Feels like I’ve seen this before…

Unfortunately, no LUCY progress today. I worked until noon today, had a parent-teacher conference, followed by some extra time with V on her homework.  But I’m working the midday shift tomorrow, so here’s hoping I can finish Act 2.

I did spend part of today reading ALL YOU NEED IS KILL, a Black List script by Dante Harper based on the Japanese novel by Hiroshi Hakurazaka.  It’s definitely an original take on what seems to be becoming a popular concept: reliving the same time period over and over again (a la GROUNDHOG DAY, DEJA VU and the forthcoming SOURCE CODE).  Only here it involves aliens, futuristic weapons and a wide variety of ways to die.

Earth has been invaded by a seemingly unbeatable alien race called the Mimic, capable of instant adaptation to a situation.  Humanity seems fated to be the losing side.

Cage, a poor excuse for a solider, is part of the latest military operation to take on the Mimic.  As he gets thrust into a particularly gruesome battlefield, he becomes hit with the oily black blood/internal fluid of a unique-looking Mimic.  And dies.

Then wakes up in his barracks, 36 hours before he died.  He’s seen all of this before, so he knows what to expect.

He soon figures out that he’s constantly repeating those 36 hours over and over again, each time ending with him dying.  As “time” progresses, he becomes more and more skilled as a warrior, eventually becoming just as good as mega-soldier Rita.

SPOILER ALERT!  As a young, awkward solider, Rita was also hit with the oily black blood, which resulted in her constantly reliving this time period until she figured a way out – kill the alien that sprayed her before it does.

Now Cage has to do the same.  But it’s not as easy as it seems, and there are some good complications thrown in to make sure there’s no happy ending.

Carson Reeves at ScriptShadow says the action scenes are some of the best he’s ever read – “visual, kinetic, unique – You really feel like you’re inside that battlefield battling those aliens.”  I’d agree with that, for the most part.  I couldn’t help while reading some of the battle scenes that either Hakurazaka or Harper might have been influenced by the battle scenes in STARSHIP TROOPERS.  Seems like all aliens really want to do to humans is tear them apart.  Whatever happened to good old-fashioned disintegration?

But I digress.

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL is definitely a visual screenplay.  It moves fast, but requires close attention due to everything that’s going on.  I had to re-read the pages where Rita explains how the Mimic always manage to be one step ahead of humans.

While there’s a lot of attention paid to the battles and effects, there’s also some good character development of not only Cage, but some of his fellow soldiers.  We get little glimpses into their personalities so we see more than just caricatures or cliches.

Also a nice touch: every time Cage starts over, he writes the number on his hand, which is the opposite approach to how it was done in the anime THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME.

This would look great on the screen, but a lot of it would have to be CGI, unless Warner Brothers plans to blow a lot of the budget on makeup and special effects.  They purchased it last year, making sure to include a clause that comes really close to guaranteeing it would start shooting within a year.  Which is around now.  It appears to be tentatively set for release next year, which seems to be the case for a lot of these Black List scripts.

Harper also wrote the script for the remake of THE BLACK HOLE, which I really enjoyed back in 4th grade.

Movie of the Moment:  Another two-fer.  We finished LET ME IN, and I have to say, I ended up being disappointed.  It was trying too hard to stick to the Swedish version that it raised questions that could/should have been answered.  What happens after the cop is killed?  Was Abby following Owen, which is why she was there when the bullies had him in the pool?  As K said, it was too European.  A little more Americanization would have worked better.

I took V and her friend to see RANGO, which I had heard was better than you would expect from an animated western about a chameleon.  While the story is clearly lifted from CHINATOWN (including a turtle resembling John Huston), there were some good laughs in it that sailed over the kids heads and some of us adults in the audience really liked.  On the way home, V asked what I was laughing at; it was too hard to explain.

It was a lot of fun, and even more so if you appreciate a good western.  One thing I couldn’t understand: this appears to be set in the present day, but this little anthropomorphized town is straight out of the Old West.  The reason why is never explained, but in the end still works for the story.

Lastly, there’s a subplot involving a hawk with a silver-tipped beak that I didn’t realize until the next day must be an homage to Lee Marvin in CAT BALLOU.  Very cool and clever, Mr Verbinski.

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