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Old 01-15-2009, 08:26 AM   #78
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 133
Default Re: Tim Boyle's The Phantom

Sorry for my belated response to this, but I've had some trouble with my web access.

Originally Posted by Seth71 View Post
I’m still not sure about the idea of a new Phantom movie, at least one set today. Some characters just belong to their own time and are very hard to update. Although an extreme example try updating Robin Hood for example. It won’t work. The Phantom is a bit like that too although no as bad as he is newer but still difficult, unless you change the character a lot. Like the Phantom 2040. I guess that’s why there has never been an attempt on a Phantom animated series set today. Don’t even mention Defenders of the Earth please.
Once again, I don't see how the Phantom doesn't work in our modern world any worse than any other fictional character created at the same time. But yes, Defenders of the Earth was sh**.

You need to change so much for the Phantom to work for today’s audience that it would end up being almost another character so they did an alternative take on him instead of trying to update him. But the Phantom in 2040 is barely the Phantom at all. Just the costume. I mean he even becomes invisible. But maybe that’s what they should do if they want to make a modern Phantom movie. Make a 2040 movie. Otherwise some of the concepts of the original Phantom will be hard to sell to a contemporary audience unless they drastically change the character but then the die hard fans will complain. Seems like a no win deal for me. I mean, a jungle hero who rides a white horse? In 2009? How many people want to see that in a general audience? Yes I know he’s in the jungle and a horse is handy but how about giving him a dirty bike or ATV instead? To modernize him you need to think about these details. At least if the horse was black, but a white horse is so, don’t know, corny? Like a prince on white horseback. The costume thing now, we know the tights are a no-no and people are talking armor, but armor in the jungle? What type of armor? A hi-tech armor in the jungle won’t fit. Then he wears an armor, hi-tech or not and he rides a… Is he a knight? A hi-tech armor will surely not fit a horse. Or do they give armor to the horse too. Then it will really look like a knight LOL.
I think there are far better ways to update the character than the mediocre 2040 series, which as you say is barely the Phantom at all.

As for the jungle setting, I think it only makes the Phantom more interesting and unique as opposed to other costume heroes, who mostly operates only in big cities. The Phantom is a much more "global" character than arguably any other comic book hero, and fights evil wherever or whenever he finds it. So even if some audiences will be turned off by him operating in the jungle (I really don't see how anybody can be that, but then again, if the whole world agreed with me on everything the Phantom would be as popular as James Bond).

Your point about the ATV is cool, but remember, the Phantom lives in some of the deepest, darkest woods in the world (in his world, at least!), and riding a horse through such tight terrain is much more practical and logical.

Funny that you mention he should have a black horse, since he actually used on in the last issue I read.
However, I disagree that a white horse is corny... (Doesn't the Lone Ranger have one too?) I never looked at it in the way that it makes the Phantom look like some kind of knight, but if it does, I don't see the problem with that. He is, after all, a very heroic, moralistic character, so that comparasion is just fitting, IMO.

Then there’s this guy who lives in a cave, in 2009? “Where have you been dude, have you been living in a cave?”, Phantom: “Uh, yes, why? Is there anything wrong with that” in a Billy Zane campy voice. I mean would work great for campy but. If you have him living on a house and the cave is only his base of operations it becomes too Batman. But somebody living in a cave in a serious movie for today’s audience will be hard to take serious. How about the guns, should he still have his Colt 45s which are more than outdated today or is it okay for him to have Glocks for example?
That cave line is actually brilliant, and it would bring the whole theatre down if Boyle wrote it in the screenplay. There's a difference between making a camp film and having humour in your picture. I don't see the Zane film as camp, rather as the director described it, "an adventure movie with twinkle in the eye". I do hope a new film is a bit more self-serious, though.

I don't think people will find the cave cheesy if it's done in a much more awe-inspiring, mysterious way than they did in the Zane film, where it was just like, "Look! There's a big cave that looks like a skull!". The cave needs to be explained in the origin sequences, like it's been done many times in the comic.
The idea of a mysterious ghost from the deep woods of Bengalla who lives in a skull cave will sound quite creepy if Boyle is able to bring enough mystique to his script.

As for him living in a house but operating in the cave, this doesn't work. Falk tried that in the seventies/eighties, where the Phantom and his family lived in a big house, but I think even Falk felt it didn't work very well, and moved them back to the cave.

Another thing I never liked about the Phantom but this is more of a personal thing and has nothing to do with updating the character is the fact he is the commander of the jungle patrol. Sounds silly and corny. It’s like having Batman being the commissioner of police. I would rather have him working with them but not being their boss. Not to mention that this would also imply too much that the Phantom is their ruler, a white guy in a throne and the commander.
But even with all that people are saying they don’t want another light hearted movie but how else could it be? It has to be light hearted and tong in cheek in order to have all this in a movie set in 2009. To have a serious film drastic changes will have to be made. People seem to forget to consider little details like these when talking about a 2009 Phantom. So I think fans will have to choose, light hearted and loyal since the Phantom seems a light hearted character or serious and darker and with a lot of changes.
Why is it silly and corny? The Jungle Patrol was founded by the sixth Phantom, and there is a whole great backstory out there explaining why he is now the "secret" commander. It's not like he sends them out to do his dirty work, he usually only uses them to give him important information about criminals and such.

Again, I have to say I don't see why this all has to be "light hearted and tounge in cheek" to work in a 2009 film, Seth. Is it REALLY any more believeable with a psychopathic billionaire who tries intimidating bad guys buy dressing up as a giant bat, fights a guy dressing up as a clown, and basically "flies" by the help of his special high-tech cape? Not in my book.
Going socio-political with The Phantom would be a stroke of genius. And probably also the death knell of the franchise.


Personally, I feel the "older" elements should be maintained, simply because above almost anything else, The Phantom is a creature of tradition. We don't need to see him tooling around in a purple SUV, you know? And he doesn't need to live in the can just be his base of operations. I'm fine with The Phantom having an otherwise "normal" existence until he's needed.

Personally, I think this is not a problem, but the core of the film, and an angle you play long can we hold into tradition when modern life presses us to evolve? High-tech armor in the jungle fits perfectly in that context. The juxtaposition of it is key.
Yeah, I don't think there would be an audience for a comic book movie that tried to deal with real world issues. However, modern day piracy would be perfect for a Phantom movie.

Good post. If the film is about what I believe it is (the 21st Phantom having to give up being the Phantom, with his son insecure about whether he should take over the legacy or not), there would be great opportunities to evolve the character in a very natural way, with "our" Phantom representing tradition and the son (hopefully played by Sam Worthington) evolvement. This would make sense for longtime fans and general audiences alike.

Just saw 1996 The Phantom.

It kinda irks me that Billy Zane and Kristy Swanson never took off in Hollywood for some odd reason. Maybe i need to make a thread about actors who never made it big though they had the potential.
If there was any justice in this world, Billy Zane would be as big as... Well, as big as he was after Titanic came out. I don't know what happened to his career afterwards, but he deserves roles in better movies.

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