Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If I Wrote It: The Schwartzenegger Edition

Back in January, I wrote a post called If I Cast It: Starship Troopers, wherein I took on the mantle of casting director for that movie and discussing what casting changes I would have made.

I decided to take the concept in a different direction by thinking out loud about how I would have changed the plot of a couple of Arnold Schwartzenegger movies to, in my opinion at least, make them a little better.

Last Action Hero: Yes, I know it was a bomb, and thus perhaps not worthy of this kind of thought, but bear with me. If you've never seen the movie, Danny Madigan (Austin O'Brien) is a huge fan of Arnold Schwartzenegger movies, in particular, a series of movies based on a character named Jack Slater. The elderly projectionist at the theatre Danny sees most of these movies at decides to give him a treat by allowing him to see Jack Slater IV before its public release, and because Danny is a friend, he also decides to give him a gift that he himself received from Harry Houdini, a golden ticket which allow him to truly experience the movie... as an on-screen participant in the action. With the setup out of the way, I can tell you something I would have changed that would have made the movie a lot better narratively for me. It is revealed that because of a screenwriter's whim, Jack Slater's son was killed at the end of the third movie, an event that terribly wounded him psychically. Now, given the fact that Danny knows this, knows all the movies intimately, and has the means to save his son, it seems sort of cruel for him not to do it. Especially since the villain of the picture essentially uses this exact M.O. as part of his own nefarious plans after he escapes from Jack Slater IV himself. I mean, really, would it have been so hard for Danny and Jack to go back to Slater III (a movie which the projectionist has), and give Jack back his son. It wouldn't have even been that huge of a rewrite given the rest of the plot.

Terminator 3: Two Words... Robert Patrick. To me, having Schwartzenegger and Patrick having to work together to take out the T-X, played by Kristanna Loken. Because to me, while it was satisfying (and admittedly a little funny) to watch the T-X manhandling Arnie's T-101 and just absolutely brawling with her, I think having her taking on a T-1000 at the same time would have made her seem even more menacing. And the presence of another shapeshifting Terminator on the side of good could have been used for good dramatic effect. For instance, since the T-1000 would have touched both of the humans who need protection, he could play them to try to flush out or entrap the evil T-X. But what I think is the huge opportunity in terms of a jaw dropping concept and final fight sequence, having the flesh burned off of Arnie's T-101 and having the T-1000 layer itself on top of that endoskeleton, creating an entity that is indeed an equal to the T-X which possesses both a liquid exoskeleton and an interior structure. To me, that would have been a really good finish to the movie, and as a whole I think it would have taken such a battle to the next level. And unlike the other two movies in the series, the destruction of all the Terminators is not a necessity, their existence in the present time of the movie would allow them to aid the humans in their battle against Skynet and perhaps give them the upper hand we need to survive and win the war.

I have a feeling that there are elements that I've presented which some of you may not agree with, and that is fine. After all, these are just my opinions. But I am curious about what you would have done to improve a particular Schwartenegger movie (aside from him not being in it or the movie not being made period).


Lee said...

Isn't that funny, I was kind of thrown out because I always refer to him as the T-800 - just because I latched onto that rather than the external 101 designation (the 800 or 850 is the designation for the endoskeleton - just for those who have lives).

But I like your ideas, particularly them combining after Arnie's skin is burnt off.

Splotchy said...

Great ideas! I liked (not loved) both of these movies, but I think your ideas would greatly improve them.

Going back to Jack Slater III is neat. For some reason it reminds of one of the later Sierra Space Quest computer games, where in the story you travel to visit a previous Space Quest game (with lower-res graphics and sound, etc.).

A while back I blogged about how to improve the Matrix trilogy (which frankly isn't that hard to do).

Keep this improvements coming!

MC said...

Lee: That's good to know (about the endoskeleton designation I mean).

Splotchy: See, that Space Quest thing is just such an in-joke, I'd love it.