Sunday, October 2, 2011

Silver Surfer - Script Review

Post based on the script 'Silver Surfer' by John Turman.

The Verdict:
On-the-nose writing and a far too alien superhero weigh this script down, although it has many good ideas.

What's it about?
Silver Surfer comes to Earth as the herald for the planet-eating alien Galactus. But with human contact, the Silver Surfer learns about compassion, friendship and love, all the while a philandering, alien-sceptic SETI worker and a blind woman have to find a way to stop Galactus.

1. The Writing is so 'in your face' sometimes, like this (p. 39):

She looks transcendent in her compassion. Ray's in love, he just doesn't know it yet.

This is the end of the interrogation scene between Ray and Alicia, but instead of showing his beginng love to us, the script just says Ray's in love, which is kind of lazy.

2. The Structure of the movie was really off: The Set-Up and whole first act took ages, it is only on p. 66 that both protagonists define their goal of the movie:

And save the world?
Why not? Someone's got to.

3.  Two unbalanced main characters: The logline says it all. Silver Surfer comes to Earth and goes on a sight-seeing tour, he is stunned by the human's capability to love and feel and frightened that so many of them choose to be evil. On the other hand are Ray and Alicia, who desperately try to save Silver Surfer from the army (which he can do own his own, by the way) and finally stopping Galactus from eating Earth. But they didn't need the help of the Silver Surfer to stop doom. Ray figured out Galactus' interest in music, it was nothing Silver Surfer learned on Earth, or something Ray from Silver Surfer.
Unfortunately this plays out like an alien invasion script with a silver guy surfing through it.
I understand the problem, Silver Surfer, or Norrin-Rad, is too alien for the typical superhero movie. His backstory doesn't play on Earth, so it is really hard to find a concept that makes him relatable. Regrettably, this script makes him far too removed from the protagonists.

The Project: 
A long list of people where attached to the adaptation of Silver Surfer over the years. Starting with Bernd Eichinger and George Lucas, then Quentin Tarantino. Many screenwriters like Richard Jefferies, Rudy Gaines, John Rice, Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en, Sleepy Hollow), Don Payne (Thor, Fantastic Four 2), J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) tried their hands at the script over the last two decades, but after the box office failure of Fantastic Four 2 it doesn't seem too likely, that there will ever be a Silver Surfer movie on the silver screen.

As always, I would like to hear your opinions on the topic: Would you like to see a Silver Surfer Sequel? Or rather a reboot/re-imagening? Did you read Turman's script? What is your impression of the writing?
Comment section works without registration, just choose Anonymous and write on!

- Tristan

1 comment:

  1. I would personally love to see a Silver Surfer movie. The original comics series is so dense and deep but I think to do it justice, they should leave Earth completely out of it. Just make it a completely sci-fi, galactic adventure.

    In the original series, Norrin Radd starts out as a human-like alien before making a deal with Galactus. I think this would be a great way to build empathy and show the human side instead of just making him a random alien. This would definitely need to be a more serious-minded comic book film though. If done right, it could have the feel of '2001: a Space Oddysey' emotionally but with a bit of an action bent.

    Where can I find this script? I would love to read it!