By El Mayimbe on August 6, 2008
El Mayimbe here with more of my post Comic-Con scoops.
If you were a kid of the 1980’s like I was, then you remember how huge V was back in 1983. How big was V?
The original four hour mini-series was a landmark event in television. The initial broadcast in North America drew and kept 80 million viewers! It was NBC’s highest rated program for two and a half years. The ratings still places it among the Top 15 mini-series in all of television history. V was named by TV Guide as Number Five among The Top 25 Sci-Fi Legends in TV History and was selected by Entertainment Weekly as one of the The 25 Greats: The Best Sci-Fi TV & Movies of The Last 25 Years. V’s 2001 DVD release became an instant best-seller worldwide with no advertising or promotion. Video sales are over 2.5 million units. Damn! I don’t have my dvd yet, hopefully Mr. Johnson can send me an autographed copy after he reads this.
For a hot minute now, Kenneth Johnson, V’s creator has been trying to get the movie and a true sequel to his original mini-series made (V: The 2nd Generation based on his novel). The juggernaut that was V, I’m sure it will find a home soon. As little as two weeks ago on Kenneth Johnson’s website, he claims that folks are working hard to bring it before cameras.
I loved it as a kid and was thrilled when I was able to score the 145 page script dated September 1, 2007. V: THE MOVIE is a film adaptation of the critically acclaimed 1983 two-part television mini series. I read the script on the nightmarish plane ride home back to New York from L.A. and the read kept me occupied.
So what’s the verdict?
Loved it then, and love it still. The script’s biggest success is modernizing the premise into a well-paced story that draws parallels to the modern war in Iraq. As a script, V: THE MOVIE tells an epic story solidly. The plot follows many key and important characters but focuses mainly on news cameraman Mike as he fights his way to expose the true nature of the hostile alien threat, while joining a small but growing number of human resisters against the alien occupation.
The story worked 25 years ago and still works today. The lead characters, the central conflict and the overall plot are extremely similar to INDEPENDENCE DAY and V FOR VENDETTA and in fact V: THE MOVIE could be pitched as those two mentioned rolled into one. Drawing upon the major Orwellian themes found in the aforementioned films, while coupling it with a blood thirsty hostile alien race looking to steal earth’s resources and enslaving mankind, the script is no doubt HUGELY commercial!
Here is the summary of V: THE MOVIE. Warning spoilers lay ahead…
MIKE DONOVAN, 35 a news cameraman, is caught in the middle of a war between rebel fighters and government military somewhere in Africa. He films the bloody battle unfold with the help of his assistant and partner TONY LEE, 35, just as a military attack helicopter explodes in midair. Confused, the pair look up into the sky to see a giant, looming alien craft engulf the sky. Meanwhile, JULIE PARISH, 26 and a med student, sits in her bioresearch lab showing off her cancer treatment discoveries when a TV is turned on and a newscast reveals that huge alien crafts have arrived at all major cities around the globe.
Later in New York, a huge alien ship looms overhead and asks to speak to the head of the United Nations. Once the Secretary General agrees to speak with the aliens (the Visitors as they will be referred to as), the aliens reveal they come in peace and seek human help to save their dying planet. They ask to transform existing chemical plants to manufacture their needed element. In a gesture of good will, they invite humans onboard their craft. Having come home from Africa, Mike is selected to board the alien craft to take pictures and forward them to the rest of the world.
Having now established human trust, the Visitors and humans implement a joint law enforcement task force to curb violence. With this, the Visitors secretly and menacingly start killing and kidnapping many scientists worldwide. With the public still unaware of what is occurring, they broadcast a message to the world saying that scientists have implemented a conspiracy against the Visitors and that they are endangering their efforts to help mankind. Just as soon as it’s started, a global hatred for scientists and their families springs up.
Mike and Tony uncover evidence that the Visitors may not be who they say they are. Mike is able to sneak onboard the alien mother ship in an effort to gain some answers. He’s shocked to discover that the Visitors eat live animals and are reptilian in appearance, instead of human like they present themselves to be. A Visitor sees Mike and attacks him, ensuing in a small struggle. Mike is able to escape the ship with some wounds, but in the process alerts the aliens to his hostile intentions. Mike is able to get most of what he saw on video and tries to air the footage at the television station, but is blocked by the Visitors who label Mike as a terrorist and offer a substantial reward for his capture.
As the Visitors tighten control on the world and implement marshal law, Julie decides she’s had enough of the Visitors and the backlash she faces for being involved in science. She creates the Resistance organization, aimed at ousting and exposing the Visitors, and manages to find some people that are willing to fight for the cause. Meanwhile, Mike and Tony enter a Visitor chemical plant to sabotage it, but are faced with Visitor Troops. They lose the battle and are hauled off to the mother ship. Onboard, Mike gets a glimpse of the shocking truth when he discovers humans being tortured and imprisoned. MARTIN, a 40-year-old Visitor sympathetic to the Resistance, tells Mike he’ll help him escape and to get away as fast as he can.
Having now established a small Resistance movement, Julie takes in the newly escaped Mike. She offers Mike insight on the movement as Mike tells of his experience on board the ship. They agree that Mike should once again go onboard to see if he can get more answers and somehow sabotage the Visitor effort. Once Mike sneaks onboard, Julie and the Resistance attack a military armory to stock up on much needed firepower.
Mike makes his way through the depths of the mother ship. He runs into Martin, who tells him that the Visitors are there to take all of Earth’s precious water and that they want humans for food and for slave troops back on their home planet. They don’t want to share the water, but take it all for themselves. Meanwhile outside the mother ship, many Visitor fighter crafts attack the humans and Resistance fighters below. The Resistance furiously battle back, with the help of Mike and his stolen alien fighter, and are able to take down a few fighter crafts. They taste victory as they win the battle with the Visitors.
Three months later, one of the girls in the Resistance gives birth to a half-breed baby from an apparent earlier sexual encounter with a Visitor. The Resistance realizes that the only hope of survival and victory against the Visitors is to send out a distress signal into space in hopes of another alien race, enemies to the Visitors, pick up the signal and come to help out mankind. Out in space, an alien insectoid ship picks up the signal and decides to head to earth to assist humans in battling the Visitors.
Yes, the movie ends on a cliffhanger which leads into V: The 2nd Generation. I also managed to score the script to the sequel, V: The 2nd Generation and will take a look at it in a future script review.