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Scene 24: Johnny Thunder Blows This Taco Stand

The LEGO Movie Johnny Thunder

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#1 Offline PeabodySam

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Posted Jan 10 2014 - 02:57 PM

Note from Director Steven Spielbrick:
What you are about to read is the script of a deleted scene from the upcoming blockbuster,
The LEGO Movie, soon to be in theaters. The script was written by Frank, best known for his screenwriting of the 2002 blockbuster The Johnny Thunder Movie when he wasn't writing love letters to lead actress Giselle and crying in a corner in the commissary because he was too cowardly to actually give her any of those love letters. There is some speculation by Dr. Albert Overbuild that this script was actually ghostwritten by another individual who wrote this scene just to stroke his already-inflated ego, although Johnny Thunder denies any of these accusations.This scene was written entirely as a homage to fan-favorite LEGO lines and games from the late nineties, exploiting fan nostalgia to its maximum levels. I promise that only reason we left this on the cutting room floor is because of running time, and most certainly not because of any allegations that I am a cheapskate who refused to pay the cast and crew to film this scene.

 

scene_24_resized.png


Scene 24

FADE IN. The shot opens with a low-angle shot of a hill, with dark and stormy clouds in the background. Occasionally, the sky is brightened by a flash of lightning. When filming this, be sure to tell the best boy Eddie to make sure that gaffer Hank doesn't electrocute himself with the lighting equipment again, even though it would produce the desired effect if we want it to look like lightning.

The music should be dark and foreboding, with the only other sounds being wind and the distant rumbling of thunder. On that note, make sure the gofers bring coffee to Unit 2 cameraman Nero so he won't fall asleep while shooting again, since it takes forever to edit out his snoring in post. And make sure it's an espresso, not a latte or mocha, because it takes even longer to edit out the sound of Nero screaming at the gofer who brought him the wrong cup of coffee.

The music crescendos, becoming less dark and foreboding and giving way to a march that is most certainly not a cheap knock-off of the "Raiders March." Enter JOHNNY THUNDER, who climbs up the hill before standing proudly and triumphantly at the top, fixing his hat and staring off into the distance. As the march hits its most dramatic and emotional peak, complete with ominous Latin chanting, the backlighting turns bright and angelic, as though the sun is rising directly behind JOHNNY THUNDER (again, make sure Hank doesn't electrocute himself), sure to give this scene some faux symbolism that will leave literary critics scratching their heads for years and wondering, "What does it mean? Obviously, it means Johnny Thunder is awesome, but surely there must be an even deeper meaning!"

Text flashes at the bottom of the screen, reading: "5900: Adventurer Johnny Thunder available at your local toy store! Only $4.25!"

 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Aces! Good on ya, Johnny! If that bludger Lord Business and his dodgy Robot SWAT Team think they could hold the Thunder himself prisoner aboard that dropship, they've got kangaroos loose in their paddock!


CUT TO AERIAL SHOT of the nearby wreckage of the crashed police dropship. Text flashes at the bottom of the screen, reading: "70815: Police Dropship available at your local toy story! Only $69.99!"

CUT back to JOHNNY THUNDER standing on the hill.  This time, he is joined by the Rock Raiders CHIEF, who climbs up the hill to stand beside him.  He is not accompanied by dramatic music or angelic lighting because he is not as awesome as JOHNNY THUNDER.  However, he gets to appear in this scene because we're exploiting fan nostalgia.  After all, that's the reason why we have JOHNNY THUNDER, BENNY, and other classic figures for no reason other than to make older LEGO fans swoon while younger LEGO fans are confused, failing to recognize their significance.  Those poor children.

 

CHIEF frowns and crosses his arms, glaring at JOHNNY THUNDER, most likely jealous of how awesome he is.

 

CHIEF:

You know, I did help!  If it weren't for me, we'd-

 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Oh, of course you wanted to get in on a bit of the action, Chief!  Doesn't everyone dream of the opportunity that they may have the chance to work with the Thunder himself?  Well, mate, today's your lucky day!

 

CHIEF:

Rather than standing idly on this hill like it's a sandwich break, I'd rather resume our mission to stop Lord Business!  But we can't do this alone... we need the other Master Builders.  I don't know how many of the others escaped, but I overheard Vitruvius grumbling that the Infomaniac was not present at the meeting in Cloud Cuckoo Land.  Perhaps we can a landslide has occurred!

 

BEAT.  CHIEF covers his mouth and looks sheepish.  JOHNNY THUNDER does not appear to have noticed his sudden outburst, instead staring off into space while stroking his chin.  We need a few seconds of silence that will most likely be drowned out by the laughter of older LEGO Rock Raiders fans and a chorus of confused "What just happened?" cries from the younger audience before we continue.

 

CHIEF:

Err, sorry about that.  I've got a plan for the mission!  We gather some resources and... are you even listening?

 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Hmm... let's see... aha! The Thunder has a plan! Of course he does, he always does!

 

CHIEF:

But I was just about to brief you on-

 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

There's gotta be a map somewhere in Lord Business's evil lair that shows the routes that the police dropships will follow after leavin' Cloud Cuckoo Land with the captured Master Builders. And once I have a map, I can find anythin', whether it's a Golden Dragon or a Green Ninja! But first, I'll need to explore Lord Business's evil lair to find this map, and before I do that, I'll need to find the evil lair in the first place...

 

CHIEF:

Alright, fine. I'll check my handheld geological scanner to see if I can locate...


Camera REVOLVES around JOHNNY THUNDER and CHIEF and ZOOMS OUT, revealing Octan Headquarters towering before them. Dramatic musical stinger plays. Text flashes at the bottom of the screen, reading: "70809: Lord Business's Evil Lair available at your local toy store! Only $69.99!"
 

CHIEF:

Oh, there it is.

 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Chief, you stay here and contact the Infomaniac.  The Thunder is going in!

 

CHIEF:

Wait! You can't just walk into Octan Headquarters like that!

 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Hmm, that'd be right. I'm so famous, everyone will recognize me the moment I step my foot in that door, and then I'd be taken apart faster than some shonky MegaBloks rubbish! I can't believe it, a situation where no one is allowed to notice the Thunder! Those poor fangirls will have to wait!


JOHNNY THUNDER takes off his hat and rubs his forehead.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Think, Thunder, think! That one other Master Builder... the one always wearin' his underwear on the outside... what was his name?

 

CHIEF:

Clark?

 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Yeah, that's it. Clark. What did he say to do in such a situation?


CUT to Cloud Cuckoo Palace, filmed in black-and-white to indicate that this is a flashback and, more importantly, to cut costs of filming. While other Master Builders mingle in the background, SUPERMAN is speaking to JOHNNY THUNDER, who isn't paying much attention and is instead attempting but failing miserably to flirt with WYLDSTYLE. JOHNNY THUNDER also fails to notice BATMAN in the background, angered by the flirting, repeatedly throwing batarangs at him but missing every time.
 

SUPERMAN:

If you're ever in a situation where you need to go unnoticed, find a phone booth and wear glasses.


JOHNNY THUNDER:

Yeah, mate. Goin' unnoticed. Doubt I'll ever have to give it a burl-


A batarang finally hits JOHNNY THUNDER and knocks him out of the shot. SUPERMAN and a few other Master Builders gasp. BATMAN performs a fist pump.
 

BATMAN:

First try!


CUT back to JOHNNY THUNDER in front of Octan Headquarters. He grins and puts his hat back on. If he had fingers, he would snap them.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Ripper! Find a phone booth, wear glasses!

 

CHIEF:

Oh, brilliant.  But where can we find a phone booth in these modern...

 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Well, ain't this a beaut? Have a gander at this, 'cause there's one right there!

 

PAN to a blue police box situated just outside Octan Headquarters.

 

CHIEF:

Okay, Johnny Thunder! Go for it while I contact the Infomaniac. Good luck on your mission! And watch out for those landslides - I mean, Robot Feds!

 

CHIEF leaves the shot to contact the Infomaniac.  Or, at least, that's what he claims to be doing.  In reality, we all know that he is actually going on a sandwich break.

 

JOHNNY THUNDER runs to the blue police box, opens the door, steps inside, and closes the door behind him.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Crikey, it's a lot bigger on the inside!

 

The door opens and JOHNNY THUNDER steps out of the police box. He is now wearing a disguise: a grey fedora, a pair of sunglasses, a fake mustache, a sleeveless leather vest, a satchel, and green pants.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Wicked, they'll never recognize me now in this disguise! They'll take a butcher's hook and say, "There's no way that's the fair dinkum Thunder. That's some lousy motorcyclist Thunder-wannabe!" Maybe they'll even write a ton of fan mail askin' me to come back and kick this stupid motorcyclist in the hip piece! Now, time to find that map...


CUT to the Octan conference room, where there is low lighting and low, sinister music playing in the background. At the start of the shot, make sure the camera focus is on a large map of the globe, in order to highlight that Gilligan Cut between JOHNNY THUNDER saying "map" and the fact that we're cutting to a map. It's supposed to be clever. Then, PAN OUT to gradually reveal the rest of the room, including PRESIDENT BUSINESS and EVIL OGEL, who are sitting at the conference table and talking. At the end of the shot, FOCUS IN on a giant brick-built taco in the room, promoting the upcoming Taco Tuesday with a sign that ends with the following message: "Please do not rebuild this into something that will help you defeat the bad guys." Just some subtle foreshadowing.
 

PRESIDENT BUSINESS:

... but after that incident with the noodles, I've been trying for days to sink Benny's classic spaceship, but every unit I send out to do the job ends up spontaneously combusting and falling through the floor!


EVIL OGEL:

Those minions are only good for tossing out a window to relieve some stress. You cannot rely on them, which is why you must pay close attention to every word I say. Heeding my advice could mean the difference between failure and victory. Now, listen: when we send out the giant plastic badger, we...


Enter JOHNNY THUNDER. PRESIDENT BUSINESS and EVIL OGEL both stop talking and stare at him. When each character speaks, make sure WIDE-ANGLE LENS is used in a CLOSE-UP SHOT. Despite how many films try to do this and only look awkward and uncomfortable, we will get it right! Maybe.
 

PRESIDENT BUSINESS:

Who are you?


JOHNNY THUNDER:

Err, yes. Hello. My name is John... son... uh... Thun... doo... yeah. And I'm here to clean your block.


PRESIDENT BUSINESS:

Ah, Johnson Thundoo? You sure look nothing like that Johnny Thunder fellow.


JOHNNY THUNDER:

Of course not! The Thunder is a brave and awesome hero! I'm a mean, rebellious, law-breakin', motorcycle-ridin' Thunder-wannabe son of a MegaBlok!


PRESIDENT BUSINESS:

Hold on. Do correct me if I'm mistaken, but did you just say that you break the law? Surely, we don't want any of that around here, now, do we?


JOHNNY THUNDER:

Uh... of course not. I said, I'm a mean, rebellious... err, law-abidin'... motorcycle-ridin' Thunder-wannabe son of a MegaBlok... yeah.

 

PRESIDENT BUSINESS:

Oh, good! That's a very good thing to hear, or else I would have you put to sleep! Err, I mean, uh, yes, pleased to meet you, Mr. Thundoo! It's so hard finding villains who are willing to work with me... most of the time, they're just out to break the law and spread chaos. Not like Ogel here, who's perfectly happy with enforcing rules with an iron fist! Or a plastic hook, in this case.

 

EVIL OGEL:

Yes, President Business. Mr. Thundoo, I welcome you to the Organization of Great Evil Laughter. That's O.G.E.L., which spells "Ogel". Quite ingenious, isn't it? I came up with it myself! Now, please, take a seat and make yourself uncomfortable while I get back to Business.


PRESIDENT BUSINESS:

"Back to Business." Oh, that's clever!


JOHNNY THUNDER takes a seat next to the giant taco. I bet you never expected to ever read that sentence in a movie script.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Hey, mate, why is LEGO Island blinkin' red on that map?


EVIL OGEL:

Ah, you're just in time to witness the launch of a rocket from the spaceport on LEGO Island! Once launched, it will release its cargo and blanket the Earth with Evil Orbs that will put everyone under my mind-control so I can usurp Lord Business and rule the world... I mean, uh, just kidding! Pretend that you didn't hear that!

 

PRESIDENT BUSINESS:

Oh, I love this guy! He's so funny! What a joker! But, in full seriousness, we've got that rocket loaded with a bunch of micro-managers that will take over the world, and there's no one who can stop us! Those Master Builders have been a thorn in my side long enough!


JOHNNY THUNDER:

Yeah? Well, this thorn is about to take you down!


JOHNNY THUNDER jumps out of his seat and rips off his disguise. A triumphant fanfare plays, and the lighting in the room brightens (keep an eye on Hank). PRESIDENT BUSINESS and EVIL OGEL gasp in astonishment.
 

PRESIDENT BUSINESS:

You're not Johnson Thundoo! You're... uh... Ogel, who is this?


EVIL OGEL:

Johnny Thunder! I'll have you sent to the Melting Room for this!


Text flashes at the bottom of the screen, reading: "70801: Melting Room available at your local toy store! Only $12.99!"
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

G'day, mates! Thunder's the name, building's the game! And it's time to blow this taco stand!


JOHNNY THUNDER disassembles the giant taco and rebuilds it into an explosive escape catapult. The catapult launches him out a nearby window as it explodes. SLOW-MOTION SHOT of JOHNNY THUNDER flying through the air with the explosions behind him, complete with epic music playing in the background. The explosions serve no real purpose, but it'll be great trailer footage.

JOHNNY THUNDER lands conveniently in a fountain outside Octan Headquarters, because if there's one thing we learn from videogames, it's that water negates fall damage, so therefore audience's suspension of disbelief won't be broken. As JOHNNY THUNDER emerges from the fountain, the camera is focused on him, although CHIEF can be seen in the background out-of-focus.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Crikey, that was a close one! The other Master Builders will have to wait; I gotta stop that rocket from launchin'! But, how will I get to LEGO Island in time? It’s a back o' Bourke from here!


CHIEF:

A landslide has occurred!


JOHNNY THUNDER cries out in surprise and spins around. FOCUS IN on CHIEF.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Chief! Good to see you again, mate! Did you contact the Infomaniac?


CHIEF:

Yes, I did.  I'll brief you on the good news and bad news.  The good news is that the Infomaniac is safe; he explained that he was unable to attend the meeting due to having to attend some annual tug-of-war competition held over a shark's bay, but he was hoping to arrive fashionably late.  By the time he arrived, everyone was gone... the Master Builders, the Robot SWAT Team, and even the LEGO Studios film crew! That's why he didn't have a cameo appearance earlier in this film like you did.  After that, he returned home to LEGO Island... and that's where the bad news comes in.


JOHNNY THUNDER:

That'd be right, mate. Listen, I gotta rock up at LEGO Island as quickly as possible, and I ain't got time for a walkabout.


CHIEF:

I can help you build a Teleport Pad that will send you there instantly!  Even better, we don't need to worry about following any complicated procedures or overly-convoluted mechanics in constructing such a teleporter.  We're Master Builders; we don't need to follow the instruction manual! Just... don't tell my Rock Raider cadets I said that, or else they'll never listen to another thing I teach them at the academy, and then I'll be a landslide has occurred!


JOHNNY THUNDER:

You little ripper! Let's build this Teleport Pad and stop that rocket!

 

Let's hope that audiences will ignore the fact that we’re only using CHIEF as a blatant Mr. Exposition and deus ex machina in addition to exploiting fan nostalgia. JOHNNY THUNDER and CHIEF quickly disassemble the fountain and rebuild it into a Teleport Pad. CHIEF salutes JOHNNY THUNDER as the latter steps into the Teleport Pad. The scene around JOHNNY THUNDER dissolves in a bright flash of light (okay, maybe just this once, let Hank accidentally electrocute himself for the best results).

As the light fades away, JOHNNY THUNDER finds himself in front of the Information Center on LEGO Island. Text flashes at the bottom of the screen, reading: "5731: Information Center available at... oh, wait, LEGO hasn't produced that set yet."

JOHNNY THUNDER looks around and sees the Super-Secret Police terrorizing the town populace in a lengthy MASTER SHOT. The camera lingers for a moment on PEPPER RONI throwing pizzas at one Robo SWAT, which is unaffected.
 

PEPPER RONI:

Whoa! Man, these bad robot dudes are nothing like the Brickster-Bots!


When the camera returns to JOHNNY THUNDER, he turns around and meets the INFOMANIAC, who is clearly distressed and acting even more erratic than usual.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

G'day, Infomaniac! How-

 

INFOMANIAC:

Hello! Hola! Velkommen... oh, forget the usual spiel! There is no time! This should be enough: welcome to LEGO Island! Please sign the Big Blue Brick Book and, oh, no, don't sign it, we haven't got time! Oh, this is terrible! We're in danger, Johnny! Not only are all these dastardly robots everywhere, but-


JOHNNY THUNDER:

A big, bad rocket is gonna blast off from the spaceport, I know. How could this happen? How did you let Ogel build the rocket here?


INFOMANIAC:

Ogel? Well, then, I'll bet that no-good Brickster is behind this, somehow! That crook is always proclaiming himself to be Ogel's fanboy! Now, I've got a brilliant plan to stop them, but if only I could remember what it is!


JOHNNY THUNDER:

No worries! I once knew this lad named Zack...


INFOMANIAC:

Zack?


JOHNNY THUNDER:

He's a LEGO maniac. And he once told me, "GOTTA BUILD LIKE CRAZY!"


INFOMANIAC:

Eureka, that's it!


INFOMANIAC runs inside the Information Center and comes back out with the Constructopedia in his hands.
 

INFOMANIAC:

Lord Business is all about following the rules; sticking to the instructions and nothing else! This book... it gives him strength! We need to stop following the instructions! Think outside the Constructopedia!


INFOMANIAC tears a page out of the Constructopedia. Behind him, the Information Center deconstructs and its bricks fly up into the sky. JOHNNY THUNDER and INFOMANIAC watch the bricks as they disappear, then INFOMANIAC sheepishly sticks the page back into the Constructopedia, causing the bricks to reappear and rebuild the Information Center.
 

INFOMANIAC:

I... probably could have thought that one through a little better. Okay, forget tearing the pages out of the Constructopedia.


JOHNNY THUNDER and INFOMANIAC disassemble the Information Center, manually this time, and rebuild it into a crazy flying vehicle that would probably never fly in real life, but that’s okay because this is LEGO and not real life. As a song that is most certainly not a cheap knock-off of "Flight of the Valkyries" plays, they hop into the flying vehicle and take off. CUT to AERIAL TRACKING SHOT of the flying vehicle as it passes over the Super-Secret Police down below.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Crikey! I've got a gut feelin' that those bots will stop us from stoppin' that rocket if we don't stop them from stoppin' us from stoppin' that rocket!


INFOMANIAC:

Quick, a trick! With green bricks and red bricks...


INFOMANIAC pushes a button. CUT to TILT DOWN SHOT as the flying vehicle starts dropping green and red bricks, then a FOLLOW SHOT of the bricks as they fall upon the robots. The bricks block the robots' paths and trap them in the center of the island. The LEGO Island civilians cheer. CUT back to JOHNNY THUNDER and INFOMANIAC.
 

INFOMANIAC:

They stay!


JOHNNY THUNDER:

Good on ya, mate! We're almost at the spaceport!


The flying vehicle lands atop Space Mountain, next to the spaceport. JOHNNY THUNDER and INFOMANIAC jump out of the vehicle and run to mission control, running towards the camera in slow-motion, but they stop in shock upon seeing the off-screen minifigure at the control panel.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Crikey! Well, I'll be stuffed!  Isn't that the friendly mechanic who works at the gas station?


INFOMANIAC:

It cannot be! In all my years, I would never have thought it would be you... Nubby Stevens!


LOW-ANGLE SHOT of NUBBY STEVENS operating mission control, surrounded by Robo SWAT bodyguards and looking as evil and sinister as a friendly mechanic working at your local gas station can be. Dramatic music stinger plays.
 

NUBBY STEVENS:

Hmm, I wonder who you might have been expecting. The Brickster? Don't be ridiculous... he's a criminal, a law-breaker, not at all the type of villain that President Business would hire! I, on the other hand, have been working at the Octan gas station here on LEGO Island for all these years. It only makes sense that my CEO would want a trusted employee to oversee the launch of Ogel's rocket! It's like I always say: life is like a skateboard... because you can grind it beneath your feet!


INFOMANIAC:

Nubby, please, listen to me! You don't want to do this! If you launch that rocket, Lord Business will take over the world!


NUBBY STEVENS:

I'm tired of always asking why we're yellow and what's an elbow and all those other philosophical questions. Sometimes, the answer to the question of life, the universe, and everything is to rule it all! And nobody can stop me!


JOHNNY THUNDER:

Listen, ya fancy yabberin' wuss. Do you know who you're dealin' with?


NUBBY STEVENS:

Why, you're...


JOHNNY THUNDER:

The name's Johnny Thunder. Australian. Master Builder. And the minifigure who's gonna burn Octan Corporation to the ground!


You know what? I've got writer's block. Just blow the whole movie's budget on some cool action sequence with lots of explosions.

After that's over, JOHNNY THUNDER stands victoriously in front of Brickolini's Pizzeria, with the entire population of LEGO Island (except NUBBY STEVENS, for obvious reasons) crowding around him and cheering.
 

JOHNNY THUNDER:

Aces, we did it! We gave Nubby a drubbin' and stopped that rocket! I'd daresay that was the most excitin' adventure I've been on yet!


PEPPER RONI:

Dude, thanks for foiling Nubby's evil plan, stopping that rocket, and saving LEGO Island!


INFOMANIAC:

The day has been saved thanks to Johnny Thunder! Let's throw a celebration!


JOHNNY THUNDER:

I'd be stoked to stay and celebrate, mates, but adventure is callin'! My fellow Master Builders are in peril, and Lord Business is still at large, and only I can stop him and save the world!


INFOMANIAC:

Are you ready to leave LEGO Island? Thanks for the visit, and you're welcome to come back anytime!


JOHNNY THUNDER climbs back into the crazy flying machine and waves goodbye to the citizens of LEGO Island, then takes off. CUT to LONG SHOT of LEGO Island. JOHNNY THUNDER flies towards the camera, and the shot freezes on him winking to the audience, sure to make any girls in the audience swoon. FADE OUT.

And now, for something completely different: the boring adventures of Emmet.

 

-----

 

EDIT 1/14/14:

Performed a revision, as per Aanchir's suggestions.  Less LEGO trivia (the Boggle Rocket Mk. II, the gameplay mechanics required to build a Teleport Pad, etc.). Chief now appears at the beginning of the story, and the Infomaniac is discussed by Thunder and Chief early on to give some lead-up to his later appearance.


Edited by PeabodySam, Jan 14 2014 - 04:44 PM.

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Calcite Copter VS Cybernetic Rock Monster - The Coming of the Toa - Cursed Form - Dino Attack Headquarters - Five Years Too Many - Hate and Vengeance - Lost and Found and Lost Again - Majhost Gallery - Scene 24: Johnny Thunder Blows This Taco Stand - Vakama's Secret
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#2 Offline Andrewnuva199

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Posted Jan 10 2014 - 03:25 PM

Oh man, that's beautiful. Playful poking at the movie with a tongue-in-cheek read that's fun for the experienced reader and a joy for those who can feel nostalgic for lines of old. Good work, old buddy.


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#3 Online Aanchir

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Posted Jan 10 2014 - 03:28 PM

Good to see another entry in this contest. But I wasn't very happy with it at all. It certainly didn't have any "laugh-out-loud" moments for me.

What I liked:
  • The "stage directions" about the film crew and the production process are great and give this a very unique flavor, kind of like the footnotes in The Princess Bride or all the narrative asides in A Series of Unfortunate Events.
  • There are some great individual jokes, like the "Back to Business" one.
  • The story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Beginning: Johnny Thunder is infiltrating President Business's lair. Middle: Johnny Thunder learns about the Boggle Rocket Mk. 2 and escapes Octan Corporation. End: Johnny and the Infomaniac prevent the launching of the Boggle Rocket and Johnny goes off to further adventures.
What I disliked:
  • The frequent references to esoteric LEGO trivia cripple the story. They slow things down and have neither sentimental value nor narrative value to people who aren't familiar with these characters or their significance within their respective themes. As a film script, characters like the Infomaniac, Pepper Roni and Chief would have no significance to a typical moviegoer, but they appear in the story without the slightest bit of exposition explaining just who they are or what their significance is (Ogel gets a bit of introduction, at least). And as a story, even a casual reader shouldn't be expected to remember random and obscure LEGO characters (or obscure LEGO gameplay mechanics like teleport pads) at the drop of a hat.
  • The cheesy "available on store shelves" disclaimers are a cute idea, but the fact that many of them refer to incredibly obscure sets that haven't been on store shelves in over a decade, if at all, reduces their punch until they start to sound like even more tedious and repetitive shout-outs to older LEGO fans.
  • Johnny Thunder talks a LOT in this script, and his folksy, vaguely Australian quips and obscure LEGO references get old FAST. If he talked a little bit more like a human being and less like a stream of blatant LEGO references he'd be a lot more bearable. Also, if he had a partner accompanying him throughout the beginning of the story, so he had someone to talk to instead of merely monologuing to himself, that would be a big improvement.
  • In general, the story feels long and tedious for a single uninterrupted scene. It just drags on and on with lots of obscure references and tiresome plot twists until at the end it just anticlimactically peters out.
So yeah... On the whole, I didn't find this story funny. If anything, I couldn't help but wince at many moments, and the whole thing was a tedious experience. While some of the cheeky references and narrative decisions are fine on their own, drenching the story in obscure LEGO references makes it difficult to get through the story with a smile on your face. Maybe see if you can improve on some parts of this story before the contest deadline.

Edited by Aanchir: Rachira of Time, Jan 10 2014 - 03:29 PM.

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#4 Offline PeabodySam

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Posted Jan 10 2014 - 05:28 PM

Thank you for your feeback, Aanchir. I will take it into consideration, but do feel the need to address some points first.
 

It certainly didn't have any "laugh-out-loud" moments for me.

 

Your mileage may vary on what qualifies as a "laugh-out-loud" moment, though I do see that you acknowledge that by saying "for me".

I admit, I'm not much of a "laugh-out-loud" comedy writer, more of an "oh, that's amusing" writer. Perhaps that's because I personally rarely find written comedy to be "laugh-out-loud" funny. I've always felt that timing is a crucial element of "laugh-out-loud" comedy, and that's not something that's easy to pull off in just plain text without any visuals. For example, reading "suddenly, Bob slips on a banana peel" just isn't as funny as actually seeing Bob suddenly slip on a banana peel.

Therefore, I instead aim for a tongue-in-cheek style of written comedy that you compared to A Series of Unfortunate Events or The Princess Bride. It's rarely "laugh-out-loud" humor, but at very least I can hope to make the reader say, "Oh, that's funny. Not laugh-out-loud funny, but still amusing."
 

  • The frequent references to esoteric LEGO trivia cripple the story. They slow things down and have neither sentimental value nor narrative value to people who aren't familiar with these characters or their significance within their respective themes. As a film script, characters like the Infomaniac, Pepper Roni and Chief would have no significance to a typical moviegoer, but they appear in the story without the slightest bit of exposition explaining just who they are or what their significance is (Ogel gets a bit of introduction, at least). And as a story, even a casual reader shouldn't be expected to remember random and obscure LEGO characters (or obscure LEGO gameplay mechanics like teleport pads) at the drop of a hat.

 

I do admit, this story was written for a very specific audience in mind, and that is an audience of people who would enjoy seeing references to Alpha Team, Rock Raiders, and LEGO Island (while there are other LEGO themes referenced, those three play the biggest roles). I suppose the group of LEGO fans that I most frequently chat with have molded me to the expectation that other LEGO fans are like that. This, of course, is a fallacy, and I do acknowledge that.

 

You keep talking about "obscure references" in your review, but most of these references would be plainly obvious to anyone who was a LEGO fan in the late 90s.  While The LEGO Movie itself isn't aimed primarily at that audience, it is the target audience of this particular script (as noted in the above paragraph).  As far as references go, they're not that obscure.  It's not like I had Johnny Thunder say, "Crikey, this is just like the time Navigator Sharp let a monkey fly her ship because it was just like a time machine!" or the Infomaniac say, "Make sure this isn't like Step 14 on page 10 of the first instruction booklet of 8269 Cyber Stinger!"  Now, those would be "obscure references".

In the case of Chief, the script does lampshade the fact that his sole purpose in the scene is a deus ex machina mixed with nostalgic fanservice, though he is introduced by Johnny Thunder as a fellow Master Builder, and given that Master Builders include "1980-something space guy" and "2002 NBA all-stars", the audience should be able to figure out that he's another classic figure. The bit about requiring a level 1 Tool Store and eight pieces of Ore might have been going too far with the trivia, but I wanted to tie in the idea that Johnny Thunder and Chief are Master Builders who don't need instructions to build.

But as for Nubby Stevens, while the plot twist wouldn't make much sense to someone who wasn't a LEGO Island fan, he does come out and explain who he is: that friendly guy who works at your local gas station. Does that sound like the guy who would be overseeing an evil plot? No, it doesn't, and that's the punchline.
 

  • The cheesy "available on store shelves" disclaimers are a cute idea, but the fact that many of them refer to incredibly obscure sets that haven't been on store shelves in over a decade, if at all, reduces their punch until they start to sound like even more tedious and repetitive shout-outs to older LEGO fans.

 

There are six instances of this running gag in the script. Half of them refer to sets from the tie-in The LEGO Movie toyline. One of them, the "punchline" if you will (since it's the last one and changes things up), is a set that doesn't exist.

That leaves only two instances of the running gag referring to "incredibly obscure sets that haven't been on store shelves in over a decade, if at all". Two is hardly "many of them". In addition, the fact that these sets are obscure and haven't been available for fifteen years is part of the joke. People who know that these sets aren't available will recognize that the advertisement is lying.

However, people who don't know that these sets aren't available still get the running gag that this script is for a 2-hour-long plastic Danish toy commercial made for the sole purposes of selling more toys. As a result, the fact that these sets are obscure and no longer available should not impede the enjoyment of those who don't catch the reference.

It's like the obscure references that The LEGO Movie already has, such as one character wearing a Fabuland shirt, or that highway sign that mentions "Paradisa" and "Century Skyway". These don't impede the experience for those who didn't catch the reference, but rather enhance the experience for those who do catch the reference.
 

  • Johnny Thunder talks a LOT in this script, and his folksy, vaguely Australian quips and obscure LEGO references get old FAST. If he talked a little bit more like a human being and less like a stream of blatant LEGO references he'd be a lot more bearable. Also, if he had a partner accompanying him throughout the beginning of the story, so he had someone to talk to instead of merely monologuing to himself, that would be a big improvement.

 

Not sure where you're getting Johnny Thunder talking like a "stream of blatant LEGO references". Quickly skimming my own writing, he talks about the Teleport Pad and refers to Zack the LEGO Maniac, and that's about it as far as LEGO references go in his dialogue. Granted, his dialogue doesn't seem particularly human, but Johnny Thunder is meant to be the "90s cheesy action hero archetype" rather than a real human character.

I did consider adding another character at the beginning (I was considering Lloyd Garmadon or Vitruvius, but also, believe it or not, Lord Sam Sinister or even the Darkitect) for Johnny Thunder to bounce off of at the beginning. In the end, I decided against it; since the scene was supposed to focus on Johnny, adding another character at the beginning just to throw him away when Johnny enters Octan Headquarters probably would not help that much.

But, here's the thing. In prose, I would have definitely cut down a lot of Johnny's dialogue and instead spewed the necessary exposition in prose instead. But that's not how it works for a movie script. In a screenplay, regardless of whether or not there is another character for Johnny to talk to, the audience still needs someone to deliver the exposition, and it's preferable to have Johnny speaking that exposition than to force audiences to read a bunch of text. Of course, they still need to read that text since this is a written story rather than a filmed movie scene, but keep in mind that this is written as a screenplay.

On that note, based upon how he acts and talks in various LEGO media, it seems perfectly in character for Johnny Thunder to be that kind of character who would monologue to himself when no one is around (again, tying into the archetype of "90s cheesy action hero"). In fact, his line about "they've got kangaroos loose in their paddock" is a quote from an Orient Expedition comic where Johnny is indeed talking to himself (and no, that's not supposed to be "here's an obscure reference only Orient Expedition fans will get" so much as "here's something that Johnny Thunder would say").
 

  • In general, the story feels long and tedious for a single uninterrupted scene. It just drags on and on with lots of obscure references and tiresome plot twists until at the end it just anticlimactically peters out.

 

It is rather long, I admit. But, as you said, it makes for a complete sequence of events: Johnny Thunder infiltrates Octan, learns about the Boggle Rocket, and travels to LEGO Island to stop it. And as I read this script over and over before finally posting it, I couldn't think of what to cut without taking away its essence (that essence being a fun ride through nostalgic LEGO fanservice). Even the part with Chief, which at first glance may seem unnecessary, is important and was written so Johnny Thunder could instantly travel from Bricksburg to LEGO Island. The references and fanservice are intended to make this more enjoyable to the reader, though again this is something that your mileage may vary on.

However, the anticlimax was intentional. In comedy, the unseen has the potential to be even more effective as the seen. That's why many comedies have scenes where it cuts away just before anything happens, or why other scenes have intentional "missing content". In this case, the lack of payoff is the comedic payoff.

It's like the "Relax-O-Vision" episode of Freakazoid!. There's one part where Freakazoid is surrounded by several villains, and as they move to attack, it suddenly cuts away to relaxing footage of a fishbowl, then cuts back to Freakazoid standing over the defeated villains whilst remarking how exciting the fight sequence was. The entire episode is like that. It's anticlimatic, but it's funny because it's anticlimatic.


Edited by PeabodySam, Jan 11 2014 - 12:30 AM.

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#5 Offline Rahkshi Guurahk

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Posted Jan 11 2014 - 02:09 AM

To be honest it needs more random little-known references. :P

(TARDIS aside)

Still liked it though.


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#6 Online Pereki

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Posted Jan 11 2014 - 12:11 PM

This is just excellent. I was actually thinking of throwing an entry into the contest with a similar theme of "Johnny Thunder in a scene largely unrelated to the rest of the movie that focuses on how great he is," but I'm frankly quite glad I didn't as this is far better than anything I would have written up. It was a fun, retrospective adventure reliving late 90s/early 2000s LEGO themes that is definitely more rewarding to people that have a specific interest in those themes - which, in reality, isn't that many people. But seeing as I am one of those people, I was able to enjoy this immensely.

 

There were too many moments to count where I was happily surprised by an inventive reference to something or another, made to fit nicely into the flow of the narrative (if the reader is already super familiar with the source material, at least).

 

 

It's rarely "laugh-out-loud" humor, but at very least I can hope to make the reader say, "Oh, that's funny. Not laugh-out-loud funny, but still amusing."

 

 

Now that is funny. Not the "ha ha" kind of funny, but the "gee, that's interesting" kind of funny. Funny because the script was able to elicit plenty of laughs from me. "life is like a skateboard... because you can grind it beneath your feet!" :lol:

 

I do agree with Aanchir that the resolution did feel a little anticlimactic - I get that it was done with the comedic value of cutting the climax short in mind, but I was disappointed to realize that the ending of the story would basically be a mystery. I guess I became invested in the narrative, despite it's absurdity.

 

Really, though, it was just great to see something as clever as this made in homage to some of my favorite LEGO themes. And it had Johnny Thunder, which automatically made it awesome. Thanks!


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#7 Online Primis

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Posted Jan 12 2014 - 12:14 AM

I’ve never played the first LEGO Island or the Alpha Team PC game, so a lot of the references were lost on me. But even so I still liked this, it reminds me of the random crossovers that the old LEGO video games occasionally did. Nicely done.


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#8 Offline -Windrider-

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Posted Jan 12 2014 - 06:19 PM

Hey! I read your entry!

 

You really do seem to enjoy working with "prose," so to speak, which makes the stage directions and scene-setting a pure pleasure to read. There are times, however, where I feel like you rely too heavily on them: one or two points were the directions seem to interrupt rather than support the script. Look for the parts where you alternate quickly between the two. It would work for an actual film, of course, but reading a script is not exactly a visual task. It escapes the senses, and since for this contest you're targeting readers rather than moviegoers, I think it would help to keep textual flow in mind.

 

That said, your kind of humor really appeals to me. And I appreciate your having worked hard on this; it shows. Thank you again for your entry!


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#9 Offline PeabodySam

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Posted Jan 14 2014 - 04:42 PM

Thank you for your feedback!

 

I had some free time today, so I went back and revised the story based on feedback, especially Aanchir's.  The biggest change is that Chief now appears at the beginning of the script.  This cuts down on Johnny Thunder's dialogue and gives him someone to converse with and bounce off of, as well as making Chief's character more important to the overall scene rather than just randomly showing up midway through.  The Infomaniac is also mentioned earlier in order to lead up to his appearance so he doesn't come out of nowhere, and Johnny greets him by name so the audience knows who he is.

 

I cut down on the more excessive LEGO trivia (the "Boggle Rocket Mk. II" is now simply called a rocket, and the gameplay mechanics required to build a Teleport Pad in LEGO Rock Raiders are no longer explicit).  But, for the most part, I kept the rest of the references intact.  I (and other fans of those LEGO themes, as evidenced by comments above) enjoyed those references too much to remove them.

 

I also removed the advertisement for the Rock Raiders set, but only because Chief's earlier appearance meant that it would be back-to-back with the ads for the Police Dropship and Evil Lair, which would have been too repetitive.  The one problem that was made worse by this revision is that Chief's dialogue in the beginning makes the scene even longer, but hopefully it should balance out the other problems.

 

There are still a few more days in the entry period, so if anyone has any more feedback/suggestions, speak now or forever hold your tongue. Or fingers, in this case.


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Calcite Copter VS Cybernetic Rock Monster - The Coming of the Toa - Cursed Form - Dino Attack Headquarters - Five Years Too Many - Hate and Vengeance - Lost and Found and Lost Again - Majhost Gallery - Scene 24: Johnny Thunder Blows This Taco Stand - Vakama's Secret
"It's all right, children. Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it. I am sure that we shall never forget Tiny Tim, or this first parting that there was among us." - Bob Cratchit
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