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Friday, December 10, 2010

Wild about Hari

Now this is bad: Emmerich does Dornick.

We originally announced last summer that Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy was headed to the big screen. After bouncing around between multiple production companies, the master of disaster, Roland Emmerich, and Columbia Pictures won an auction Thursday for the screen and development rights to Foundation. Best known for his disaster blockbusters (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and the forthcoming 2012), Emmerich will be using Foundation as a directorial vehicle - this time on a galactic scale. Emmerich and Columbia won the rights over others like Alex Proyas and Warner Brothers.

Foundation is an epic saga spanning hundreds of years where humanity finds itself scattered throughout the galaxy under the oppressive rule of the Galactic Empire. Originally published in serial format as five separate short stories beginning in 1942, Foundation tells the story of a group of scientists, the Psychohistorians, who are doing all they can to preserve knowledge as the colonies around them steadily regress. The study of psychohistory equates every possible outcome of a large society into readable, predictable mathematics, allowing its practitioners to accurately predict long-term events. Through this insight, a discovery with disastrous consequences is made and a plan is set in motion to avert it.

Although Columbia did acquire the rights to the trilogy, there's been no word yet on whether Foundation will be a single film venture, or if the entire Foundation trilogy will eventually make its way to the big screen. We're expecting Sony to test the waters and see how this first film does before they greenlight any sequels, given the size of the production. Whatever the case, Emmerich seems to be the perfect fit. However, I am weary of the difficulty to adapt Asimov's saga. With such lengths of time and a plot reliant on long-term, plodding effects, can Emmerich make it exciting while still being faithful to the source material?

- Brandon Lee Tenney, " Roland Emmerich Directing Asimov's Foundation Trilogy" (16 January 2009)

You don't need a pocket-calculatron covered with psychohistorical equations to predict another Bicentennial Man/ I, Robot- style galactic-scale frak-up coming to the box office with this. The mention in passing of "the oppressive rule of the Galactic Empire" shows someone completely missed the point... Others, too, foresee looming disaster:

"... My prediction is that the story will be dumbed down to Galactic Empire vs The Mule (an evil mutant rendered in CGI like Gollum), and the Foundation will be a secret defence force set up many years ago by Salvor Hardin that will swing into action using its awesome Psi powers. No need to mention Psychohistory, and certainly no role for Hober Mallow. ..."

To dull the pain (and, hopefully, to avert particularly egregious disasters on the principle that "whatever you foresee, will not come to pass"), I propose we gain some solace by predicting what scenes Roland Emmerich will graft onto Asimov's original story: eg...

* Nobody listens when Hari Seldon tries to warn the people of Trantor about the giant tidal wave that is about to destroy the First Empire. A sneering redneck Mayor mocks Seldon in a whiny voice. Later, audience cheers as said Mayor drowns in a spectacular sea of lava from the ice asteroid's impact while Seldon's infant son is rocketed away from the dying planet.

* Limmar Ponyets defeats Bel Riose by planting a sonic grenade in the exhaust pipe of the Imperial Fleet's flagship. Ponyets then escapes by holding his breath and free-falling down to the nearest planet, out-racing the growing fireball from the spectacular explosion.

* Hober Mallow shorts out the droid armies of the Korellian Republic using a computer virus program written by a wisecracking genius kid from the ghetto. The droids then explode spectacularly.

* Han Pritcher takes spectacular and bloody revenge on the Baroness - the ruthless, whip-cracking dominatrix who commands the Second Foundation's elite Death Skull marines - for killing his family and burning his farm to the ground.

* The Mule (Michael Clarke Duncan, with Ron Perlman playing his second head and Billy Crystal providing voice talent for his mutilated third head) spectacularly strangles his admirals one by one, using his prehensile scorpion-tail, as they fail to re-capture Arkady Darrell. Little do they realise that our spunky heroine is hiding inside an exhaust shaft, where they will never find her.

* Salvor Hardin punches out a Martian invader.

1 comment:

John H said...

Clearly a car crash in the making.

Still, could have been worse. Could have been Michael Bay. :O