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
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
...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.
Jump cut! SALVOR and others are seen DASHING through
the industrial rubble of some planet, laser pistols wildly firing. There
is TECHNO MUSIC.
Next summer, 21st Century Fox invites you to take a journey you'll never
Scenes of a massive SPACE BATTLE that does not happen
in the book.
to the edge of the galaxy -- and beyond.
More exciting ACTION SEQUENCES that aren't in the
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.
Beware the Mule, Salvor. I predict his evilness will spread like a plague
and destroy all you've worked for.
Like I'm supposed to fear a guy named after something that goes "hee-haw"?
CRASH!! The MULE, played by Jim Carrey, bursts through
a window, though this isn't the GREAT HALL anymore. Cue the TECHNO MUSIC
Your Foundation's going down!
Over my dead body.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
...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.
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
Of all the Seldon Crises we've faced, that was the Seldon Crisiest,
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:
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
Take care, and don't eat anything you shouldn't.