This week: the best Roland Emmerich movie you’ll never see!
WHAT’S IT ABOUT: Nature takes revenge on polluting mankind in the form of rampaging Orcas, destructive tsunamis and mysterious diseases brought about by hither-to undiscovered sea creatures.
It is up to a team of scientists to figure out what is going on before the whole of humanity is wiped clean from the face of the earth.
Imagine a Roland Emmerich movie in which the director actually paid attention to his scientific advisors and you’ll have an idea more or less of what The Swarm is about. Now throw in some Arthur C. Clarke meets The Abyss touches for good measure too . . .
SOURCE: Nope, despite what the title might let you believe it is not a remake of the 1970s Irwin Allen disaster movie starring Michael Caine about a swarm of killer bees.
Instead it is an adaptation of Der Schwarm (translated into English as The Swarm) by German author Frank Schaetzing, an 800-plus pages science fiction epic that dominated German best-selling lists for a year upon its publication in 2004 which has been translated into 18 languages since then.
WHO’S INVOLVED? Actress Uma Thurman and two German producers bought the movie rights back in 2006. Since then Martha De Laurentiis (widow of legendary producer Dino) has been involved as well as soundtrack composer / movie producer Klaus Badelt and Ted Tally (who wrote the screenplay for Silence of the Lambs) and William J. MacDonald (Rome). No director as yet.
LAST WE HEARD: In 2007 Martha De Laurentiis announced Ted Tally’s appointment as screenwriter: “We needed a certain screenwriter to preserve the book’s intelligence and message without stepping on the momentum of the book’s cinematically spectacular set-pieces, and we loved the last time we worked with Ted [on Silence of the Lambs].”
Since then the project was updated on 12 March 2012 on Internet Movie Database as being “in development” with an envisaged 2015 release date. One can assume that the project isn’t entirely dead even though the movie rights were acquired more than six years ago by now . . .
CHANCES OF GETTING MADE: Who knows? News on this project has been quiet for some time now. To pull it off properly the project needs a pretty big budget otherwise it’ll be just be a Syfy original movie . . . It might just get made.
WHY IT’D BE GREAT: Schaetzing’s novel may be on the long-winded side seeing as it is “crammed full of scientific fact and learning” as the author himself admits in his post-scriptum, but it is nonetheless a thrilling page-turner of a read.
Producer De Laurentiis has it right when she talks about the book’s intelligence as well as its cinematically spectacular set-pieces. One cool set-piece involves a pod of Orcas attacking a boat of whale watchers as well as another boat containing eco protestors. (Incidentally, the last movie to feature a rampaging killer whale was 1977’s Orca: The Killer Whale, ironically produced by Dino De Laurentiis himself.)
The book’s climax involves a gigantic U.S. navy ship slowly sinking as it is rocked by several explosions.
One practically salivates at the mouth thinking what a skilled action director might achieve with the material. If a director can resist the temptation to jettison the story’s more challenging science stuff (Schaetzing goes to great lengths to make it all as scientifically plausible as possible even working in real life scientists in the process), the end result would be a Roland Emmerich movie . . . but with brains!