Notes on the idea of a Smallville movie:

Latest: My comments about the "Superman Returns" film from WB are at this link, toward the end of the page. The review-discussion of the Smallville series is at this link.  Also, visit more TV reviews at http://billstvreviews.blogspot.com/

The idea of a separate, indie-style "Smallville" movie has always sounded appealing, because of the dramatic (as opposed to comic-book) story and character opportunities. An anchoring concept is Clark's "secret" and his "outing" (as an extraterrestrial) in some cases. The first two seasons dealt a lot with this. One of the most unacceptable personal situations occurs when a person's mere presence or existence is viewed as indirectly dangerous to those associated with him. We know this problem from GLBT issues, especially the "don't ask don't tell" policy for gays in the military, based on the idea that certain kinds of people (here, homosexuals) disrupt "unit cohesion" merely by their presence. The parallel to some of the plot developments in the early Smallville seasons is transparent, even though (to my knowledge) the series has mentioned GLBT issues directly (of another Smallville high school football player) only once. For example, in the Season 1 Pilot Clark is pinned to the scarecrow (with green kryptonite) for being "different." 

Note: Unofficial word is that TheWB will provide a Season 4 for Smallville, presumably Clark's senior year in high school (he started as a freshman), so any movie would probably wait until 2006 or at least late 2005. (5/13/2004; the season finale for Season 3 takes place 5/19/2004 -- and Clark officially becomes an abductee, taken from earth on board a UFO, however be it his second own toy [he destroyed the first ship in Season 2], however he fell to earth originally--so he becomes like Travis Walton).

The latest (July 2005) is that there will be a Season 5 on Thursday nights, starting in Fall 2005, presumably starting with Clark's first year of college. Maybe the 2007 season? But here we go, anyway.

(10/28/2005). Season 5 has started, and gone in a somewhat different direction (such as the ice palace -- "The Fortress of Solitude") than I might have predicted. At least, Clark is shown in a college lecture hall in discussions with a history professor with very pointed ideas about the meaning of history, as a contextual continuum created by forceful individuals as much as it is by countries, states and institutions. Clark will be prodded into become the prime adversary of Lex, who slides more into evil.

(10/8/2006). Season 6 starts with Clark in the Phantom Zone; the Fortress of Solitude is destroyed, and we go on into the comic book areas. The "Black Thursday" that supposedly destroyed much of Metropolis (aka KCMO) at the end of Season 5 is unconvincing. Never mind that Clark, in college, would have academic skills that would have him graduated by now.

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Since Clark is going to school in a geographical location that matches Kansas State (in Manhattan) I can only note that the producers would have a great opportunity to make an impression if they filmed on location (on the KS campus in Manhattan, the spectacular and photogenic Kansas University campus "Mt Oread" in Lawrence (several large dorms are on top of the ridge, and much of the campus is on top of another ridge), a town that in real life rather looks like Smallville with Massachusetts street the downtown, and in good old Kansas City MO (don't forget the Royals and Chiefs) and KS, which would correspond to Metropolis. Of course, most or all of the show is actually filmed in British Columbia, with the urban scenes apparently filmed in Vancouver.

Anyway here goes with my original proposals.

First, I make some ad hoc comments. Some of the Smallville scripts on TheWB are getting close to home. In the February 11, 2004 episode called �Velocity,� Clark�s boyhood pal Pete (the African American high school teen classmate and only person outside of Clark's adoptive family to know of his extraterrestrial origin "officially") has tried high speed auto racing, in an illegal manner, and Clark is trying to stop him. Pete says, �I want to be special, like you.� Clark says, �I�m different, not special.� Then Clark challenges Pete as to what Pete will do if he can�t race any more, and Pete says, �I�ll live vicariously through you.� Big words.  

At the end of the show, Pete has caused a tragedy and tries to apologize for �cheating.� He says, �I will never disrespect your powers again.� Pete actually wants a �fair� game of hoops, �no powers.� Great writing! 

Actually, in Season 1, early on, the episode called "Hothead," Clark's adoptive father Jonathan, resisting Clark's attempt to join the high school (wouldn't it be freshman junior varsity??) football game, says "I don't need to live vicariously through your achievements!"

Also in season 1, filmed in early 2001, in the episode "Drone," when Pete decides to draft Clark to run for class president, Pete calls himself �the power behind the throne.� (Yes, remember the Blue-on-Yellow banner, "Clark Kent for President"? He doesn't have a platform yet. But he will. Chloe will see to that. John Kerry and George W. Bush, watch out!!) Pete is certainly bouncing between feminine and masculine psychological polarities (but he behaves generally like a Rosenfels feminine.)  

Smallville, of course, provides a transparent political paradigm for how those are "different" are treated in a "free" society. In previous eras, the "different" person is viewed as a potential "enemy"; he may lack the responsibilities of "normal" people and use his "powers" to subvert others. This sounds like an admission of weakness, but not in earlier generations where people saw their lives collectively or even today where young people feel that they have to conform to "belong." Indeed, in the very first episode of Season 1 Clark is placed on the Scarecrow partly because he doesn't play football. The "obvious" political analogy is homosexuality. Clark "looks" like everyone else and usually behaves in a socially appropriate way, and yet is perceived as different (and others suspect but cannot prove his extraterrestrial origin and of course he does not "tell") and, by some, a threat to their world.

I also note than in many episodes Clark (when he stays away from red kryptonite--his own "cocaine") behaves with the quick mental calculation and practical consequential judgment of a fully grown adult, not of a typical sixteen or so year old teenager, even given the episodes where he agonizes over his origins.  Compare him to the musical prodigy Ephram in Everwood: at sixteen, Ephram talks brilliantly but behaves like a typical teenager when dealing with a first girl friend and the emotional impact she has on his self-concept "as a man."

Having said all that, I note now that TheWB message board moderator says that Smallville has to get its ratings up quickly to have a 2004-2005 season. Well, if so, its seems that Clark is supposed to graduate from high school this year (how good are his grades?) 

So then, let�s cut to the chase: what TheWB needs to do is make a full theater release of a Smallville movie for mid summer 2006. I understand that there are also plans for a redone Superman movie, but the Smallville movie franchise, that would make a lot of $$$, should present Clark in college. Tom Welling still looks of college age anyway (and the best age for physical strength for most men is actually the late twenties). Even as a summer release, it should aim for character-driven drama on top of the comic book origins. I�m not sure what the legalities are with Marvel, bout I would think this could all be licensed. This should be a big-league release, with a major production company behind it, like Village Roadshow. Also, let�s film it on the real locations: Lawrence, KS (around the beautiful KU campus) and Kansas City MO as Metropolis.  

The movie has to be PG-13, but it should get right to the edge with some ideas: Again, I'm not a comic book reader, so I don't know what is in the Marvel literature for this period of Clark's life as he becomes a journalist.

There are rumors around about remaking the original "Superman" movies in comic book fashion, probably with a different lead (other than Tom Welling).  I have not kept up with these much. Even so, the market should have room for an "art movie" Smallville franchise about Clark;s college years,  because such a franchise (with original story plot lines) would emphasize drama, sociology and ethics with the "gee whiz" stuff under the surface, and it would complement, rather than compete with, a more conventional "evil enemy Hollywood" suburban mall franchise. A Smallville movie franchise should employ the same cast (starting of course with Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum) as much as possible.

As of Aug 21, 2004, there is a "rumor" on TheWB message boards for Smallville that Tom Welling will play Clark in the new Superman movie(s). I don't know if this is factually true. If so, that implies that WB and perhaps Tollin/Robbins really do intend to follow the television series with a movie franchise covering the college years.

Here are some ideas. 

  Clark should get an ROTC scholarship after his parents get into financial trouble again with falling farm prices (and turn down Lex�s help). As far as the military knowing about Clark�s extraterrestrial birth, it is �don�t ask don�t tell.� Of course, Lex has to forge the blood work and DNA typing.

Lex and Lana should once and for all �find out.� Clark's legal status is debated.

Clark should have a roommate who turns out to be gay, and also is in ROTC (and that can get very political). The gay roommate tells about himself, but protects Clark, and then fights to keep his scholarship.

Clark can go hunt down the terrorists (Osama bin Laden if he is still around)

Clark gets a weekend pass and makes a quick trip to the remains of his home planet and takes Lana and shows her around (he has to manipulate the �branes� in Discover Magazine to break the speed of light barrier). Clark finds out about all the neighboring solar systems with civilizations and their economy based on �merit� rather than fiat money.

Clark finds a new love on campus and Lana misses him now. Clark finally does what Ephram is trying to do on Everwood, and then there is the question of what would happen if he fathered a child.

Bring in some characters from the other WB dramas for subplots (like Simon from Seventh Heaven).

Clark finally plays sports � I like baseball (Martin from Seventh Heaven). Let George Steinbrenner make an appearance. (How about Donald Trump? Imagine card-counting in one of his casinos! How about a shot of The Apprentice.)

Clark overcomes the allergy to green kryptonite, and can tolerate exposure to red kryptonite without turning �bad� although this whole thing brings up the idea of drugs and steroids in sports.

Since Clark majors in journalism, an episode presenting journalistic integrity and conflict of interest. (The leading school in this area is in the next state, the University of Missouri at Columbia. I went to KU for grad school.)

Jonathan has another heart attack and emergency coronary bypass surgery, and his wife is unable to care for him at home. Surgeon�s find clues as to how Jor-El�s powers really work.

Martha finally gets pregnant again (before the heart attack) and the mystery of the pregnancy (including the one in season 2) is explained. Clark is away at school yet has to worry about his family at home. 

Visit my review of Smallville and similar shows and movies.  Note the remarks about the new show The 4400 on USA, with a slightly different spin on the "having powers" paradigm.

I also have some discussion on  "Do Ask Do Tell Chapter 1 footnote file" note 18b.

The rumor mill for Smallville is apparently Kryptonsite.

Back to movie wishlish

On 11/25/2005, at a performance of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" I saw a preview trailer of TheWB film Superman Returns, scheduled for summer 2006. The director is Bryan Singer. Brandon Routh, 26, plays Clark Kent. Apparently he has spent some time back in his original Kryptonian solar system and returned to earth as a savior. The style and music seem similar to Smallville. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) will be his love, and Kevin Spacey will play Lex Luthor.

 

My own account of "vicarious" -- search for the word at http://www.doaskdotell.com/content/intro.htm  (Introduction to my first "Do Ask Do Tell" book).

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