Monday, May 17, 2010

The Storyboards to James Cameron's Spider-Man Movie (via Cinematical)

I wish I could post them here, but that would be unethical. Or something like that. I'm kind of sketchy on all this Internet etiquette stuff. Instead of just downloading Cinematical's images and putting them on my blog as if I had discovered them, I'm going to post a link, then mock the storyboards here. This will force you, the reader, to jump back and forth, but it can't be helped.

1) Peter Parker uses his spider-powers to spy on Mary Jane in her bedroom. This is a scenario right out of those teen sex comedy flicks we loved so much in the 70s and 80s. It's something Anthony Michael Hall would have done in Weird Science 2: The Spidering. Or perhaps it was simply inspired by Scott Baio and Willie Aames's 1982 coming-of-age classic Zapped!. What I don't understand is why Peter is screaming in horror. Does Mary Jane have a colorful dragon tattoo covering her entire back? An immature conjoined twin protruding from her spine? Or has Puny Parker been decapitated and his severed head webbed to the Watson house's exterior wall by his arch-enemy Venom?

2) A middle-aged Peter Parker pops a zit. This is a side-effect of the spider-powers: pus-filled zits that, when popped, spew a juicy stream containing billions of baby spiders. This scene was designed to occur in a post-credits sequence showing some of the late life negative consequences of Peter's having been bitten by a radioactive spider.

3) Spider-Man discovers the earth has been inverted. The city is where the sky once was! The sky is where the city once was! And only Spider-Man, with his amazing spider-sense, is aware of the change!

4) Peter Parker attempts suicide. This is from the hilarious sequence early in the film which shows just how miserable Peter Parker's life is-- the poor, put-upon guy slashes his wrists, only to have the blood spurt directly into his eyes, leading to a slapstick chain of events as the temporarily blind high schooler stumbles around his bedroom trying to find his phone so he can call 911. And all the while, he's becoming progressively weaker from loss of blood.

5) Peter Parker dreams of Mary Jane. This occurs the morning before he's bitten by the spider. He's a teenager; it's self-explanatory.

6) Spider-Man Makes 1000 Cranes. This is from a moving scene where Spider-Man uses his enhanced abilities to do origami.

7) Spider-Man Cuts Loose. Here's the dramatic scene in which Spider-Man swings above Manhattan and farts, his spider-powers imbuing his gaseous emission with a huge odor burst that sickens half the city.

8) The Message. Late in the film, one of Peter Parker's talking spider friends attempts to warn the boy's elderly father about the danger Pete's placing himself in as he takes greater and greater risks while fighting Venom and the Green Goblin. Mr. Parker angrily smashes the spider before it can impart its message; this later has tragic consequences.

9) Spider-Clones. One of the movie's many subplots is a reiteration of the infamous "Clone Saga." Here four Peter Parker clones escape from a secret laboratory, one right after the other.

10) Ben Affleck. There's a strange fantasy sequence where co-star Ben Affleck-- playing himself-- shoots webbing from his wrists at tiny Afflecks, a la the windmill scene in Sam Raimi's Army of Darkness. This is ironic in that Raimi eventually directed the first three Spider-Man movies, while Affleck gained spider-abilities in real life and almost destroyed his movie career in favor of a life fighting crime.

11) Insurance. In this scene, Spider-Man attempts to shill for Geico auto insurance, and the guy in the foreground just isn't having it, baby, despite the many dangers he faces in his sweet new ride.

12) That's Entertainment! In the film's climax, Spider-Man throws a web-shaped shawl Mary Jane knitted for him at Marcel Duchamp's 1915-1923 work The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even (La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même) while an anonymous dancer shows off some Bob Fosse-choreographed moves. Cameron originally planned this as a muscular musical number, prefiguring Takeshi Kitano's tap dance finale for his flick Zatoichi.

Well, I'm flabbergasted. Cameron's vision for his Spider-Man is strange and, at times, quite disturbing. I'm not sure if we comic fans avoided a cinematic catastrophe, or if the world lost a Fellini-esque masterwork.

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