Saturday, May 24, 2008

Meteor Man - How I Would Have Made It Better

When I first heard about the 1993 movie Meteor Man I was somewhat excited about it. On one level it was good to see an African American super hero concept that came from the mind of an African American. Yet, being that it was a Robert Townsend production I kind of expected the cheesy factor. It was wasn't a horrible movie, but it was so predictable and I think there are several ways it could have been improved.

The Movie's Original Premise

Jefferson Reed is a mild mannered school teacher in Washington D.C. His neighborhood is plagued by a local gang, The Golden Lords, drug dealers who terrorize the locals. One night, Jeff steps in to rescue a woman from the gang, only to end up running from them himself. Hiding in a garbage dumpster, he manages to escape, but as he climbs out of it, he is struck down by a gigantic glowing green meteorite which crashes down from the sky. He awakens several days later in the hospital, but when his bandages are taken off, he is miraculously healed from all his injuries.
Meteor Man Trailer

Jeff soon discovers the meteorite has left him with other abilities too, such as flight and superhuman strength. Confiding this to his parents, he is convinced by them to use his powers to try and help his community. His mother designs a costume for him, and as The Meteor Man, he takes on the Golden Lords and their leader Simon Caine. He puts down a crack house, stops a robbery, and unites the Crips and Bloods.

Shanice - It's For You (Meteor Man Sountrack)

The above was my favorite song off the soundtrack. I still play this song because it is has an interesting feel to it.

How I Would Have Improved It: Base Level

The first thing I would have done was remove the hood elements of the movie. That is to predictable as a supposed "black" issue, and is very played out. It also doesn't allow the hero to have much depth because of the predictability and the gang issue makes the villains one sided. It all predictably boils back to a corporate white man who really runs things. I also don’t like it when the Superman look is used as a baseline for such a hero. It is like saying there is a need for a black Superman instead of just creating an original hero.

Possibly I would have kept the school teacher premise. I also would have gone against conventional super hero wisdom and I would have done away with the idea of being costumed, at least initially. One way I could have done it would be to have made the story about a person receiving powers and trying to remain the same, with such massive changes. For example, the thought of why do I need a secret identity? I am powerful enough to fight off the bad guys. So what happens when a family member gets hurt in the process?

Another way this could have been played out is having the meteor split into several parts giving several different people powers. Each of them uses them for their own advantage, but a couple of them see a bigger purpose in receiving such powers. One of the two sees it as a chance to make up for some sort of past mistakes by helping people. The other sees it as a way to seek revenge for some wrong that he received. Maybe the meteor could amplify whatever motivation each person has in using their new found powers.

I would definitely do away with the idea of a villains who is pure evil. I think an interesting twist of the villain genre is when the villain doesn't see himself/herself as evil, but as completely true or pure and their actions 100% reasonable. Another angle is a villain who sees himself/herself as doing evil deeds, but for a greater good. A good example is in the sci-fi movie Serenity with the Operative played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. The Operative saw his actions as evil to fulfill a good purpose, a world without sin.

The Finer Points

I believe in sci-fi fights and action, along with a good story. Yet, I also don't like one sided fight scenes. For example, I don't like the good guy that is so powerful that he/she can't be touched. I like to have someone with an obvious weakness. I also don't like the villain be ultimately powerful without some sort of weakness also. The basic ideas I go with are people who have choices to make within the human realm of things, but now they have a superhuman element to how they can accomplish those goals.

So in this vein, I would have had the hero/heroes spend some time learning how to use their powers. The trail and error element always has to be there. I would make it a point of showing those characters who intentions were pure (not pure in the sense of good, but more in the sense of a strong sense of direction) would have the easiest time mastering the new powers.

I would also make it so that the villian maybe gets a stronger concentration of the meteor, and make him/her more conservative with his/her new found powers. The end fight would be one where the villains power begins to go critical and one of the heroes has to make to put everything on the line to stop him. My whole focus would be on the human elements of power and what changes in people when they obtain power. Also, how far are people willing to go to stand behind a belief.


clnmike said...

Hello just cruising by and came across this post, man you went back with Meteor Man. I like the ideas you had for it but I doubt back than, they would of flew well with the people holding the money. But you would think it is possible to do it right now with the right actor.

Ehav Ever said...

Hey Cinmike,

Thanks for stopping by. Part of me liked the Meteor Man, and part of me wished it had been more. Yeah, it probably wouldn't have flown with what I would have made with it, but then again you never know. Maybe I would have done like Spike Lee did with Malcolm X. It would definitely be easier to make now with the technology.

diva said...

I vaguely remember Meteor Man.

I like your emphasis on making the character a truly original creation instead of copying. Do you think it is possible that we can get a good solid entertaining black superhero focused movie?

Also, if the hero struggles to learn their power I also want them to struggle with the question of when and where to use their powers.

just a thought.

Lisa said...

You and your super heroes!! Very creative twist, though!!

Felicity said...

I remember Meteor Man, great creative ideas. I really think we need something different with super heroes.

Siditty said...

You've been tagged:

Book Meme

The Rules Are:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

Jacob Da Jew said...

Nice pipes on that Shanice, never heard her before.