Interesting post here by Ron Miller about a proposed movie called Pentizel, which never got beyond a synopsis and a bunch of concept art.

Totally not Catwoman

Reading about it, this paragraph struck me, and made me think the movie would’ve been wicked awesome:

The reporter does eventually catch up with Pentizel…only to discover she’s a great deal more than he or anyone else has bargained for. And not the least of his discoveries is that Pentizel has been manipulating Omninet and her creators as much as they have her…

It’s like discovering that Frankenstein’s monster has a rather clever scheme of his own.  And is also a hot naked babe.  And… wait, this is also sounding like shlock.

Looked at from a slightly different angle, the project was a bunch of male geeks with one more sf dystopia, with the usual Nature Is Best atavism presented with more than the usual sexualization.  (That really is a beautiful image up there, but the poor panther-girl is holding what must be a terribly uncomfortable pose.  It’s intended to suggest a cat’s crouch, I guess, but a crouch is preparation for a leap.  The girl could hardly jump from that pose, or do anything else– it’s preparation for nothing.)

Just as there’s only one real robot story, there’s generally only one Sexy Female Assassin story.  And not much more than one Evil Dystopian Corporation story.

I don’t think anyone actually sets out to make a schlock movie.  Everyone would really like to make something awesome.  The thing is, there’s always so much to do for a movie that people lose track of whether it’s actually awesome or not.  It’s not that hard to get some great concept sketches, not even that hard to get great characters, great actors, and some great action sequences.  All these involve technical skills, and you can pretty much buy whatever you can afford.  Plus you have to keep everyone busy, so you have them work on the pictures and the sets and the action sequences and figure it’ll all work out when you have a final script.

But you can’t buy a killer plot.  You should be able to– lots of people love to write, and you can get a new script in a month if you want one.  But a really amazing script is a rare beast.  Most blockbusters get by merely with having everything else really well done.  (Blade Runner is the Robot Story with stunning set direction.)  And if some things aren’t so well done– well, with a mediocre script and other mediocre elements, you end up with shlock, without ever intending to.

Now, I’m not slagging this project in particular– maybe it’d be the exception.  But really, don’t we kind of know how the above paragraph would turn out?

  • Reporter tracks catgirl down.  There may be a fight.  There will certainly be some making love.
  • Catgirl shows reporter some even more gruesome things his employer is up to.
  • They resolve to Fight the System.
  • They fail.  Optional: Catgirl is caught and tied up, has to be rescued.
  • They have a daring new plan that requires a lot of climbing up scaffolding, sneaking through labs, clawing henchmen, blowing up enormous things, and finally doing some sort of spectacular violence on the final boss.

It’s an OK plot, but again, whether the movie is Batman Begins or Aeon Flux depends mostly on how good the non-plot elements are.

Anyway, that’s enough for now as I’ve got an awesome idea for a movie.  Don’t want to put in too many spoilers, but it’s going to have fantastic cityscapes, beautiful and deadly girls, and horrific monsters.  All in the same movie!

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