TVTropes, as internet-goers would know if they’re media-savvy, has an article on Highlander. That is, every Highlander thing ever made. At the end of the list, there’s a quote.
And apparently someone has bought the rights to (insert drumroll here) remake the original Highlander. The script for the remake was written by the screenwriter of the Twilight films. Yay?
This made me think about how one could make a modern Highlander movie that doesn’t suck. Here’s the entire list of ’em.
Well, yeah. It’s already said to be a remake, but if it somehow doesn’t fall through and becomes another sequel, I’m putting this up here as a reminder.
No sequel, no Duncan, no Guardian, no Source, no Kell, no 3, no 2, no watchers, no nothing. This is a remake of the first movie and nothing else. Connor, Ramirez, Kurgan, and other related characters that are actually required for the story.
- Gerard Butler as Connor MacLeod.
Um… Duh! I’m not even talking about the fact that he’s actually Scottish. I’m saying this dude is the most nearly perfect human being that could play the Highlander next to Christopher Lambert back in his day.
Need proof? King Leonidas shows that he can work with a blade. How to Train Your Dragon shows that he can be a vicious badass- Wait, that’s every other movie… Um… Oh, Gamer shows that he can dodge bullets.
In hindsight, I don’t really need to prove it- Wait! One more.
Timeline (an ultimately cruddy movie in my eyes, but that’s another story) shows that he can really pull off the Highlander look and attitude. Think about it, filmmakers.
No covers, just Queen. Freddie Mercury lives on, bishes. I don’t care if you have to spend more money than you have in your filmmaking budget in order to get the music rights. If you hire a cover band to remake the songs, people who love Queen will hate your guts. All of the guts, that is. Even if you had no part in the choice of music, Queen fans will hate your guts.
The Holy Ground rule aids in storytelling potential. I don’t think I need to establish anything else.
The only reason you should cast anyone from the original is for a well-fitting cameo. Otherwise, no Christopher Lambert, no Sean Connery, no Clancy Brown. If you show the cameo of one, fans would expect cameos from all of them, and then it’ll become silly like Fanboys.
Queen fans don’t count because… well… it’s f**king Queen!
- Utilize every storytelling potential.
Explore on the concepts of immortality, like the first movie. Explore how some people could take to immortality. Explore on attitudes, fighting styles, how everyday things differ now that a character is immortal.
Whatever you do, don’t put these explored themes on a bus either.
- Swordfights are Secondary.
This is more or less an extra part of the previous item. I know it’s an iconic aspect of Highlander, but Highlander is about the themes of immortality and competition for “The Prize.”
Keep It Simple, Stupid. This is a reboot. You don’t have several series-worth of mythology to work with. You don’t need to reference anything from the other movies- Hell, you shouldn’t.
Also, don’t try to scientifically explain the concept of immortality. The original movie involves corpses floating and electricity going through cars and walls and thing exploding even though they technically can’t. It’s a kind of Magic. That means don’t try to explain minor details. We can accept immortality if it’s shown. Seeing is believing, and we can believe Connor is immortal when he gets stabbed repeatedly, yet doesn’t die.
One of the most excellent scenes in Highlander was the part where Connor MacLeod was running through a Nazi invasion. Previously, we saw him in relatively primitive sheepskin coats and swinging claymores at people. In the future, he’s got a Japanese blade and a badass trenchcoat. It’s good to further establish the guy’s immortality by putting him through even more times. Maybe 1930’s France, or 1800’s Italy. When asked where he was from, Connor replied, “Lots of different places.”
So let’s see those lots of different places, eh?
- Maintain a similar level of special effects.
Don’t overdo the CGI. Those creepy-looking hand-animated demon dudes and electricity blasting across the screen fit perfectly with the lighting used in the original film. No zooming in to give people a close-up of crappy-looking lightning bolts. Let the CGI assist in telling the story, don’t let the story tell the CGI. You know, the kind of stuff George Lucas said before he started failing at that.
Besides, CGI these days looks too clean, too crisp. It’s the uncanny valley of visuals. Even in Hugo, it was a little bit uncanny until I realised that the film was not, in fact, animated.
For a change, let’s have some stuff that’s a bit more grimy. After all, this is a movie based around immortal dudes decapitating each other in gruesome fashions
They’re overused these days. Yes, I know they’re excellent for cutting heads off! In all honesty, sometimes a good swordfight includes a broadsword, or a war scythe, something simple, not exotic. Even The Kurgan’s sword was nothing more than an IKEA-packaged claymore.
- Get someone who can do the Kurgan voice.
At the end of Highlander, the Prize turned out to be Omnipotent knowledge and mind-reading, among others. How about we keep that as it is and nothing else?
If the Prize becomes god-like, then a character like the Kurgan winning means misery for the entirety of the human race. Do you think Kurgan wants to have a prize like “having children”? I think not. He’d throw his own baby into a wolf fight as soon as his mate birthed the son-of-a-gun. Sure killing children isn’t nice, I’ve already made my two-cents on that in my previous post. However, it really doesn’t seem as tragic as “Doing what he did to the Gal in the New York Chicken scene, except to the rest of the human race.”
- The writer of the Twilight movie screenplay is pretty much perfect for the job.
Dead serious on this one. Take into consideration the Twilight movie we got. Consider how accurate it is to the novel… Cause it kind of is accurate. I don’t even need to read the books to know that. I just need to look back on how every Twilight fan seemed to love the movie (and everyone who was sane loved to make fun of it.) I understand the movie was absolute crap. I could tell the writer knew that as well.
However, most of the stuff I absolutely hated from the Twilight movie was mostly the camerawork, the special and visual effects, the acting, and… well, the entire f**king movie. What I didn’t- nay- couldn’t complain about was the screenplay.
The writer wrote the screenplay because he/she wanted to make money for not too much effort. I can understand that. The typewriter or word processor machine needs maintenance to continue functioning. Am I right? Get the money you need so you can make the movies you want, like Uwe Boll, or Michael Bay- Okay, bad examples.
Any adaptation to Twilight would be stupid simple to write, on account of the fact that Twilight is trite to begin with. All the screenwriter needed to do is reverse Stephenie Meyer’s style and turn all the purple prose into something practical, then make the three pages-worth of material into one and a half hours of filmable stuff.
In all honesty, if I were given the very same opportunity, I’d friggin’ take it. After all, movies like these and shops like Hot Topic are the kinds of things that utilize “A Fool and his/her money are soon parted” as a marketing strategy. I could use the money to upgrade my computer, or invest into a movie I actually like.
That’s what the world is about, really. Fools get their money taken away by the smart people, who then give the money back to the fools so the fools do more things for the smart people, then the smart people sell more things to the fools to get the money back.
I’m actually glad to have fools in this world… I just wish a few of them weren’t major jackasses for completely unrelated reasons.