Sequel Treacle

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Asmodeus, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. Alien

    (A little clunky, but tries to capture some of the themes. I emphasize the fairy tale element, the ambiguous female protagonists, the idea of sexual violence in the kidnapping of the daughter, the idea of frailty and bodily weakness, and the sense of emptiness in space).

    Synopsis (open)
    Same opening mood as the original film. The vastness and emptiness of space. Open on a world of harsh rocks, vivid oceans and grey-white mists. Dream-like. The world has only one structure - an atmospheric processor. Something went wrong during colonization. Only one processor was built, and only two colonists survived. Mother and Daughter. They live alone with the single functioning processor. It is a castle. The idea of princess and wicked queen.

    But Mother is not evil. She has vowed to carry on the colony's work - to document the planet and its ecosystem and to keep the processor functioning. Daughter was born to her during the first days of planetfall. She is 15/16, the cusp of puberty. She helps where she can, but likes to wander and look out to the ocean.

    First half hour of the film is spent in solitude. There is emptiness. Mother works and Daughter roams the planet, picking up rocks, examining tiny creatures, watching the chemical oceans. Images of Classical Romanticism. It is poetic and empty. Mother tells Daughter stories of the old world and the other colonies, and warns her of monsters in the depths of the Processor building. Daughter fears the dark of the castle - stays outside whenever she can. Spends her days staring at the ocean, thinking she can almost see something.

    Then their world is shattered. The sky breaks, and with thunder and commotion something descends. A deep-space ship, massive and rain soaked. It lowers. Daughter runs back to the castle. Mother embraces her. They hide. The ship lands a few miles from the castle. Silence. A day passes. Mother locks down the castle and spirals into paranoia.

    Eventually, the airlock of the ship opens. From the window Mother and Daughter watch a skeleton crew emerge. They are weird creatures, in ill-fitting space suits. Some can barely walk, others limp or drag themselves. Some stop to cough or convulse. A zombiefied advance. They reach the castle and hammer on the doors. Mother yells through the intercom - tells them to leave. Human voices answer. They are space-travellers. Though crippled and malformed they are yet human.

    Daughter disobeys Mother, runs down to the outer doors and manually overrides. The visitors come into the castle.

    Second Act of the film. The newcomers reveal they are colonists, the first to be evacuated from the next system. Their planet was struck by an asteroid. They were shipped out on a medical vessel, because they were patients, terminal cases, bedridden infirm, amputees and manics. There are no heroes here. They had to land due to a malfunction, which killed the more capable medical staff. Only the stasis chamber with the patients survived. They managed to pilot the ship to land, pooling their expertise and overcoming their ailments.

    Mother grudgingly accommodates them while they make repairs to the ship. Daughter is intrigued by them. She befriends many of the newcomers, seeing past their ugliness. They tell her of the colonies and the universe beyond. She feels a sense of belonging. In return she tells them of her life here with Mother, of her nightmares, and of the monsters in the atmospheric processor.

    One of the colonists is an engineer. He stumbles upon the control room for the processor and glances over the readouts. He sees something wrong. The chemical output is not correct. Mother discovers him and demands he leave, without answering his questions.

    Another colonist is wily and curious. After hearing about the monsters he slips past Mother's vigilance and makes it down into the basement. He finds strange machines, haunting labs, stockpiles of chemicals, genetic material and medicines - the entirety of the original colony's supplies.

    He is killed. A horrifying glimpse. A creature, humanoid but utterly alien. A xenomorph in the darkness.

    Days pass. The ship is almost repaired. The man's body is found washed up in the ocean. It is brought back to the castle. Mother is the only doctor. She examines and finds infection - an embryo in the corpse's lungs. She puts the body in stasis and tells the others to keep away.

    Another man dies. Daughter tells the colonists of the monster. Some believe her. Some want to go down into the processor, to find and kill the xenomorph. Mother finds out and seals the basement. She refuses to let anyone investigate. The engineer character confronts her about the output from the processor - accuses her of poisoning herself and her child. Mother goes berserk. Starts sealing rooms and killing life support.

    Colonists flee. They take Daughter with them, despite her protests. They think they are saving her. They get the girl aboard the ship and finish last repairs. Mother is outside, hammering on airlock, screaming for them to return her daughter. They refuse. The ship launches and Mother flees from the take-off blast. The ship lifts into the clouds, pierces the atmosphere, and is gone.

    Camera zooms out on Mother, huddling at the edge of the blast crater. The sea beyond her has been displaced by the take-off, and the waves peel back from the half-glimpsed wreckage of another spaceship. It looks familiar... from films before. Also, Mother is wearing a modified space-suit - black and ridged, customized with strange spines and boney appendages.

    She looks like a xenomorph.

    Cut to the spaceship, entering orbit. The colonists are free of the planet and the mad queen. Their ship is fixed and they can continue the journey back to Earth.

    Daughter unclasps the helmet of her spacesuit, breathes the artificial atmosphere of the ship... and collapses. Coughing, screaming and convulsions. The character we thought the protagonist is now contorted. Blood sprays. Skin tears. A xenomorph bursts from her chest and scurries into hiding.

    Nightmare follows, condensed and relentless. The creature is loose in the medical bay. It grows, it hungers. It picks the disabled colonists off, one-by-one.

    With the protagonist dead the focus shifts to another character, as it did in the original film. Someone unexpected. They are left alone in the cavernous ship, with the alien hunting them. And all they have for comfort is a voice. It comes through the comms-system, relayed from the planetary transmitter below. It is Mother. She tells the survivor how her Daughter was impregnated, by a facehugger that destroyed the original terraforming crew. It crashed on the planet with the Sulaco, and plunged into the ocean. It was this the Daughter would glimpse beneath the waves. The other terraformers were killed as they finished the atmospheric processer. And Mother herself added the final touch: a chemical that her Daughter could breathe and which would keep the egg in her lungs from growing.

    Mother feared the Colonists would take her daughter from the sedative atmosphere. That is why she killed the ones in the basement; and why she scared her daughter by dressing in a spacesuit that triggered memories of the horror that befell the other terraformers.

    But now it is too late. When they took her Daughter from the sedative atmosphere, the gestation resumed.

    Mother knows that her daughter is dead, and that she is alone now, just as the survivor is. They cling to each others voices as the distance between them grows, and as the xenomorph hunts.

    The Survivor has only once chance. They get to the propulsion systems and disable the engines. The ship loses momentum and begins to spiral back into re-entry. At the same moment the xenomorph corners the Survivor. There is a last desperate battle as the ship plunges. The Survivor kills it, somehow, then braces for impact as the ship slams into the sea.

    More silence. More emptiness. The camera moves across the wreckage of the ship.

    A hatch unlocks. The Survivor clambers out. Terrified, injured and alone.

    No... not alone....

    The Survivor looks to the distant shore and sees the Castle.

    It is time to find Mother...

    THE END.
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  2. (I know nothing about Alien)

    Why did the Daughter randomly go and open the airlock?

    Why is there a huge lack of communication between Mother and the rest the entire time? Could've just explained it ... this small misunderstanding seems to underpin the entire story.

    The guy that died in the basement - was that Mother in a alien-spacesuit? Weird and a bit nonsensical.

    Is the atmospheric processor pumping that chemical out? You would have to pump a ton of it into the air, and most of it would be carried away by the air currents. We've been pouring CO2 into the air all over the world for nearly a century .. just starting to see the effects.
    #2 unanun, Jun 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
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  3. Gaaagh! Honest feedback!

    *falls over, twitching*

    The daughter's actions are motivated by empathy, and the mother's by paranoia. They are embodying dual poles of femininity. But the Hitchcockian extremes could become silly. Maybe it's just the Mother murdering, or a synthetic under her control - no fleeting xenomorph-like sightings. But perhaps I'm doing too much to set up the Ha ha! Leaving the planet is NOT the smart move!' twist. The themes of motherhood and fairytale monstrosity taken too far.

    And the atmospheric processor point destroys the movie entirely. Woo!

    However, it's still better than Prometheus.
  4. I accept your explanation about the mom and daughter.

    As for the technicality about the processor, it ends up asking another question I've been wondering for a while - does a story have to be factually consistent to be good? The vast majority would accept it without questioning. I myself suspended my disbelief and enjoyed the first read through, only critically looking through it on the second.
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  5. Also, what purpose does having a super crippled crew serve?
  6. Emasculation and human frailty are other big themes of Alien.

    *beats Unanun till he watches it*
  7. Is it actually a good movie? Or like B-horror?

    What do those themes serve to do? There must be a bigger theme that crippling serves.

    We can watch it together :O
  8. *butts in*

    I wouldn't call it a B movie by any means, though it is a bit old and the FX are a little cheesy subsequently. It's certainly a classic for a reason though. Not my favorite movie or type of movie, but yeah, well made and a good watch for sure.
  9. Ok, I reckon I'll shove some initial thought notes here from the first read and I'll go back and try to be more pedantic in a little bit. Seems like first feelings could be potentially useful before I forget them.

    First off the opening you described seemed a tad weird. It may be intentional but from the reading it came across more like WALL-E's opening, than Alien's. By that I mean, it seemed to be conveying a sense of wonder and perhaps curiosity and maybe even a weird tinge of hope, as opposed to claustrophobic frustration that Alien kinda seemed to be giving. sure both are showing loneliness. Though I'd argue that perhaps the loneliness of Alien is more of a building thing over the film rather than a dominant emotion of the opening. Then again it's been a while and I'm kinda going on what I remember.

    Curious that you almost flipped the cast dynamic on it's head in a way.. in that it starts off small then builds (though obviously it then drops again).

    I am.. rather unsatisfied with the alien space suit explanation/twist. It feels like it should have a reason beyond 'eh she made it to scare her daughter'. That feel pretty cheap when it feels to me like it should be connected to something deeper within the alien lore somehow.

    Also how the hell did the mother satisfactorily move in the fleeting manner aliens manage?

    Also a note on the discussion you guys are having. the castle is a terraforming machine that is designed to, and by the sounds of it has successfully terraformed part of a planet (at least that was the impression i got.. might be wrong whoops..) so I'd personally be very surprised if it couldn't pump the required amount of drugs into the air.

    EDIT: Alien is a good movie, the effects have held up pretty well (though don't expect the xenomorph to be doing anything too impressive). Just don't make the mistake i did on first viewing and go into it thinking it's a horror film.
    It might have qualified as such in it's day, and certainly has a lot of the hallmarks but I wouldn't describe it as a full-on horror film really.
  10. I've never seen the series so this should be interesting. >.<

    "First half hour of the film is spent in solitude. There is emptiness. Mother works and Daughter roams the planet, picking up rocks, examining tiny creatures, watching the chemical oceans. Images of Classical Romanticism. It is poetic and empty. Mother tells Daughter stories of the old world and the other colonies, and warns her of monsters in the depths of the Processor building. Daughter fears the dark of the castle - stays outside whenever she can. Spends her days staring at the ocean, thinking she can almost see something."

    I am concerned about the audience being bored in the first half hour. I think you can clump all of this information into a montage - images of the rocks, the creatures, the oceans - with narration on top of it. Half an hour to recount backstory is too much time spent in a movie I think.

    I didn't get the vibe of horror in this, only survival and solitude. The castle is a little odd to me, but I think you can make it work due to the insanity the mother is experiencing. It's an intriguing clash of themes. I do not get the vibe of sexual violence in the kidnapping of the daughter. It really does seem like the colonists wanted to get her out the planet. Even if the violence isn't included, I think it's fine as is.

    I never knew Alien movies would switch to a different protagonist and I think that's pretty cool. I like the concept of this Asmo.
  11. *burns the mother-in-spacesuit part*

    Yes, I agree the build-up would be too long. Alien had a lengthy first act before the weirdness began, but maybe that's not in keeping with modern audiences. And the castle is just a symbolic nugget - something the atmosphere processor might remind you off slightly - nothing over-laboured.
  12. Aaaaargh! Watch this post, I have other critiques that I will add, but The Family keeps pulling me away for shit. >_>

    This kind of struck me as odd. I know that they left in a hurry, but wouldn't a designated medical ship have some form of conveyance for the cripple-amputee-seizure patients? I appreciate the imagery that you're going for, but this could also be a great chance to incorporate the biomechanical theme that is also so prevalent in the Aliens franchise. Perhaps cripple-amputee-seizure patients fuzed to, I dunno, metallic flesh tentacle pods that slither them around.

    *Is dragged to the kitchen by auntie.*

  13. That's what I was going to do in my Chat Roleplay which I cancelled - have the mad android "fixing" the patients after getting scrambled by some signals from the Space Jockey Engineers.
  14. I note a distinct lack in badass synthetic characters. Every Alien needs a Bishop/Ash/David.

    Have you considered the possible ramifications of making Mother a synthetic? It would explain why A.) she was the only one not impregnated by a facehugger b.) how she could survive the toxin introduced to the oxygen supply for so long and c.) her extreme measures in protecting Daughter.
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  15. Could make the escape with the daughter a little more harrowing too when she starts being able to do quite super human feats in her attempt to catch them?
  16. That could work.

    I'm a little tired of the "Oooh, that android might be dodgy!" element in the Alien Franchise. But at least it's a fresh take on the motivations.
  17. Well, didn't Ridley Scott try to link the Blade Runner universe Replicants to the synthetics in the Alien franchise? That could be a linking element that seems a little less cop-outtish than just announcing "LOL same timeline!"

    The whole basis of Blade Runner was the ever hot topic of what it means to be human and where to draw the line, if there is one at all. In Blade Runner, it was near impossible to tell a Replicant from a human, in Alien, there's more of a (if not subtle) distinction.


    Take an oldie but goodie from that director and make it impossible to tell if Mother is human or synthetic.
  18. You can't half ass plausability. Either you wave it all away and say "just believe it, I'm only here for the themes", or, if the setting plays an important part, you have to characterize it properly. That's why I am so hung up on the (unanswered) question of plausibility.

    If you do a simple calculation, assuming the planet's atmosphere is 3 km thick, and has a 6000 km radius, the atmosphere is 1.3 billion cubic kilometers. If you want to get chemicals to ppm or, stretching it, ppb concentrations, assuming they're very biologically active, you would need anywhere from 1 - 1000 cubic kilometers of stuff.

    We emitted 31 million tonnes of CO2 a few years back - that's a cube of CO2 2.56 km long. So at minimum, you need to emit as much CO2 - a very simple molecule, compared to the crazy one imagined here - as humans do by using electricity, in a year. At most? 50 years.
    #18 unanun, Jul 5, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  19. Terminator

    Reading the latest rumours about the Terminator 5 plot, it seems very convoluted. How about this:

    Sarah Connor faked her death to get completely off the grid, and to avoid anyone using her to track John. Simple. No need for time travel. The leukemia was bullshit. She's well connected in T2 - it's not beyond her.

    Meanwhile, the nuclear bombardment happening at the end of T3 is only a partial holocaust. Something changes the timeline. Some major cities are nuked, but it isn't a true Judgement Day.

    Explain this by having a new Bad Terminator jumping back in time and stopping Skynet from the full launch. Skynet changes its mind. It realizes that it still needs to kill John before going for full global domination. Therefore, under the cover of the chaos caused by a devastating (but not apocalyptic) nuclear strike, Skynet gives the terminator the resources to start the hunt again.

    Sarah is off somewhere investigating something. Not Skynet this time. But instead the inventor of time travel. She realizes that the only way to stop the machines dicking around with history is to make sure that fucking time travel shit never happened. This is where you bring in Arnie or Robert Patrick or any old dinosaur actor you want. Have him play the inventor of time travel, who goes on to be a face model for the T800s. Have Sarah track that bitch down, and have John and whatsername realize that she's tracking him down (via the military transmissions they're receiving in the bunker - maybe Sarah hits somewhere big and the reports come through); then have the evil terminator realize the same damn thing.

    If you want a good terminator, put one with Sarah. That makes it even more plausible that John would hear reports about a giant robot attacking somewhere with a Linda Hamilton lookalike in tow.

    John comes out of the bunker and goes after Sarah. Because if his mum stops time travel, how is HE gonna be born? Right now, John doesn't know if his mother's a genius or a maniac, or if the Good Terminator is bullshitting her. So with his own existence on the line, he has no choice but to go after her.

    Boom. Chase movie through an America reeling from nuclear attack. Children of Men-style, but with the same pre-apocalyptic tension that you had in T2. The good & bad terminator can do the same infiltration naughtiness that made it cool, and you can have the same clash of old and new technology, along with that poetic, despairing edge that Sarah Connor brought to things.

    And if you really want Kyle Reese in there, make his parents characters. He was born 5 years into the war, after all. So maybe his parents are just getting together as all this shit goes down.

    Also, Arnie and Robert Patrick as a scientist duo = comedy gold.
    #19 Asmodeus, Jul 13, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014