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John Scalzi’s Science Fiction Film Birthday Wishes – Cloverfield vs. Godzilla, and Antonio Banderas

It was my birthday last Monday. Don’t worry, I wasn’t expecting you to have gotten me anything, because I didn’t get anything for you on your birthday, either, and anyway, I’m one of those people who is hard to get gifts for, since when I want something I just go out and buy it, rather than passive-aggressively hinting to my wife about what I want. I find it’s just easier that way. I end up getting a lot of socks.

Nevertheless, there are some things I’d one day like for my birthday which I can’t buy, and as it not-entirely-coincidentally happens, they involve science fiction films. And while it’s too late for this year (I got socks!) maybe someone out there can start working on the things for next year.

1. I’d wish for George Lucas to come to my house, and personally apologize for the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. Because in his heart he knows he has sinned. Horribly.

2. But that’s not all! On the porch of my house, I wish for Lucas to announce that he’s expunging the Prequels from the Star Wars canon and has hired someone new to write and direct the story of Darth Vader’s rise. Who? Why, Quentin Tarantino, of course! Because, come on, that would be awesome: QT’s steeped in the lore, he does punchy dialog like no one else in the business, and anyone who’s seen the House of the Blue Leaves scene in Kill Bill, Vol. 1 knows that QT would make lightsaber duels that will reduce the fanboys to limpid puddles of squee. Also, this time you could be sure Mace Windu would not go out like a punk. Search your heart. You know it to be true. 3. I wish for the third Riddick movie, currently in
pre-production, to pretend that The Chronicles of Riddick was a
fever dream brought about by some sort of intenstinal parasite, i.e., it
never really happened. This is called “The Highlander Maneuver,”
although one hopes that Riddick III is better than the third movie in
that series.

4. Although my 11-year-old daughter will
disown me, I wish that James Cameron would say “Hey, you know what? No Avatar
sequel.” Because in a very real sense, a sequel to Avatar makes as
much sense as a sequel to Titanic. Or to put it another way, whatever
film James Cameron makes next, people are going to come to anyway,
so why not do something new? Alternately, that he gives the reins to a
second Avatar movie to a young, smart director who pushes into a
new place, like Cameron himself did with the Alien series. It’s
not too much to ask.

5. Somewhat related, I wish someone
would give Kathryn Bigelow $200 million dollars and tell her to go make
the most kickass science fiction action movie ever. Because she totally

6. I wish someone would greenlight one of the
following books for a movie: Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson, Hyperion
(and its sequel) by Dan Simmons, Grass by Sherri Tepper. To
be clear I would be happy if all of them were greenlit, but I’m not
greedy. One of them would be just fine.

7. And while I’m
on record noting that to date all movies based on video games have been
(as comedian Oswalt Patton might say) failure piles in a sadness bowl, I
wish that someone would realize that Half-Life and Half-Life 2
could be the games that could break that particular depressing streak.
And, yeah, a Halo movie in there might have a chance too.

In my deepest heart of entirely wrong wishes, I would love to see a Cloverfield
vs. Godzilla
movie. In 3D! Okay, maybe not 3D, because if they
filmed it like they filmed Cloverfield and made it three
dimensional, the theater floor would be a flume ride of vomit. And
that’s no good.

9. When the revived Star Trek franchise
inevitably gets around to hauling up Khan, I wish they’d use Antonio
Banderas in the role. Yes, I know. But Ricardo Montalbán wasn’t exactly
correct ethnic casting for the role either, was it? And just imagine
Antonio Banderas saying “From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee!” As Capt.
Picard would say (and will say again, once The Next Generation is
rebooted, oh, fifteen years from now), “Make it so.”

And while I think we’ve really had enough remakes out there in
Hollywood, I’ll make an exception for this one: I really really really
wish they’d reboot Buckaroo Banzai. And that they’d let me
re-write it.

Hey, these are my birthday wishes. I didn’t say
they were realistic. But I’ll tell you what: They’d all beat
another pair of socks. 

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