While writing about the extended cut of Alien 3 last week I remembered the brilliant documentaries that accompany the Alien films on the Alien Anthology Blu-ray box set. The Alien 3 documentary not only charts the downfall of David Fincher as director with some interesting footage of him shouting and swearing but also discusses the original idea for the third Alien film. This got me thinking about films that never got made but, looking back in hindsight, we wish did.
So let’s start with that difficult third album in the Alien series. Before Fincher was picked by producers to direct the film, it was shortly in the hands of Vincent Ward. Like the film we eventually got there was only one Alien and it was supposed to be more of a horror movie like the first film rather than the action bonanza the James Cameron’s sequel was. However instead of taking place on a penal colony it was going to occur on a wooden planet run by monks who had turned their backs on technology. It’s an idea both barmy and brilliant in equal measure and I fail to see how anyone would prefer the prison planet to Ward’s idea. Ripley and an Alien were going to crash land on the planet, there was never a version where Hicks and Newt lived, and the Alien would pick off the monks one by one with Ripley attempting to kill it on a planet devoid of weaponry.
The ending would have seen the wooden planet catch fire and resemble Hell, fitting for a film that would have been filled with religious imagery and content. The producers were fools; soon casting the idea aside for being too ridiculous. Ideas about seeing the Xenomorph home world were tossed around and then rejected for budgetary concerns. Sadly we will never see this much talked about Xenomorph home world because Prometheus got rid of that idea and instead claimed the aliens came from black gloop made by very tall people who also created humanity. Despite that I still do like Prometheus, even if it’s only in that guilty pleasure kind of way. When the producers at Fox didn’t like any of the Alien 3 ideas they decided to write it themselves and as soon as their shoddy script was done they shot the movie and Alien 3 as we know it born in a manner similar to a Xenomorph – Hastily pushing out of a much more likable and admirable host.
But as much as we like to moan about the finished product, at least there was a finished product. Many great film ideas sadly never get past the pre-production phase including a film that has been in the nerd consciousness for years and even more so now that a documentary is out charting its swift rise and fall. I’m of course talking about Superman Lives. Tim Burton was locked down to direct a dark and weird Superman movie written by renowned geek and drug taker Kevin Smith. You probably know a lot about the cancelled project like the fact that a long haired Nicolas Cage was going to portray Supes. That Brainiac, Doomsday and Lex Luthor were all set to appear and that the finale was going to be a fight between Superman and a giant spider. However, what you may not know is that Superman Lives is only one of the Superman films that failed to get made.
Before our friends at Cannon Films destroyed all public interest in the series with Superman 4 they had already planned a fifth film. The story was to have Superman dying and then being resurrected within the shrunken, bottled Krypton city of Kandor. Next up Superman Reborn was going to reboot the franchise in the early 1990’s for “the MTV generation”. The script featured Lois Lane and Clark Kent with relationship troubles and Superman battling Doomsday. At one point Superman would profess his love for Lois, his life force jumps between them just as he dies, giving Lois a virgin birth. The child would grow 21 years in three weeks, become the resurrected Superman and save the world. While I’m not saying these would necessarily be great films, I still would of loved to see them. Probably more so than the depressing storyline in Man of Steel even though that film was supposed to be about hope. The only hope I took away from it was I hope Zack Snyder never makes another Superman film.
There’s no doubting that Stanley Kubrick is a visual master; a legend of cinema with the likes of Hitchcock. He left several projects when he died such as AI which was completed by Kubrick fanboy Steven Spielberg. The film was average and didn’t make much of an impact but could it have been better if Kubrick had lived to finish it? I hate when people claim that this would be the case. It’s similar to all the people saying Edgar Wright’s Ant Man would be better than the Peyton Reed Ant Man film we got. The Ant Man film recently released is 100% times better than Wright’s because Wright’s isn’t real. You can’t claim a film that was never made is better than any real film. For all we know, however unlikely, Edgar Wright’s Ant Man may have been a complete pile of toss. And if you’re reading this calling me a hypocrite for complaining about people judging unmade films in a blog entitled “Best Movies Never Made” then shut up and stop being clever.
Talking of Kubrick, one of the other projects left after his death was a biopic called Napoleon which would focus on, yep you guessed it, Napoleon Bonaparte. Kubrick was obsessively working on it for years like he did for most of his projects and after his death, Spielberg once again picked up the lights. I would have loved to see Kubrick’s version which would be close to the visual and narrative style of his forgotten masterpiece Barry Lyndon but with the scale of an epic and a better name (never have the name Barry in a film title). Spielberg’s Napoleon will apparently use a fair amount of Kubrick’s script which is very good news and hopefully it will get out of development hell soon, whether it still be a film or a TV miniseries which is what it is rumoured to become.
Do you agree with my opinions or do you think I’m a complete idiot? Let me know on Twitter @kylebrrtt, like the Out of Lives Facebook page, read the other blogs on the site and subscribe to mine. This is only part one of “Best Movies Never Made” so join me next week for part 2.