Info: 20,000 Leagues hit the spotlight when it was revealed that the man who made the worst movie of last summer – Da Fresh Prince – was interested. While I’m one of the first people to defend Smith as a movie star (how can you not like the guy?), Hancock fucking sucked. Stupid-ass mid-movie “twist”. Arrgh, I’ll never forget how quickly I went from loving to hating that flick.
Writer: Craig Titley
Draft: July 2007
Anyway, first things first. I don’t know jack shit about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Apparently it was some big Harry Potter like book back in the what? 17th Century? The title completely underwhelmed me. The first thing I thought of when I heard it was…old. Dated. Not relevant. Like something that people 50 years ago might’ve been interested in. That and one of the worst movies to ever grace the screen was set on water – the hurts-my-brain-to-even-think-about-it-still “The Perfect Storm”. Well, now that you mention it, pretty much anything Marky Mark is in sucks. But back to the script. What else was I gonna say about it? I hate the sea. I think it’s stupid. Blah blah blah. But you know what? Even though I was fully prepared to hate this script, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was pretty damn awesome.
20,000 starts off – I believe, at the turn of the 20th century – with the mystery of an underwater “beast” that has been stalking boats, taking bites out of them, and leaving them to sink to the bottom of the sea. But only in spots where it’s 20,000 leagues. Otherwise it leaves them alone. NED, we’ll just call him Jack Sparrow 2.0, is reluctantly recruited by an old army buddy to hunt the beast. He’s joined by Aronnax, a scientist and Julie, a hot girl. She has some other ties to the story but let’s call a spade a spade shall we? She’s a hot girl.
They go out looking for this beast (how you go looking for a beast in 1,000,000 square feet of water I’m still not entirely clear on) and eventually find it. But the beast is not a beast at all! It’s an underwater ship! Essentially a super tricked out mega submarine called “The Nautilus.” Back before submarines were even built yo! The ship is being captained by Nemo. Which means that this entire time they were actually trying to….Find Nemo. There, I said it.
They are then taken captive, because apparently Nemo’s got all sorts of fucked up shit in his past and he ain’t happy. People be killin his wife and kid n shit! And so Jack Sparrow 2.0, Hot Girl, and Scientology Dude, all try to figure out what the hell it is they’re inside. Eventually they’re brought back to a secret Volcano City (think Zion) and told that Nemo here is searching for a secret lost city (a city even more secret, apparently, than a Volcano City!). This then becomes the main thrust of the film, and the three core players (Finding Nemo, Jack Sparrow 2.0, and Hot Girl) find themselves bickering and backering, none of them sure whether to kiss or kill each other.
And it’s all pretty damn entertaining to be honest. Jack Sparrow 2.0 is funny as hell. He spits out one-liners that are actually funny instead of being retreads of old lines we’ve heard a thousand times before. Finding Nemo has a dark and brooding quality that keeps him mysterious. And even though I can’t see Hot Girl, I know she’s hot. So whenever she gets all saucy and bothered with one of the men, it’s extremely sexy. I totally wanted to bang her. Wait a minute…what am I talking about again?
Ah yes, the script makes great use of well-researched history, co-signing lore and myth into an entertaining backstory. If anyone’s researched the Sumerians, they are one of the earliest cultures to display knowledge of mathematics and…other smart people stuff. And 20,000 Leagues makes the assertion that the Sumerians knew these things because they were taught them by an even more ancient civilization which was…wait for it…swallowed up by the ocean. I’ve heard some theories about how there was a civilization right here on earth tens of thousands of years ago that was actually more civilized than our own. And even though it’s pretty far-fetched, who’s to say it didn’t happen?
Okay, now that you think I’m batshit crazy, let me finish up by saying this would make an awesome movie! The Nautilus is cool as hell. The characters are all entertaining. The set-pieces are original and action-packed. And most important of all, it’s a good story. Sure the ending had some confusing action. But that’s literally the only problem I had with the script. And I usually can’t even get past page 5 of a big-budget script. So stop dragging your…err, gills New Line. Or whoever’s got this property – and go ahead and make this movie. It’s going to make, like, a bagagillion dollars!