.
So, with the recent casting news on Tobey Maguire donning the tights, I now present to you with great pleasure, loyal AICN readers, with an all exclusive follow up to this headlining news.
Of course I can only be referring to a peek at the screenplay featuring those two villains I mentioned earlier. I figured I’d be a fly in Spider-Man’s ointment, and seriously who better to catch a spider in his own web?
Now before we proceed there are several key points and issues I will be discussing and not so much the actual plot (“With great power comes great responsibility.” Uncle Ben would say – and not the rice guy.) Some descriptions and references I will quote from the script so to give you, the reader, as clear an insight into what Raimi and Company has in store. So slight spoilers will be revealed. You’ve now been warned.
First, let me say to writer David Koepp, clever as you may be having written the following disclaimer:
“THIS MATERIAL IS THE EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OF COLUMBIA PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT. UNAUTHORIZED TRANSFER, PHOTOCOPYING, OR READING OF THIS MATERIAL WILL RESULT IN THE GROWTH OF LARGE, YELLOWY PUSTULES ON YOUR FINGERTIPS AND HANDS WHICH, GIVEN YOUR HABITUAL SELF-ABUSE (DID YOU THINK WE DIDN’T KNOW?) WILL SOON SPREAD TO YOUR GENITALIA. ALSO, POSTING, READING OR DISCUSSING THIS SCREENPLAY ON THE INTERNET IS A SURE SIGN THAT YOU HAVE FAILED TO FILL YOUR EMPTY LIFE WITH WORTHWHILE ACTIVITES OF YOUR OWN AND IT MAY BE TOO LATE FOR YOU. DON’T BLAME US, YOU WERE WARNED.”
…I’m cleverer for having obtained it and based on this daring disclaimer, I now call you on it. As far as those yellowy pustules having grown or spread on my fingertips, guess it’s a good thing I wear protective gloves.
So funny business aside, let’s see what we got (and I will try to be as unbiased as possible throughout this review).
Also, nearly all or any resemblance to James Cameron’s treatment or previous drafts is nearly extinct in this draft. Which means: no Sandman, Electro, Kingpin, or Spider-Man engaging in sexual intercourse with Mary Jane high atop the Brooklyn Bridge (Moriarty, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief here).
Now we all know the story of puny Parker and how a “radioactive” spider bites him and he acquires spider-like powers transforming him into the Amazing Spider-Man.
Well for one, that’s the comics’ story. It’s a little different here. It’s here, at the Columbia Genetic Research Institute that Midtown High’s student’s, including Peter Parker, are taking a tour of the lab. It’s also here that a tour guide is in the middle of discussing the three sub-orders of Arachnids and how each of the varying three groups possess different strengths.
The guide goes on the explain for instance that the jumping spider “can leap up to forty times it’s body length due to it’s proportionate muscular strength.” The funnel spider has web strands of a “tensile strength” equal to the type of “high-tension wire used in bridge building.” And finally the crab spider is said to have a set of reflexes that “boarders on precognition, an early awareness of danger, a ‘spider sense’”.
Then you have a tank of ten genetically designed “super-spiders” which combines genetic information from all three spiders. And of course one is missing and eventually drops from the ceiling and biting the unfortunate “puny” Parker on the hand. Between his thumb and forefinger.
Even though Spidey’s origin is slightly modernized, it still remains faithful to the comics’ origin. I also think the genetically enhanced spiders help to explain Spidey’s newly found attributes and abilities better as well.
Next, and definitely the one most surrounding controversy amongst the fanboys is the debate of ORGANIC/MACHANICAL WEB SHOOTERS. Hopefully we’ll put this little argument to rest right here, right now.
Yes, Parker does has organic shooters on the undersides of his wrists, which in this script are described as:
“He examines his wrists. They’re oozing a pearly white fluid from almost invisible slits about a quarter of an inch long. The slits are puffy, great pressure on the skin from inside. He pushes on the skin next to one of the slits, to relieve the pressure. A dark shape, the size and color of a rose thorn, emerges from beneath the skin and shoots a jet of liquid silk into his face.”
As you can see he’s still trying to get the hang of them.
To conceal his organic spinners, Koepp goes on to describe:
“CLOSE ON Peter’s shirtsleeves, which he has pulled down as far as he can to cover his wrists. In fact, he’s clutching them with his fingers to keep them down, not taking any chances as he walks down a crowded high school corridor.”
Now before everyone starts groaning, there is a saving grace here. And it’s a hugely satisfying one. Unable to control the accuracy and distance of his organic spinners Koepp has placed this scene describing Peter in his bedroom:
“Sparks fly. Peter has dismantled several Zippo lighters, watches, and assorted old jewelry and is silver-soldering them back together in a new way. He picks one up, blows on the solder, and puts it around his wrist.
It’s hinged in the middle, right underneath a small delicately mounted nozzle that swivels in all directions. Peter closes the wrist-bracelet around his wrist, right over his biological spinnerets.”
Yeah baby! Koepp nailed it! The organic shooters nicely explain his supply of web fluid, and mounting the mechanical web shooters over the slits keeps in with Parker’s character. This should not change over the course of re-writes! It solidifies Peter’s mutated state all the while keeping with his ingenious intelligence in manufacturing such a device. Nice job!
And finally, the Spidey suit. Koepp has kept with the classic and describes Peter…
“ON HIS BED,
two Danskins spill out of a plastic bag, one midnight blue and the other a deep red. Colors look good together.
A RAZOR KNIFE
Cuts through the blue, then the red, then through a nearly-opaque white mesh he’s using for the eyes.
With a black marker, he draws a big black spider outline in the middle of the red fabric.”
Again, I have to say I like the classic look here.
Peter Parker’s rise to Spider-Man and the tragic events that help lead him there are pretty on target with the comic and is pretty well developed.
Now onto the bad guys.
True to the comic, NORMAN OSBORN runs OSCORP, the company he inherited from his father and will ultimately pass down to his lesser son HARRY.
It’s deep inside of OSCORP that Osborn is working on experiments for future sale to the government. DR. OTTO OCTAVIUS heads one such experiment being worked on in which he wears a metal corset of sorts that man four long tentacles which gingerly handles various chemical-filled test tubes behind a glass partition.
It’s down here that we find too what is to become the GOBLIN GLIDER, which is described as:
“…an aerodynamically perfected boogie board, with upturned fins on each side, footholds carved into the top on each wing, and a single row of witches down the middle of the center tube, which is a propulsion system of some kind.”
It also goes on to describe the hovering glider being controlled by an “insect-looking” like helmet that when worn the glider will respond to head movements.
Dr. Octavius is working on a something called “Human Performance Enhancers” for Osborn, which is basically a chemical vapor that enhances strength and intelligence, but shows serious side effects including “propensity towards violence, central nervous system breakdown, domination, obsession, decompensation, insanity, death.”
Soon an altercation between Octavius and Norman over his work erupts, sending Octavius into a fit of rage, tentacles flying wildly about, knocking over various test tubes and beakers and such. And it’s here that Octavius has created an explosion, which sends him flying back and knocking Norman unconscious amidst the chemical catastrophe, where an ominous greenish cloud of vapor hovers towards his limp body. As the cloud passes in front of Norman’s body, he becomes transparent through the cloud to where we can see his skeleton. We can also see his lungs breathing in the fumes as they travel into his bloodstream where it’s soon carried by oxygen to his brain. As the could dissipates, Norman awakes, and eyes that we’re once bright blue have turned a “fluorescent, demonic green!”
Badly scorched, Octavius finds himself trapped under a pile of rubble, the metal corset now permanently seared into his flesh. To which now he truly becomes DOCTOR OCTOPUS!
The origin here stays pretty true to its comic source, and it’s nicely done. The Green Goblin is explored even further as he becomes delusional and his alter-ego, THE GREEN GOBLIN takes over which at times is described as a rather gruesome, painful transformation.
What I really like about Koepp’s draft is his ability in keeping with the classic Spidey stuff, but giving it that updated edge. He makes it work for the most part, but is this a great a script? No. Could it be? Hell yes! ROSENBERG WRITE ME IN THE REWRITE!
OK, all whoring myself out aside, there are some well-done and covered aspects to the script.
I think Peter Parker and Spider-Man are pretty well developed and the duality between the two is well explored and puts Spider-Man on a humanistic level with Peter because they do both get physically and emotionally wounded which is well covered.
HARRY OSBORN is well fleshed out from being the weak rich “daddy’s boy” to one of confidence and jealous rage by the end. This change in character is obvious to what will become of Harry later.
Peter/Spidey’s voice-over nicely bookends the film.
The Goblin’s arsenal consists of the ever popular “pumpkin bombs”, boomerangs and kick as “razor bats”.
And to top is off there is a fantastic mid-air battle between Spidey and the Goblin high above the Macy’s Day parade. This will definitely rock!
Now the bad and this is probably (hopefully) why Raimi has brought in Scott Rosenberg to do a re-write.
DOC OCK is a poorly underwritten character. He’s clearly the secondary villain here, and his primary motive throughout the film is to seek revenge on Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin for destroying and taking his life’s work. Spider-Man to him is more of an interference, and that’s fine and all, he just needs to be developed more.
The character of MARY JANE is plain bad. Aside from the fact that she’s hot looking, she acts like a total spoiled bitch most of the time, so it’s really hard to see what Peter sees in her besides getting horizontal. For Peter to like her, we should too and I just loathed her from start to finish here. Her character does not seem real genuine or sincere. And she needs to be, because she’s not only the object of affection in Peter’s eyes, but also HARRY OSBORN’s, (Norman’s son). She’s at the center of this increasing love triangle that persists throughout the script.
If she wasn’t in the script so much, I’d recommend tossing her aside, putting in GWEN STACY, use her in a tragic way that would help further push and develop Peter’s character, and then why not introduce M.J.’s character at the end. Have her ring Peter’s doorbell. He answers, and have her simply look up to him and reply, “Hey Tiger” to the way the comic introduces her.
And finally, the climatic finale high atop the Brooklyn Bridge is simply lackluster. The build up to this sequence never really feels like it pays off the way it should. It should top the Macy’s parade sequence but falls real short of doing so and shouldn’t.
So those are my good/bad points in a rather large nutshell. I could go on more and more, but I think that’s enough for now and hopefully some of these changes will occur in Rosenberg’s subsequent drafts. But all in all I think Sam and the gang are on the right track here, and wish them the best in doing so.
Just don’t give us a “SPIDER-MAN” movie, we want “AN AMAZING SPIDER-MAN” movie!
SCRIPT REVIEW IS OVER... SPOILERS NOW GONE.... FREE TO READ.... ENJOY.......
Hey folks, Harry here with a bit that came in the ol email box from SONY today, they sent me the official press release and photo of Tobey Maguire being cast in SPIDER-MAN. I was actually talking with one of the crew that is going to be working on SPIDER-MAN earlier today and found out nearly nothing as I was being quizzed. Although... this particular person had heard whispers that William H Macy might be being drafted in to play J Jonah Jameson, though in my mine R Lee Ermey would be the most perfect person for the role. IF Macy gets the part, well... I've loved Macy in every film I've seen him in... But my fingers are still crossed for R Lee Ermey. Also I've heard from two seperate folks including a fella from 4filmmakers.Com that Nicholas Cage is up for Norman Osborne/Green Goblin... let's see if it gets through the price negotiations. Personally, I can see that casting working as long as Raimi keeps the reins on Cage. Meanwhile, in the press release (which I've edited below) we have some additional crew positions including DP and Costume Designer... check it out folks.... looks like a damn fine solid crew!
Tobey Maguire is set to star as one of the most popular comic book icons of all time in Columbia Pictures’ live-action feature film adaptation Spider-Man, studio Chairman Amy Pascal announced today
“As an actor, Tobey is a director’s dream,” said Raimi. “He has all the qualities we were looking for in our Peter Parker.”
David Koepp (Stir of Echoes, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park) has drafted a preliminary screenplay for the film; Scott Rosenberg (Gone In 60 Seconds, High Fidelity, Con Air) has also collaborated on the script. The creative team includes Oscar-nominated director of photography Don Burgess (Cast Away, What Lies Beneath, Forrest Gump), production designer Neil Spisak (The Gift, For Love of the Game, Heat) and costume designer James Acheson, who has won Academy Awards for Restoration, Dangerous Liaisons and The Last Emperor.
The film is slated to begin shooting in Los Angeles in November. The production will then move to New York. Spider-Man is being readied for a November 2001 release