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dateline June 28, 2000
remember, remember the seventh of november
November 7, 2006
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July 21, 2005
to fserve and protect
March 17, 2005
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March 27, 2004
you keep using that word...
November 22, 2003
pedro pointed at the sky
October 17, 2003
you filthy pragmatists!
July 29, 2003
the life and times of Reginald the Orc
July 6, 2003
we ruin it twelve ways
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gotta green before code
November 18, 2002
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February 14, 2002
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August 6, 2001
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December 7, 2000
that's ah-sweep-eh
September 7, 2000
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July 31, 2000
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eminently predictable
June 28, 2000
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September 10, 1999
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August 30, 1999
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July 21, 1999
History On Parade
June 17, 1999

archives

eminently predictable

So the buzz around certain areas of the media spectrum is that 20th Century Fox is developing Isaac Asimov's Foundation series for feature film treatment. Unfortunately the snippet I read over at Coming Attractions does not do much to ease my fears that it'll become another Hollywood Book Hack Job along the lines of, say, Starship Troopers or The Black Cauldron. As I guessed, the screenwriter is looking to focus on The Mule and that saga of the story. Sigh. But when faced with an expansive multi-book series (originally just a collection of short stories, mind you) and the fact that you're only going to get one feature film out of this (unless you're George Lucas and can make the studios accept your multi-film offer, ain't nobody gonna greenlight your second installment if the first doesn't fly) I guess major time-compression would have to take place. Unfortunately, I'm getting horriffic visions of what could be a Worst Case Scenario involving a treatment for Foundation, and I would like to share that with you now. Keep in mind I'm writing this from the Hollywood Hatchet perspective, so don't come whining to me saying "Waaaah, but that's not how it happens in the book" because, Sparky, that's the point.

So imagine it's Christmas of 2001 and you're settling down in your seat at the OmniMultiSuperPlex 35 to watch The Blair Witch Project 4: Terror In Toyland but first, you're treated to this trailer:


FADE IN on a scene of Trantor, an all-metal planet, slowly being consumed by explosions. Over this we hear the voice of HARI SELDON, as played by Patrick Stewart.

HARI SELDON
If my calculations are correct, the destruction of the Galactic Empire will bring on a war which will last for thirty thousand years... unless we act now!

DYNAMIC ANNOUNCER
In a time of chaos...

We watch as ships leaving Trantor are caught up in a giant space battle which obviously wasn't in the original book.

ANNOUNCER
In a universe on the brink of disaster...

A long, long pan up the aisle of a GREAT HALL on the Foundation's planet. We pass by thousands of acolytes and citizens on our way to the LARGE PODIUM at tne end of the hall.

ANNOUNCER
One man has the wisdom and courage to shape the galaxy for the better...

We finally reach the bottom of the GREAT PODIUM and slowly move up to reveal an image of HARI SELDON, a holographic projection, addressing the crowd.

ANNOUNCER
...but he's dead.

The SOUND of a NEEDLE scratching across a RECORD.

Cut to SALVOR HARDIN, who has miraculously been written in this movie to be a sassy black man, played by Will Smith.

SALVOR HARDIN
Say WHAT?!

Jump cut! SALVOR and others are seen DASHING through the industrial rubble of some planet, laser pistols wildly firing. There is TECHNO MUSIC.

ANNOUNCER
Next summer, 21st Century Fox invites you to take a journey you'll never forget...

Scenes of a massive SPACE BATTLE that does not happen in the book.

ANNOUNCER
to the edge of the galaxy -- and beyond.

More exciting ACTION SEQUENCES that aren't in the book.

Then we see HARI SELDON's glowing presence back in the GREAT HALL, though it is now empty save for SALVOR HARDIN. There's TRANCEY MUSIC softly playing in the background.

HARI SELDON
Beware the Mule, Salvor. I predict his evilness will spread like a plague and destroy all you've worked for.

SALVOR HARDIN
Like I'm supposed to fear a guy named after something that goes "hee-haw"? Pssht.

CRASH!! The MULE, played by Jim Carrey, bursts through a window, though this isn't the GREAT HALL anymore. Cue the TECHNO MUSIC again.

THE MULE
Your Foundation's going down!

SALVOR HARDIN
Over my dead body.

THE MULE
I was hoping you'd say that. Let's get it on!

They have a spectacular FIGHT in slow-motion John Woo style, which should effectively prove that the producers of the film didn't even bother to read the books before starting production.

Cut to a FUTURE WOMAN WITH GREAT ASS, as played by Salma Hayek.

FUTURE WOMAN WITH GREAT ASS
Salvor, be careful!

SALVOR splendidly KICKS the MULE into a metal wall, which buckles under the force of the impact.

Quick reaction shot of HOBER MALLOW, as played by Bruce Campbell, though it's quite obvious he's reacting to something other than that last scene.

HOBER MALLOW
Ooh, that's gotta hurt!

Many different quick shots of CHARACTERS WHO AREN'T IN THE BOOKS doing STUFF THAT WASN'T IN THE BOOKS. Stuff like FUTURE WOMAN kissing SALVOR HARDIN. An UNIDENTIFIED ASIAN WOMAN in a glowing blue futuristic laboratory. And several reaction shots of OLD PEOPLE gazing HOPEFULLY at the stars.

ANNOUNCER
From the producer of Ender Versus The Buggers and Harry Potter Goes To The Moon comes this classic tale of action and love from Isaac Asimov, the most renowned science-fiction author of his time.

More scenes of a terrific SPACE BATTLE, over which we'll hear HARI SELDON's voice some more. This time we get TRIUMPHANT John Williams-like music to go with our scene.

HARI SELDON
Psychohistory can chart the rise and fall of great civilizations...

Cut to a CUTE LITTLE KID, played by Hallie Eisenberg (the Pepsi girl) flying around in a jetstar fighter in the midst of the great battle

CUTE LITTLE KID
Whoaaaaaah!

The fighter nearly misses a head-on collision with a massive starship.

THE CUTE LITTLE KID'S COMPLETELY CGI PUPPYDOG
Galloping galaxies! Dat vas close!

Cut to legions of robotic soldiers, commandeered by THE MULE.

HARI SELDON
and predict the arrival of figures both great and detestable...

The MULE raises his arms and the soldiers fire their LASER GUNS into the sky in a single BEAM OF ENERGY.

Cut to the GIANT BEAM slicing its way through space towards an unsuspecting small planet.

HARI SELDON
...but the future, the future is up to you. Make it count.

The BEAM totally DESTROYS the planet in a MASSIVE, SPECTACULAR EXPLOSION. From this explosion flies the film's logo, which emerges from the fire and hangs, grandly, in the air as all the sound and noise die down.

T HE FOUNDATION WAR S

We hold silent on this shot for a moment with nothing but a soft wind sound in the background, then cut to another WILL SMITH quip.

SALVOR HARDIN
Of all the Seldon Crises we've faced, that was the Seldon Crisiest, baby.

Quick cut to a large METEOR smashing into a building, completely obliterating it! BAM!! Then another quick cut to black, at which point the following appears on the screen:

PSYCHOHISTORY LESSONS BEGIN
7.3.2002

www.thefoundationwars-themovie-thewebsite.com

We hear a soft "wub wub wub wub wub" noise under this. Turns out it's the actual sound of ISAAC ASIMOV spinning in his grave. Unless he was cremated or something, at which point this joke is useless, but still worth the time it took to write.


My calculations say this will be Big Box Office Boffo, believe you me. And you know what? I've learned an important lesson today. It sure is fun writing tacky, sell-out material. Unfortunately I feel as if somehow, inside me, there's a tremendous longing for my soul back. Is this why Krispy Kreme is suddenly doing incredible business in LA?


Take care, and don't eat anything you shouldn't.