special effects in Fantastic Voyage have also dated badly.
The film may have won Oscars for art direction-set
decoration and special visual effects back then, but we – like film critic
Pauline Kael – suspect that they weren’t even all that good even back
then. “The process shots are so clumsy that the actors look as if a child
has cut them out with a blunt scissor,” she remarked in her original
review of the movie.
So it is good news that James Cameron will probably
utilise the same special effects processes that he used to create those
eye-popping visuals for Avatar (and
take our word on this: they are pretty amazing!). The not-so good news is
that 20th Century Fox has hired Shane Salerno who wrote
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem to write the
screenplay for the proposed remake. I mean, have they even seen that piece
of vile crap?
Interestingly enough plans for a Fantastic Voyage
remake has been around for ages now. Wikipedia tells the story:
Plans for a remake or sequel have been in discussion
since at least 1984, but the project has been stuck in development hell
In 1984, Isaac Asimov was approached to write Fantastic
Voyage II, out of which a movie would be made. Asimov was sent a suggested
outline that mirrored the movie Innerspace and involved two vessels in the
bloodstream, one American and one Soviet, and what followed was a kind of
sub microscopic version of World War III. Asimov was against such an
approach. Following a dispute between publishers, the original
commissioners of the novel approached Philip Farmer, who wrote a novel and
sent in the manuscript" that was rejected despite sticking tightly to the
outline that was sent to Asimov.
It dealt with World War III in the bloodstream, and it
was full of action and excitement. Although Asimov urged the publisher to
accept Farmer's manuscript, it was insisted that Asimov write the novel.
So, Asimov eventually wrote the book in his own way completely different
in plot from what Farmer had written, which was eventually published by
Doubleday in 1987 as Fantastic Voyage II and dealt not with competing
submarines in the bloodstream, but with one submarine, with an American
hero cooperating not entirely voluntarily with four Soviet crew members.
The novel was not made into a movie, however.
James Cameron was also interested in directing a remake
(since at least 1997), but decided to devote his efforts to his Avatar
project. He still remained open to the idea of producing a feature based
on his own screenplay, and in 2007, 20th Century Fox announced that
pre-production on the project was finally underway.
Roland Emmerich agreed to direct, but rejected the
script written by Cameron. Marianne and Cormac Wibberley were hired to
write a new script, but the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike
delayed filming, and Emmerich began working on 2012 instead.
Incidentally, Asimov may have worked on the
novelization, but the whole miniaturization plot isn’t particularly
scientific. As John Brosnan in his book The Primal Screen points
out: “Logically, the combined mass of the people and the submarine
concentrated into such a small unit would cause them and the sub to fall
through the floor and probably end up in the centre of the Earth.”
Now that would have been an unexpected plot