Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Female of the Species, Part the First

My recent posts where I suggested that the next Batman movie should focus on Catwoman as an adversary for the Dark Knight, and specifically, that she should be a Catwoman formed from the very origins of the character, rather than the more modern leather and latex versions, has generated quite a response here in the Heartland of Pop Culture America. People either think I'm nuts (possible), or they like the idea, but aren't sure how it would work. So to illustrate, allow me to present the first scene of the third Batman movie in the Christopher Nolan-directed series, as I would like to see it. Judge for yourself if it would be a worthwhile launching point.

It should be noted that Batman, Catwoman and all related characters are copyrighted by Warner Entertainment and DC Comics and I have no rights to them whatsoever. The following is for illustrative purposes only and will, like everything else about this blog, make me no money at all. Sue away!

Opening: Batman logo dissolving into multiple bats on the wing, high over Gotham City.

Title: THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES.

POV: Camera tracks through the bats as if one of them. It dives and flits as it descends through the atmosphere to the dimly lit city below, Gotham at midnight. The camera discovers the Gotham Museum and circles around past the entry facade to a small alcove with a service duct. The duct grill has been removed -- it lies nearby -- and the camera enters the duct and travels along its gleaming, twisting metal tunnel. Another entry point is found at the far end, also with its grill removed. The camera exits the duct and enters a security monitoring room with video surveillance screens showing dozens of exhibits and entry points to the museum. If you look very closely, one of the screens shows a guard sprawled out on the floor, otherwise, nothing seems amiss. Nothing that is, until the camera discovers two more guards at their posts in front of the monitors, both out cold. They are not dead, but we don't need to know that just yet. The camera also pans across a display on the monitor board.

Monitor Board: SYSTEM DISARMED

POV: Camera continues through the monitor room out through a corridor to the museum proper. It alights on any number of exhibits -- undisturbed, expensive-looking exhibits -- and also happens to track past the guard we saw on one of the monitor screens. Also out cold. Also not dead. Eventually it enters a room with a large stylized sign over the entryway.

Sign: TREASURES OF ANCIENT EGYPT

POV: Camera finds a particularly large diamond and begins to circle around it. There is a placard labelling the exhibit.

Placard: PASHT SUNKEEPER DIAMOND

POV: Camera continues to circle around and discovers Catwoman perched impossibly on a narrow plinth near the diamond's display. She leans close to the glass case which is now the diamond's only defense against her. She leers at it with a look of unchecked greed. She strokes the glass with a gloved hand, then extends long razor-sharp claws from her fingertips and slices a precise hole in the case, just large enough to reach in and take the jewel, which she does. She leaps down off of the plinth soundlessly, admires the diamond for a short time, then slips it into a small pouch at her belt. Cut to:

Exterior -- Gotham Museum.

We're back at the facade we saw in the long tracking shot earlier. This is the main entrance to the museum, complete with marble steps and two lion statues flanking the large brass doors. The doors swing open and Catwoman exits, brazenly leaving through the front door with her prize. She looks out into the Gotham night; it is silent, dark and utterly devoid of people. She has a clean getaway for the taking. She is smiling, a cat with a canary. But in the still of the darkness and quiet that greet her, a look of disappointment, dissatisfaction crosses her face. She pauses, then wheels around and returns to:

Interior -- Gotham Museum.

She dashes back to the security monitoring room, reaches past one of the sleeping guards and inputs a command.

Monitor Board: SYSTEM ARMED

Alarms immediately sound. Catwoman darts back and races down corridors and through a large exhibit hall, the entry lobby. Across the way, the front doors stand gaping open but a large sheet of steel is sliding across them from left to right, cutting off her escape route. With a grin she dashes heedlessly towards it, tripping electric eye beams and setting off more alarms, the whole place is a clamor of sirens and bells, blindingly bright lights stab out of the darkness all around her. She barely slithers through the nearly closed steel security door and returns to:

Exterior -- Gotham Museum.

In contrast to the last time, now the night is filled with noise. Still no people but in the distance, Catwoman can hear approaching sirens. The smile returns to her lips. Cut to:

Exterior -- Gotham street at night.

Two police cars racing down the road.

Interior -- Squad car.

POLICE RADIO: ... break-in at Gotham Museum. Possible multiple perpetrators. All available units to Gotham Museum.

FIRST COP: (on the radio) This is car GC-38. All available units means exactly two, and we were lucky to get that many. On our way. (to her partner) Lousy manpower shortage.

Cut to:

Exterior -- Gotham Museum.

Police cars arrive, cops exit with weapons drawn.

FIRST COP: Give us some light here!

One car throws a floodlight beam on the facade. The doors are still open, but the steel security door has sealed the museum cutting off the interior light and muffling the alarms within. The police cautiously climb the steps, approaching the door.

CATWOMAN: (off-screen) Took you long enough.

The first cop wheels at the voice and points her weapon at the general direction, off to the left (as one faces the doors).

FIRST COP: What? Over there! There's someone over there!

The floodlight is repositioned and now illuminates one of the large lion statues. On the statue's back, lying supine and batting at the tip of her whip like a cat playing with yarn, is Catwoman.

CATWOMAN: Honestly. I thought I might die of boredom waiting for someone to play with.

FIRST COP: Get down off there!

CATWOMAN: Oh. Yes. Of course.

She rises gracefully, standing now on the lion's back and framed in a spotlight.

FIRST COP: Catwoman!

CATWOMAN: The one and only.

Without warning, Catwoman lashes out with her whip and coils it around the First Cop's gun hand, then with a quick jerk, Catwoman pulls the First Cop's hand so that it smacks into the Second Cop nearby, disarming both. She quickly leaps down between the nearest two officers so that the others can't get a clean shot at her. Catwoman smashes the Second Cop across the face with the butt end of her whip then quickly delivers a crushing kick to the First Cop's gut, leaving her doubled over.

Catwoman laughs merrily as she dives out of the floodlight's beam. The other two officers look around, then worriedly at each other. Catwoman appears in the shadows behind one, who quickly drops out of frame; it is left to the imagination to determine how she incapacitated him. The final cop looks around, pointing his gun, a panicked look on his face. He whirls, whirls again. On the third turn, his face ends up about an inch away from Catwoman's extended claws.

CATWOMAN: Drop the gun or I scratch out an eye.

He drops the gun.

CATWOMAN: (kicking the gun away) Good boy.

She lingers over him briefly, still menacing him with her claws as if contemplating scratching him anyway.

CATWOMAN: Night night.

And she disappears into the Gotham night, the sound of more sirens approaching.


But wait! That's not all!

SEE! Catwoman's first encounter with Batman!

THRILL! As Catwoman makes her escape!

MARVEL! Oops. Wrong company.

All this and more in the next installment of The Female of the Species, right here at the Pop Culture America Blog.

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