Stupid pitch: Ozpocalypse (Oz Squad #1)
This may be the first in a series of humor pieces where I propose what I really think are stupid ideas for movies, TV shows, and so on. The purpose is to shine a light on something serious with humor.
Studio executive: “Okay, whaddaya got?”
Moviemaker: “It’s got everything you like. It’s perfect for the summer!”
Studio executive: “Blah, blah. Why is it safe and how will it make me money?”
Moviemaker: “It’s a reboot of a well-known property with a built-in fanbase. Yet, it’s been modernized to swim with the blockbuster tentpoles.”
Studio executive: “Three minutes.”
Moviemaker: “What’s the most beloved movie property of all time?”
Studio executive: “Porn?”
Moviemaker: “The Wizard of Oz. We–“
Studio executive: “We’re done here. Disney just did it. it wasn’t a big hit, and they claim infringement when somebody makes Mickey Mouse pancakes for their kid. Disappointing box office and Disney lawyers? I’m out.”
Moviemaker: “I can see where you are coming from, but the source material is public domain…nobody owns it. That also means no author to pay. Ours isn’t like theirs at all. It’s a mismatched group of heroes fighting a big CGI baddy who uses magic…The Avengers meets Harry Potter!”
Studio executive: “I’m listening again. Two minutes and thirty five seconds.”
Moviemaker: “Dorothy Gale is a tween in Kansas. She’s using an augmented reality program like Pokémon Go, where she follows an avatar of a little black dog. It’s called TotoGo. She gets caught up in a weird virus thing called Twister, and finds that her social media history has been deleted. A mysterious figure says she should go for help to a government official, The Wizard.
Along the way, she connects with a legendary hacker who uses multiple identities and only appears wearing a mask, like Anonymous…called The Strawman. Despite that name, we want to cast a woman in the part…maybe Jenna Ushkowitz, Aubrey Plaza, or Michelle Rodriguez.
The Strawman brings along an artificially intelligent war robot which failed to follow instructions, not going into dangerous situations when its existence was threatened. It’s a quadruped, and they call it the Neurologically Enhanced Remote Vehicle Experiment: NERVE. We’ll use Google’s Big Dog robot, and we’re thinking Kevin Hart for the voice.
They also connect with a former Special Forces soldier who favors an axe in battle. Code name: Heartless. His catchphrase: “I couldn’t do this if I cared.” We want Dwayne Johnson. Hart and Johnson already have a hit together.
When they get to The Wizard, he sends them on a suicide mission against the cyberterrorist believed to actually be behind Twister: the Wicked Wicked Witch…Triple Dub, like the World Wide Web.
Turns out Triple Dub is actually possessed by an ancient demon. There’s a huge battle…we’re thinking at least 45 minutes of CGI action. Triple Dub sends flying monkeys against the four…lots of scenes of Heartless chopping monkeys out of the air. Strawman overcomes NERVE’s programming resistance temporarily, and the robot is fearless and also splashes the screen with monkey guts, which should look great in 3D.
During the battle, we destroy the Yellow Brick Road and knock down large parts of the Emerald City.
The monkeys dismember Strawman. Heartless rides on NERVE to fight a Big Bad Henchman…a flying gorilla, like King Kong size.
That lets Dorothy get to Triple Dub, and the Kansas Kid dumps a sulfuric acid tank on her…we see that death scene in detail.
Heartless, NERVE, and Dorothy are celebrating. Strawman is dying, but manages to croak out, “This is wrong. No computers…no Twister.”
Dorothy realizes that The Wizard must really be responsible: why would a demon use software?
Dorothy, Heartless, and NERVE head back to expose The Wizard.”
Studio executive: “What about that mystery figure who sent her to The Wizard in the first place?”
Moviemaker: “Good ear! We get shots of her in a monitoring center following Dorothy’s adventures, but she only calls her the ‘asset’. She uses the Magic Picture and the Great Book of Records to track her.”
Studio executive: “Is that going to make the fanboys mad?”
Moviemaker: “That’s one of the best things…Glinda actually does just that in the original books. She has a magic picture which shows her anything she thinks about, and a book that records everything that happens in the world. She really is a magical NSA.”
Studio executive: “Twenty seconds.”
Moviemaker: “Totogo helps Dorothy find The Wizard. They reveal him as a fraud, and he gets kicked out of power and sent to prison. Glinda mysteriously helps Dorothy restore everything (“There’s no page like homepage”) and we set up future Oz Squad movies. Oh, and Strawman survived and is now outfitted with prosthetic limbs.”
Studio executive: “Sequels? Prequels?”
Moviemaker: “Tons. We’ve got a major trans character, a feminist overthrow of a city…diversity and action.”
Studio executive: “Give me one trailer: trailers are key.
Moviemaker: “I’ll give you two. The ‘Carnage’ trailer uses the Tim Curry version of “Anyone Who Had a Heart” as a soundtrack, and shows quick cuts of Heartless fighting, and the melting, but we don’t show who that is. The ‘Conspiracy’ trailer plays up the mystery and the tech…maybe Domo Arregato, Mr. Roboto, but we include dialogue. Not too much, of course.”
Studio executive: “Done. You get $125 million, and I want it in theatres in May.”
Studio executive: “2018. We have an opening.”
Moviemaker: “That’s…um…not enough time to do it right.”
Studio executive: “Who cares about right? Just make it make money.”
Moviemaker: “Are you sure that’s worth the risk? What about those sequels? I’m just thinking about your future profits.”
Studio executive: “Bull. You want to make art. It ain’t about art…there’s a reason it’s called show BUSINESS, not show art. Get down with that, or get out.”
Moviemaker: “You’ll get your movie.”
Studio executive: “You bet I will…and your little avatar, too.”
The Measured Circle thinks this is a bad idea for a movie…and of course, only good ideas are ever made into movies…
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