Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, March 09, 2007

A Movie I'd MAKE:

This post of Tom's got me thinking...you know what movie (or mini-series) I'd love to see that they'd probably never make?

Justice Society of America.

I know it'd never happen, for one thing, it doesn't have name recognition to attract anyone but comic nerds anyway, but I'd think it could really be fun.

The backstory would, of course, be the trickiest aspect, but actually I think it'd be easier to do than say, Justice League. Honestly, if Superman, Batman and company are all teaming up in a movie, the audience are going to want to know how and why. No one would want to miss the first meeting between Clark and Bruce, and everyone else. There'd have to be a big threat, and we'd have to see Gotham, Metropolis, and how the heroes become aware of the threat...

In contrast, I think the Justice Society could be a lot easier. The average movie-goer won't *really* recognize the characters, so it won't be as big of a cheat if they're already acquaintances. And really, all we NEED to know about the JSA is that they were teammates during WWII. One flashback in action and done!

Then all it takes is a line or two at each characters' introductions to determine how they're still alive and relatively young. Heck, with characters like Alan or Sandy, we wouldn't even need a line. Solidifying out of green flame or earth will pretty much explain that bit real easy.

(For convenience sake, I'd have Sandy the Golden Boy already have the earth powers in the WWII flashback. That way the cool nifty special effect powers get to stay without need for complex sand monster explanation)

The line-up I'd choose would be:

Alan and Jay (team dads, most recognizeable),
Ted (gruff uncle, also good for PG to bounce off of),
Mr. Terrific (he'll be also the medical doctor, annexing Pieter's role).
Sandy (kid in flashback, adult in present, also in a good position for vaguely romantic subplots. Movies like those.)
Stargirl (Heart of the team, naturally)
Hawkgirl (Very simplified backstory)
Power Girl (Also simplified backstory)

Alan and Jay are obvious choices, I think. They really are the core of what makes the JSA work for me, that close familial feel. They're the group parents. Also their powers are kickass. Ted is fun because he's an authority figure that'll still play with the kids. Sandy's there because he's my favorite, damnit. Also, there needs to be a few younger members. He's in the neat position of being the youngest of the old-timers, and doesn't really fit in with them OR the second gens, so it'd be fun to play with that aspect of the generation/time gap.

I'm a bit uncomfortable with the fact that all the old-timers are men, but Hippolyta's simply too recognizeable. And it could be something brought up by Kara or Kendra to criticize the inequity of the whole group.

Michael was tricky. I actually like Pieter better, but I really like them both. The cast would have to be small though, and their parts/lines could easily get redundant. The role of team tech and team doctor are very easily combinable and I think Mr. Terrific is probably the more impressive of the two. What with the T-spheres. He'd need a more direct mentor/student role with the previous Mr. Terrific, I think, to make the passing the torch element simpler and quicker, but heck, he's in the same line of work, so it'd be easy enough.

Stargirl's a given. I'd probably just not mention the interim Starmen though. They're a bit...complicated. There might be a passing mention to others, but she'll get the rod directly from Ted. (I'm kind of liking the idea of her swiping it to join. :-) Shades of Stars and STRIPE)

Kara will need a pretty simplified back origin. But the daughter of a major team-big-wig trying to escape from her father's shadow and prove herself at the same time is something that would resonate with a lot of viewers. I'd like to avoid direct mention of Kal-L though (Also: no dimension hopping). Maybe he can be only briefly glimpsed in flashback. From shadow or the back. A funny in-joke to fans who know who that guy must be.

Kendra is tricky, but I think she'd be useful. Another powerhouse sort of character, the wings are iconic too. Very visually striking. I'd want to keep her with the reluctant hero personality she had at the beginning of the JSA storyarc, because her "I'm only here out of necessity" will balance Kara's over-achievingness and Courtney's mischief. Also, the unhappy loner finding some measure of acceptance and comfort in a surrogate family can be heartwarming, subplot wise. I'd keep her backstory really, really simple. Possibly a basic reincarnation thing (amnesiac of course) and have her stumble on the wings/nth metal, maybe at a museum.

(I'd also like to cast Kendra as someone of African-American or Middle-Eastern descent. She's very pretty in the comics, but more diversity is always good. And why does the reincarnation of an Egyptian princess need to be white?)

Also, all movies seem to need a little bit of romance, so a Sand/Kendra thing would probably be the best bet as long as it stays low key and doesn't interfere with the main story. (And I'd totally want a sequel where Hawkman comes back. Simplified, of course. :-P) Besides, it'd be cute to tentatively pair the reluctant hero with the time-lost, out of place character. (I also think it'd be cute to have Kara flirt with Michael. I'm all about tech-geek flirtation :-))

I really wanted to add Dinah too, but I refrained. For one thing, she'd be difficult to give an emotional subplot to. The older heroes have the thought-washed-up/not-needed comeback thing, the younger heroes want to prove themselves. Dinah doesn't need to prove herself, not with her obvious experience, her powers aren't visually striking, and honestly...visually, we've got a lot of blondes already.

The plot would be pretty simple, possibly cribbed a bit from the first arc of JSA. The heroes get together for Wesley Dodds' funeral. Something goes wrong. Whoosh! Out of retirement! Mordru would probably be too complicated. At least without the Dr. Fate connection, but there are a few large scale villains that could work for an intro.

Ooo! Karkull and Obsidian! And Kara can mention how she, Todd and others made a team once to follow in the footsteps of their elders. Not to mention, family stuff is always fun. :-) (Todd would of course redeem/rehabilitate himself at the end...and on the team in the non-existent sequel!...where he comes out!)

I'd like to play up the contrasts/similarities of Kara and Todd's situations maybe, since they're both the kids of the real intimidating powerhouses of the JSA.

Costumes are tricky though, because honestly...most superhero costumes DO look silly on real people. Especially real people who are gaining in years (Alan, Ted and Jay at least should look older) And honestly, they'd probably scare away any non-comic fans.

But heck, this is MY hypothetical movie damnit. And if I want Alan dressed like a Christmas Tree Ornament or Jay to have a funnel on his head, they're going to damn well do it.

Besides, they'd look even sillier in black leather a.la. X-Men.

I don't think it'd be a masterpiece of a movie by any stretch of the imagination, but I bet it'd be a fun way to kill a few hours. I'd watch it at least. :-P

13 Comments:

  • At March 09, 2007 5:17 AM, Anonymous ingvild said…

    As long as we get Alan's "I want something visually striking that they will never forget"-explanation for his costume, you can dress him in *anything*.

    ...Argh. Mental images. Do not *want*.

     
  • At March 09, 2007 8:45 AM, Anonymous Richard said…

    Hmm... the only problem I can see is that one studio would need to acquire the film rights to all the characters.

    DC comes under the Warner Brothers banner, right? So it's likely that Warner Brothers have the rights to most of them; or they might have sold off the film rights to other companies for some extra cash.

    It was explained to me that the reason there will never be a big-screen Avengers movie is that the individual characters (Captain America, Iron Man... etc) have been picked up by different companies wanting to make a movie about the individual. 'Ultimate Avengers' must have skipped around the limitation somehow.

    The time might be ripe for a JSA movie. Superhero films are popular, and if it looks fun and is well-reviewed people will flock to see it.

     
  • At March 09, 2007 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So, the real question is who would you cast?

    I am unfamiliar with many of the characters, but I think Mark Harmon (Gibbs from NCIS) would make a good Jay Garrett.

     
  • At March 09, 2007 10:44 AM, Blogger Anthony Strand said…

    I'd love to see a JSA movie, but I always love seeing JSA anything.

    Also, I always saw Roy Scheider as Jay Garrick. He's actually pretty close to being age-appropriate, though, so he's probably too old.

     
  • At March 09, 2007 12:53 PM, Blogger Simon said…

    Great idea, but I think Dr. Mid-Nite actually "pops" a little better as a character in a format where you won't necessarily have much time to delineate each JSAer's particular idiosyncrasies. Where Michael Holt is a genius (and one of my favorite DC characters), he's still a guy with "Fair Play" written on his sleeves and a big T on his face. Pieter (or Charles McNier, for that matter) get the neat gimmick of being a brilliant surgeon, blind in the light but sighted in the dark.

     
  • At March 09, 2007 1:46 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I would certainly go and see this movie. *sigh*. Why is it that all the best movies are the ones in our heads?

    I want a Green Lantern movie, with ALL the Lanterns, including Kilowog and Salakk etc. And the Guardians. And Mogo.

     
  • At March 09, 2007 3:32 PM, Blogger Jeff R. said…

    I think that the temptation to set a JSA movie either during the war or in the early '50s would be impossible to overcome.

    Makes everything too much easier...

     
  • At March 09, 2007 6:07 PM, Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said…

    I like your idea. But one small note on this statement...

    (I'd also like to cast Kendra as someone of African-American or Middle-Eastern descent. She's very pretty in the comics, but more diversity is always good. And why does the reincarnation of an Egyptian princess need to be white?)

    Actually, Kendra is Hispanic/Caucasian. Her mother Trina was a Mexican immigrant to Texas. She just suffers from the same "loss-of-pigmentation" disease as Connor Hawke depending on who is drawing her. :)

     
  • At March 09, 2007 8:04 PM, Blogger Captain Infinity said…

    JSA is the only comic I buy unconditionally and would love for them to get a movie. However, I'd much rather have a WWII-era film with the team in their prime. But that's just me.

     
  • At March 09, 2007 9:21 PM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    Hmmm... I'd kinda like to see a JSA-in-WWII film, myself.

    As for another female presence -- how about Mathilda Hunkle, the Red Tornado? I've been thinking for a while that you could do a terrific period-piece movie treating "Ma" as a (mostly) serious character.

    She could be there in the modern-day version, too -- no powers, and almost ninety -- but still a no-nonsense presence, as formidable and even intimidating in her own right as Alan and, ahem, "Kara's Father".

    Would it be egregious to suggest that Ma could be retconned as a person of color? The Red Tornado costume is so all-covering that it might conceal more than just GENDER. In a modern setting, however, that's treading dangerously close to the cliche of the Wise Old Black Woman.

    Weering over to other characters: Ted in the modern day is easy to explain, too: he's got Nine Lives. Around 1970 or so, when he was in his 50s, he had some kind of should-be-fatal accident, and wound up regenerating like a Time Lord. He could look about 50-something again when the movie starts.

    As for Stargirl... I hate to crib off the X-Men, but she'd be the perfect PoV character. And I disagree -- don't gloss over the other Starmen. Have her find Sylvester's Cosmic Belt in the attic, barge her way into the JSA, and get Caught Up In The Fight With The Big Bad. The whole movie is her coming of age and EARNING a place amongst these living legends, symbolized by Ted passing on the Cosmic Staff in the denoument.


    (I'd hoped to pass this on to my sons, but...)

     
  • At March 09, 2007 9:47 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Ooh, I like that, Serpent!

    I admit, personally I don't have a lot of interest in a period film. What makes me interested in the JSA is the sense of legacy, generations and family.

    Basically for me a WWII era flick would be a fun action romp, but a modern set one would have more emotional resonance.

    Also, and this is blasphemy, I know. But I like the second gen characters better in a lot of cases. (Also...easier to make a team that isn't all white rich men.)

    That said, flashbacks would be fun. (If it were a tv series, there could be a lot of fun with parallel stories in each episode: past and present)

    I do like adding Ma Hunkel though. :-)

     
  • At March 11, 2007 10:57 AM, Blogger R.Nav said…

    THe best part about Jay and Alan's costumes is they're not spandex, they're clothes! And who is going to tell old people they can't wear thatever the hell they want to? Doesn't work in real life :D

     
  • At March 11, 2007 4:03 PM, Blogger Your Obedient Serpent said…

    Actually, I can see Jay wearing spandex -- LITERAL spandex, the shiny stuff that runners wear in what we jokingly like to call the "real world". He'd probably even call it his "running suit" rather than his "costume".

    (Verification word: kneel before qZodd!)

     

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