Everyone’s getting in on the superhero act these days! Where I believe this idea to be original is the idea of perspectives, of “modes” of video/visual representation. I really think I personally would love that, if anyone tried an idea like this. It’s really just a rough sketch, but that doesn’t mean it’s not © copyright Daniel Smith-Rowsey if it comes to it…still, it’s mostly to use this blog the way blogs should be used, to give away good ideas for fun.
This movie/comic book is told solely from the lead seven characters’ (distorted) perspectives. As you’ll see, none of their perspectives are quite “normal” and thus the film wouldn’t look “normal.” Perspective also relates to powers, which relate to character, which relate to how they relate to each other.
ANIME (Henry, Chinese-American boy, 17) Sees the world like a Japanese anime cartoon. (Yes, he is of Chinese descent, causing near-identity crisis, considering antagonism between China and Japan.) Nascent abilities are seeing things in slow-motion and fast-motion; is learning to move himself in fast-motion. He’s hiding his vision problem, and using powers to excel in high school baseball (can see pitches perfectly) and track (can run faster than others); is on track to Olympics, and does not wish to engage the Cinematics, knowing they may distract from or derail his goals. Bisexual. Eventual powers would be like the Flash, more or less stopping time for himself as he moves near-invisibly amongst others.
BLOCKBUSTER (Rodrigo, Latino-American boy, 16) Sees the world like a “blockbuster” film, with quick cuts, jittery and sometimes sweeping camera (including seeing himself, almost like an astral projection), sudden shifts of perspective (from CU to MS to wide shot and back). Perspective sometimes nauseates him. Nascent abilities are creating spontaneous explosions (getting him in trouble) and some limited movement of air and water. Had romance with Judith after they met in therapy, but each are wary of the other, now. Makes a lot of bad jokes. Eventual powers would be like Diablo (Fantastic Four villain), controlling raw fire, earth, air, and water.
CARTOON (Emily, white blonde girl, 16) Sees the world like an American cartoon – close to classic Disney. Has never told anyone; doesn’t want to be ostracized like a freak. Nascent abilities are shrinking and growing things, including (aspects of) herself. Has recently become cheerleader, is half-in-love with star quarterback, doesn’t want anything to ruin that. Bit of a girlie girl. Eventual powers would be Ant-Man-esque, full control over size of objects including herself, giving her chance to shrink herself or others to bird-riding size, or grow dust mites to the size of anvils falling from the sky. First 10 minutes of movie/comic are from her cartoonish perspective, to acclimate audience to something somewhat “normal” before things go haywire.
MUSICAL (Lali, Muslim, Pakistani-American girl, 15) Sees the world in over-saturated colors, which isn’t a big problem, but unlike others, she hears music at all times, which IS a big problem. Has been driven near-insane from trouble sleeping; staying in an adolescent mental asylum at story outset. Nascent abilities are over sound; can shatter things with her own voice, starting with glass. Wishes to help Drigo and Judith, but the asylum won’t let her leave; she sits around watching musical movies (including from India) to keep her calm. As with Henry, some irony in “powers” relating so closely to historical enemy, though Lali has her own problems in anti-Muslim America. Eventual powers would be total mastery of music and sound (including keeping others from hearing each other), and a “Pied Piper”-like ability to control others’ movements.
NATURE (Judith, white brunette girl, 16) Sees the world like animals that she is near, which can be “normal” but can also be infrared, fish-eye-lens, blur-border, or many other Predator-like varieties; shoos flies quickly out of rooms because hates the “hundred eye” perspective that she starts seeing when they’re around. Nascent abilities are symbiosis with animals, somewhat like Wargs (from GoT) but without the surrender of her own self. Has a “service dog,” Mosley, whom she more or less controls. Buffy/Willow snarky/smart. Was in romance with Drigo because of mutual therapy (both have often-nauseating perspectives), now “it’s complicated.” Not loving contact with Emily, since Drigo seems attracted to her cheerleader-ness. Eventual powers would be Aquaman-esque, but with all animals (not just underwater ones).
NOIR (Toby, pasty white dark-haired boy, 17) Sees the world in black-and-white. Has not shared his color-blindness with anyone. Family is from New York; says Brooklynisms like “whatyougonnado” and “fughedaboutit.” Nascent abilities are “throwing” bright light and shadows at people; making them see sudden, disorienting white light or darkness. At outset, using this hidden talent to play quarterback (and make linebackers miss tackles). Emily has crush on him, only to later learn he’s a “freak” like her. He is more interested in Judith. Tough but vulnerable. Owns gun; not particularly enamored of his apparent abilities, but that would eventually change, as his powers manifest to more control over light, up to and including “blasts.”
THE DIRECTOR / VERITE (Yvonne, African-American girl, 17) Sees the world “normally,” or more accurately, can adopt perspective of any of the other six, or not, whatever she wants. Nascent abilities include very limited telepathy, very limited mind control. When near the other six, can stop them seeing the world their way, can let them see normally (and let Lali hear normally). At outset of origin story, is being held captive by Dr. Leopold in his sound-proofed basement, drugged, next to remains of meteor. Not really loving the Cinematics, but in the end, decides she may as well run the most powerful group in the world. Eventual powers would be telepathy, mind control, particularly presenting “images” (the world) however she would like it to be presented.
High school in Madison, Wisconsin. At outset of movie/first issue of comic, we see Emily’s perspective on the world as she uses her newfound shrink-grow abilities for minor mischief like shrinking others’ shoes and hiding her cell phone in class. Judith and Drigo see what she’s doing, corner her about her eyesight and the meteor, and she blows them off to focus on cheerleading and her crush, the star quarterback (Toby). Then Emily is attacked by students who demand she use her powers to grow their marijuana supply, and Judith and Drigo just barely save her life in time. We now see some scenes from Judith’s perspective (varying animals) and Drigo’s (wildly varying shots, including from above and below him).
Three of them sit down, and Emily confirms that this began four years ago, when the meteor hit their middle school. She looked at the meteor as it struck, saw a blinding light, and has been seeing in “cartoon” ever since, though she’s never told anyone. She sometimes thought it was some oddly divine punishment for her love of cartoons, especially princess movies. Judith warns Emily not to dismiss that notion; Judith had always loved animals and nature films, while Drigo had always loved action blockbusters. Even now, watching their respective favorites is a unique source of comfort. Judith explains that after the meteor, her and Drigo’s perspective changes were so severe that they were initially diagnosed as insane. They saw specialists, including Professor Leopold, the local U of W expert on radiation, who did little more than confirm that they had both received abnormal amounts of the meteor’s radiation. Eventually, they were put in therapy together, as the two meteor survivors with similarly nausea-inducing conditions. Eventually, they had a relationship; now “it’s complicated.”
When Judith and Drigo are together, their condition improves; Judith is less likely to adopt an animal POV, Drigo’s “shots” last longer, without interruption or “camera movement.” They ask Emily if her “cartoon” perspective improves around them, and she reluctantly admits it does (get closer to human, and less Disney). Judith and Drigo want to find more people like themselves (and have tried, without success); Emily wants to go back to cheerleading and crushing on the QB. They do convince her to visit Prof. Leopold, who they find in his campus office; as he’d told the two of them, so he says to the three – he can’t disclose which students absorbed the most radiation.
Judith and Drigo consider who seems to have unusual abilities, and focus on Henry, the Olympic-bound track star and baseball star. After a track meet, they ask him; he denies anything. Then incidents of vandalism occur, warnings to Judith and Drigo to STOP OR ELSE, spray-painted on their lockers and home bedrooms. A video reveals the vandals to be Toby and Henry. Judith and Drigo ask Emily to confront Toby; she angrily refuses. At a party, Emily makes a pass at Toby; they kiss, and she playfully mentions Judith and Drigo’s suspicions, which freaks out Toby. He denies knowing anything about it and demands to see the tape. The next day, the five of them are at Toby’s house watching the incriminating video – Judith points out that their perspectives are more “normal” than ever. As the video shows the proof, a fight ensues, Toby and Henry versus Judith and Drigo, with everyone using their nascent powers. Henry beats them like they’re standing still (to him, they are), and Toby kicks Judith and Drigo out of the house. They ask Emily to come with, but she won’t.
Judith and Drigo text Emily for help, but give up on her; they decide to break into Dr. Leopold’s office at 4am one night. (Judith sensed mind control in the last fight, and hopes to break in while the controller is sleeping.) Judith tries to mind-control a fly to get in there and push buttons on the computer, but it’s too difficult…then Emily shows up, shrinks the window a little, and they all enter. Eventually, Drigo finds a physical file with photos of seven teens, namely the five of them, plus Lali and Yvonne. Then the three burglars feel migraines – Judith says they must have tripped an alarm which woke Leopold. Somehow he’s in their heads as much as Judith is in those of animals. They’re afraid to drive, so they take the first morning train to Chicago, where, according to the file, Lali lives in a mental asylum. They hope that they’ll be out of mental-control range, but they feel a “pressure” on their brains the whole time.
They find Lali; Judith and Drigo freak at how close they were to being put in such an antiseptic prison-like place. Lali needs more than convincing; the others suspect she’s under some mind-control even then, and work to convince her she’s not crazy. They ask her if anything has changed since they showed up, and she confirms that the constant music has dulled in volume somewhat. They promise that if she comes with them, it could go away forever. (Emily points out that they don’t know that, and indeed the trap may be to get them all together.) The asylum won’t let her go, but after some super-powered shenanigans, they get her out.
On the train back, they talk to Lali about her abilities, and she confirms using sharp sounds to cut glass. The train back to Madison gets derailed, and they crash, but save themselves and others with powers they barely knew they had. Toby and Henry are there, the derailers, and Toby has a gun. They have a battle, with the good guys battling migraines/mind control. Emily shrinks herself and enlarges herself next to Toby, thinking to kiss him and “break the spell.” This doesn’t work; instead he shoots and kills Judith’s dog, and Judith is enraged – this somehow breaks the spell. But Henry is faster than all of them…until Lali somehow sings something that controls Henry like a puppet. Drigo punches him out.
When Henry wakes up, he is bound and handcuffed in an after-hours pet store. The animals periodically growl at Henry and Toby; Toby for one is very apologetic, but he also says his powers of shadow and light “suck” and he can’t really help them. Now that they are all together, however, “perspective” is just about normal, Lali barely hears music, and they can pool together memories and facts from the stolen file.
That was no ordinary meteor. In fact it somehow carried seven aliens who were close to death and seeking to extend their lives. By the time the meteor entered Earth’s atmosphere, the aliens were little more than radiation and souls – whatever they may have been outside our solar system. They had studied TV signals from Earth, and had somehow “mastered” seven different modes of video representation – why those seven, it was hard to say. Perhaps six were chosen by the seventh, who partly or fully controlled the other six. How much the aliens knew of Madison was also hard to say. The meteor almost landed on Yvonne – was that intentional? Did the other six aliens, at the moment of the crash, simply seek the best or most like-minded available vessels in the vicinity?
Dr. Leopold’s theory was that the radiation-aliens each managed to find a human vessel – that’s the bright light that Emily described as she saw the meteor – but something went wrong, and they didn’t quite take over their hosts. Or perhaps they’re laying latent, and as their hosts improve their powers, the aliens will come to the fore? After learning their provenance, Drigo dubs them “The Cinematic Six.” Judith suggests they abbreviate to “The Cinematics.”
Yvonne was/is the key, the one with the mind-control powers. Perhaps they work better on fellow aliens than others. The six teenagers figure out that Leopold stole the meteor from the university, and that one day he stole Yvonne as well. Being a black girl, her disappearance didn’t make headlines. Why she was/is not resisting Leopold, it’s hard to say. Stockholm syndrome? Or he might be drugging her. Why? Henry asks. Power. Leopold was a modest chemistry professor before this meteor hit Earth. He realized how much more he could be. But, Judith speculates, he wasn’t relying on what we could do together. And now, if only for the sake of Yvonne’s parents, the Cinematics would have to free Yvonne. Well, that, and perhaps they could all see “normally” again.
But when they find Leopold, it turns out has connected to the meteor and has ALL of their powers, plus sort-of control over Yvonne. And after the explosive final battle and Leopold’s death…your typical “I never want to see any of you people again”s followed by “but…”