Friday, May 18, 2012

Blast from the Past #538: February 20, 2007: Re: TMNT 147 Outline, and February 23, 2007: Re: TMNT: FF 144 second draft



Subj: Re: TMNT 147 Outline
Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 9:55:11 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

Lloyd,


Here are my comments on Ep. 147 outline.


1.) Re: the following:

"At the penthouse, Cody and Donatello are trying to make some sense of an anomaly that’s been occurring a little too frequently lately - the Turtles seem to be, as Cody puts it, “Periodically phasing in and out of…well, existence.”  Cody discovers a theory that there may be some kind of cosmic expiration date on matter that crosses over the space time continuum."

For the hardcore fans (and me!), it might be fun to throw in a line or two referencing the "phasing" that the Turtles experienced in the episodes when Ultimate Draco threw them into different times/dimensions. For example, one of the Turtles can make the comparison and Donatello can say something indicating that his analysis shows that it's not the same kind of phasing. A small thing, but cool, I think.


2.) Re: the following:

"Don picks up the MECH ARM and does a quick diagnostics reading on the computer.  He’s fascinated.  It doesn’t seem to be composed of anything on the Periodic Table of Elements!  But Raph’s not impressed – these days there must be THOUSANDS of new elements out there – after all, it’s a big galaxy.  But Don then shows Raph a mind boggling chart 10 times the size of the Periodic Table


Don: “I’m talking the Galactic Periodic Table.”"

This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. How could Darius create robots from elements of which the entire galaxy is unaware? That seems to me to be WAY beyond his capabilities.


3.) Re: the following:

"The Turtles take the offensive and charge - Raph first, delivering a swift kick right to one of the Mech’s heads.  It lands with a CLANK and an…


Raph: “OW!!!”


Raph hops around in dire pain as he nurses his sore foot. "

Dumb... especially because in the VERY NEXT SCENE Leo also kicks a Mech... and HE doesn't hurt his foot.


4.) Re: the following:

"Dark Mikey wails at one Mech, but the Mech doesn’t budge even after a succession of heavy blows. "

Unless MIkey is planning to fight the Mech by screaming, he WHALES, not WAILS. (And I think he would whale ON, not AT.)


5.) Re: the following:

"But the Mechs are right behind – and are gaining fast.  At first, they keep up with sheer foot speed but once they pick up enough momentum each leaps up in the air and refashions itself into motorcycle-style vehicles – with some serious speed."

Hmmm... not sure how THAT is going to work. Also, this seems to be one of those classic errors where the adversary is given preposterous abilities (in this case ludicrous speed) to suit the needs of this scene... but if the adversary REALLY had that kind of capability, it cold EASILY overpower and defeat the heroes.


6.) Re: the following:

"Suddenly the melted and disfigured Mechs scattered across the Fire Pits start to vibrate and all zip towards each other to construct what appears at first just to be a giant heap of metal debris…but slowly it reassembles itself…not into four separate Mechs but into a single large Super Mech.  Don realizes the Fire Pit blasts were simply not hot enough to melt down the Mechs.


Then, underneath the Super Mech, through the smoldering haze of the cooling fire walks Darius Dun, laughing maniacally."

Where the hell did HE come from?! And HOW?! Seems kind of ridiculous.


7.) Re: the following:

"Darius presses a remote button and from his ship the Dark Turtles are lowered. Darius goes onto mention how amusing it was to see them try and escape.  As though they forgot that he still controlled them by way of the hypnotically induced mechanisms he implanted in their brains.  They certainly couldn’t go far.


Darius: “Now then, where were we?  Ah yes, at the very end!”


The Super Mech HISSES into action as the Dark Turtles quickly herd up with the others.  Leo orders for them all to spread out – to not give the metal monolith a target…of course, the Dark Turtles don’t like taking orders…but they fall in line."

Okay, I'm confused. Are these "hypnotically induced mechanisms" (whatever THAT means) something already established? If they do exist, and give Darius a way to control the actions of the Dark Turtles, why didn't he use them earlier to allow the Mechs to destroy the Dark Turtles? In fact, why doesn't he use them NOW to prevent Leo from ordering the Dark Turtles around?


8.) Re: the following:

"The Super Mech continues it’s onslaught, stomping, pounding, firing lasers into the ground, everything."

So... where were these lasers earlier?


9.) Re: the following:

"Leo manages to trip the Super Mech up enough to step into the magma – when it raises out its foot – there’s nothing! It can’t even heal itself because the metal has literally burned away…short circuit sparks buzz from the severed limb.  Leo takes notice…


The magma!  It’s slow smoldering heat is the only way to take down
the Mechs because it doesn’t give them a chance to heal!  


Leo begins drawing its fire in a very specific order around the fire pit, right at the cracked points.  Soon, following Leo’s lead, all the others begin to do the same.  The ground continues to crackle and break apart until finally, a gigantic chunk of earth burns itself into the earth leaving an island of crusty land floating out into the red hot river of magma."

This is so full of goofy cartoon physics and silliness that I really don't know where to start. The deadly "slow smoldering heat" bit cracked me up.


10.) Re: the following:

"Our heroes look on…on one hand they’ve sent the Super Mech on a one way trip to a fiery end…on the other hand, the Dark Turtles are going right along with them.  The Turtles take a moment to think things over – but really, there’s no question…they know what they have to do."

I must have missed something -- HOW are the Dark Turtles "going right along with" the Super Mech?


11.) Re: the following:

"Back at the fire pits…Darius mourns when suddenly--a melted and disfigured arm claws its way up to the desolate land.  It grabs Darius’ leg and begins to absorb into him…Darius cries out…"

This "Darius mourning" bit is very weird.


12.) Given that the "Cody is the primary target!" thing  earlier in the script (a) is pretty silly (if he was the primary target, why isn't he attacked FIRST? It's not like Darius doesn't know where to find him!) and (b) doesn't have any kind of pay-off (in fact, it's mentioned a couple of times and then DROPPED completely), I would suggest leaving it out entirely.


-- Pete


-----------------------------------------


Subj: Re: TMNT: FF 144 second draft
Date: Friday, February 23, 2007 10:07:20 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

Lloyd,


Here are my notes on Ep. 144 second draft.


(Just thought I should point out before I get into this that I never saw a FIRST draft of this script. Don't know if that matters...)


1.) Re: the following:

"* FOUR GREEN NINJAS appear! Wearing outfits and masks that bare a striking resemblance to our half-shelled heroes, they surround the small Chinese man.
* Master Fighter assumes a Kung Fu pose. Ninja #1 jumps at Master Fighter. A swift kick sends the monster flying backwards, CRASHING THROUGH stalks of bamboo."

For clarity's sake -- are these ninjas or monsters?


And it's "bear", not "bare".


It occurred to me that it might be fun to stage some or all of this fight in the bamboo forest with the fighters using the vertical bamboo almost as if they were horizontal. Think "ninja strippers"! Okay, maybe I've gone off the deep end...


2.) Re: the following:

"*MICHELANGELO (PLEADING)
Wait! You’re gonna miss his signature move- (MIKEY ASSUMES MASTER FIGHTER’S POSE) The Fatal Fist of Fury?!"

Might be funny to have it be the "Furious FIst of Fatality". Or not.


3.) Re: the following:

"EXT. DINGY MOVIE THEATER, NEW YORK – NIGHT
* ON STREET CORNER, the movie theater’s “Master Fighter Marathon” MARQUEE is prominently displayed. The POWER GOES OFF.
CUT TO WIDE OF CITY BLOCK. The entire grid GOES BLACK.
CUT WIDER TO MANHATTAN. One by one, POWER GRIDS GO OUT.
INT. POWER FACILITY, NEW YORK – NIGHT
CLOSE ON POWER CONSOLE. ALARMS <BLARE!>
ON ROOM as POWER WORKERS FRANTICALLY RUN AROUND.
*POWER SUPERVISOR #1
It’s one of the satellites from the Earth Atmospheric Defense Grid. It’s disrupting the city’s power!
* SWISH PAN TO POWER SUPERVISOR #2. 
*POWER SUPERVISOR #2
Install a new Power Coupling!
* CLOSE ON SMALL GLOWING BOX (POWER COUPLING) as it’s placed inside a POWER TURBINE.
EXT. SPACE
On DEFENSE SATELLITE as a BOLT OF ENERGY IS RELEASED. TILT DOWN to show BOLT heading for Manhattan.
EXT. NEW YORK – NIGHT
BACK TO WIDE. One by one, the POWER GRIDS TURN BACK ON.
INT. POWER FACILITY, NEW YORK – NIGHT
* ON Power Supervisor #1, looking at computer screens.
*POWER SUPERVISOR #1 (RELIEVED)
Looks like we’re back to normal…
ON POWER CONSOLE. We FLY INTO CONSOLE, between WIRES AND CIRCUIT BOARDS until reaching A GLOWING BALL OF ENERGY.
It assumes the SHAPE OF VIRAL’S FACE."

I'm not sure if it is really important, but I can't follow what is happening here.


4.) Re: the following:

"*LEONARDO (OS)
We felt bad about you missin’ your movie marathon, so Don whipped up this new program!"

Leo doesn't say "missin'". Raph might.


5.) Re: the following:

"*SPLINTER (SKEPTICAL)
I see we have a new guest.
MICHELANGELO (EXCITED)
Splinter, look! It’s Master Fighter.
*SPLINTER (DISAPPROVING)
You mean the same Master Fighter who has been polluting your mind with those ridiculous movies?
*MICHELANGELO
Uh, no?
SPLINTER (LECTURING)
Michelangelo, the martial arts are not a special effect. It is people like him who have taken centuries of study and discipline, and turned them into a joke.
DONATELLO (EMBARRASSED)
It’s just for fun Master Splinter.
SPLINTER
Well, I will be at the park meditating; true “fun” for a noble warrior."

There's something icky and slightly nasty about how Splinter is deriding Mikey's "Master Fighter" fannishness here... not sure what it is, but it just doesn't feel right. And it also seems strange for Splinter to refer to himsefl as a "noble warrior".
It also occurred to me that if we have this "Master Fighter" character actually leaving the dojo to go on Viral's mission, it should be made clear beforehand that he/it is some kind of droid, and NOT just a hologram.


6.) Re: the following:

"*DONATELLO
Something must have infected the Master Fighter program! Now he’ll tear through New York trying to find the Relic of Jenga-Ka… whatever that is!"

How does Don know this?


7.) Re: the following:

"*LEONARDO
Mikey, how much damage can that guy do?
MICHELANGELO
If it’s anything like Master Fighter 33: Lord of the Swings, about $20 million."

Nonsensical, unfunny, and does nothing to move the story forward. I'd lose it.


8.) Re: the following:

"MASTER FIGHTER
Soon, the Relic of Jenga Ka will be mine!
<HONK!> <SKID!> A HOVER-TAXI comes within inches of hitting Master Fighter. The alien driver sticks out his head.
*TAXI DRIVER
Hey, get your Jenga-Butt outta the road!"

How does the taxi driver know about "Jenga"? Silly.


9.) Re: the following:

"* Leo, Don, Raph and Mikey wander through the streets of New York. 
*RAPHAEL (FRUSTRATED)
10 million people in this city and we gotta find one guy wearin’ a Kung Fu bathrobe! Yeah, right! How do we do that?!"

Very goofy lines from Raph. Shouldn't Don have a way of tracking the Master Fighter droid? And... "kung fu bathrobe"?


10.) Re: the following:

"* Master Fighter jumps on and “surfs” a HoverCar."

This makes ZERO sense.


11.) Re: the following:

"ON RAPH AND LEO as they carefully SIZE UP one another. Master Fighter withdraws the SWORD he took from Leo."

I think that  should be "ON RAPH AND MASTER FIGHTER".


12.) Re: the following:

"RAPHAEL (CONT’D)
The acting stinks! The plots are lame! And I’ve seen more cheese in Mikey’s tortellini!"

Raph's "cheese line" doesn't make much sense. Is he saying the Master Fighter movies are LESS cheesy that Mikey's tortellini? 


13.) Re: the following:

"SPLINTER (PATRONIZING)
To use a clich√© you might understand… Bring it on."

Ugh. Groan.


14.) I find myself completely lost trying to figure out where Cody and Serling are, where Viral is holding them prisoner and how. Inside the Battleshell? Inside TurtleX? Cyberspace? Huh? How do the Turtles " STORM INTO CYBERSPACE"? This all needs a LOT more clarity.


15.) Re: the following:

"* Splinter softy lands and looks at the aching body of Master Fighter. He sees a LIGHTNING BOLT STREAKING DOWN FROM THE CLOUDS.
*SPLINTER (CONCERNED)
No!
* Splinter runs and SHOVES MASTER FIGHTER OUT OF THE WAY. The BOLT hits nothing but dirt.
* ON DAZED MASTER FIGHTER as he opens his eyes. Splinter’s hand comes INTO FRAME, offering to help.
* Master Fighter pauses a moment, but then takes it, standing to his feet.
*MASTER FIGHTER (SHOCKED)
You… you saved me!
*SPLINTER
Virtual or not… all life is sacred.
* CLOSE ON MASTER FIGHTER’S EYES. They fade FROM RED TO NORMAL.
* ON MASTER FIGHTER as he KNEELS before Splinter.
*MASTER FIGHTER
As an honorable warrior, I am indebted to you! My life is yours."

This is all really bad. It barely makes any sense at all. 


16.) This episode has a lot of potential, especially for action, but -- frustratingly, at least for me -- it is at present pretty incoherent. The major problem, as I see it, is that I don't know what this "Master Fighter" thing that the Turtles and Splinter fight IS. Is it a hologram? A droid? A sentient AI? A heaping helping of consistency and internal logic would go a long way towards making this one palatable.




-- Pete

2 comments:

  1. Hello Mr.Laird, since you are now posting your commentary on scripts that haven't actually been made into episodes, is it possible you still have the full scripts, without the commentary, too? It would be really, really cool if you posted those!

    ReplyDelete
  2. And I mean the final versions of those scripts of course, not first drafts ;)

    ReplyDelete