Saturday, January 1, 2011

24 movie nixed? The final season and series finale of 24 was sabotaged for nothing...

Entertainment Weekly broke the news yesterday that 20th Century Fox has rejected the screenplay for the 24 movie that had been on top for the last year or so. Written by Billy Ray (who also wrote the terrific adaptation of State of Play from 2009), the script would have apparently continued the storyline from last season's quite unsatisfying series ender. So basically, the series shot itself in the narrative foot last year so as to properly set up a bigscreen version that could continue from the series. And now there is a good chance that said big-screen movie might not even happen in the first place. Thanks... really.

It was no secret that the last third of the last season of 24 went in a different direction than originally intended. While the series creators never explicitly stated what their original goals were, it was implied that the last season of 24 was going to allow some kind of happy ending for Jack Bauer, arguably with him indeed moving to LA to be a part of his daughter Kim Bauer's life, which included being a grandparent to Kim's young child. But, apparently making an overly final resolution for fans of the show would have theoretically hurt the appeal of a big-screen adventure, so Eliza Cuthbert did not return for the final episodes and a more open-ended finale was crafted. As we recall, the last third of the season had Jack Bauer going murderously rogue after his (let's be honest here...) booty call was murdered just after fornication.

The idea that Jack would basically declare war on his own country and/or endanger his own life and the life of his remaining family members to avenge the death of a woman he barely knew was dubious at best, audience-insulting at worst. A token mention was made of 'standing up for principle', but it was half-hearted at best. There was no mention was ever offered at the similar fate of Terri Bauer at the end of season one. There was no mention that Jack's murderous actions were identical to the choices that former friend Tony Almeida made just one season prior after losing his own wife to violence. So we spent the last act of the series watching Jack go crazy with no more justification than 'he was really fond of agent Renee Walker'.

And now it seems all for naught. The compromised final season was altered to set-up a movie that now may never come to pass. See, this is why it generally pays to keep the film and TV world separate. Come what may, the X-Files movies were separate entities from their long-running television shows. Even the mythology-rich Fight the Future, which was released between seasons five and six, contained only a single major event (the death of 'Well-Manicured Man') that regular viewers needed to be made abreast of when the sixth season returned. I have no idea what the original ideas were regarding the series finale of 24. But I can only imagine they would have been more satisfying had the Robert Gordon and the other creators not been concerned with properly setting up a feature film after the fact. In the immortal words of Jack Baur: Dammit!

Scott Mendelson

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails