It’s summertime, and you know what that means? It’s Comic Book Movie season. Already this year we’ve seen Thor, and X-Men: First Class. But with Green Lantern, Captain America, and Cowboys vs. Aliens just around the corner, we at Major Spoilers believe that another favorite comic book should see the glow of the silver screen.
That comic book is Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s “Atomic Robo”. Take the jump, and see who made the cut.
THE ELEVATOR PITCH
A Sci-Fi/Action/Adventure tale with Robots, a Dinosaur, Nazis, and an undead Thomas Edison. Boom!
Created by Nikola Tesla, Atomic Robo became a Action-Scientist, and went on many adventures. His latest adventure battling the combined forces of the undead Thomas Edison and Dr. Dinosaur onboard a Orbiting Nazi Death Machine, which has lead to Atomic Robo plummeting though the upper atmospheres to his certain death.
As this happens, Robo’s mechanical life flashes before his artificial eyes. Reliving events where he fought in Sicily against Otto Skorzeny’s piloted Nazi mechs, had to team up with the Sparrow to fight for the umpteenth time, the brain powered robot form of Baron Heinrich Von Helsingard, remembered his first encounter with Thomas Edison, the incident where he fired his trusty Tesladyne agent, Jenkins. We’ll even see the reason why Atomic Robo hates Dr. Dinosaur, and Dr. Dinosaur hates him. At the last minute, Robo is saved by Jenkins, and the two go on the offensive.
Fighting their way back into the Death Machine, which is now swarming with Edison enhanced, Nazi “Brutes”, Jenkins takes them all on allowing Robo to go after both Edison and Dr. Dinosaur. With Robo after them, Edison destroys the Death Machine’s stabilizers, causing it to plummet towards Earth, as Edison promptly vanishes leaving Robo and Dr. Dinosaur to battle it out. As Dr. Dinosaur and Robo fight, the station burns up around them, and eventually crashes into the Pacific. Jenkins survives, and swims to a small island, as Robo makes his way onto the beach by walking across the ocean floor. Dr. Dinosaur is nowhere to be found, but Robo knows this was never a ending, just a conclusion of another strange chapter in his long life. The End.
Ron Livingston as Atomic Robo
Atomic Robo is a everyman, even though he is also a robot. He has his good days, and his bad days. Ron Livingston(Office Space; Band of Brothers) would provide the voice for both those kinds of days, and would be a perfect fit for our diminutive Action-Science Robot. Atomic Robo would be a practical effects suit, with Ray Park, or someone in the same category to move within it, with only a slight percentage of the Robo seen on screen being CGI.
Michael Fassbender as Jenkins
Jenkins comes across as almost inhuman when it pertains to taking on challenges that would make Hercules sweat. So in comes Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class; Inglorious Basterds). Fassbender has displayed the ability to be a one man army on more than one occasion, the guy was in “300” for crying out loud. On top of that, he pretty much looks the part: just add a little white to his hair, and you’re done!
David Bowie as Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla is the father of Atomic Robo, building him in a lab, and guiding his “child”. Tesla plays a important, but minimal role in our story. Why throw away a perfectly good Tesla? David Bowie (The Man Who Fell To Earth), had already done a fascinating job portraying Tesla in Christopher Nolan’s “The Prestige” so why not have Bowie reprise that role here? Though the scope of Tesla in the movie would be mainly in the Opening Credits, and the scenes where Tesla and Edison meet/argue, it’s a part that Bowie could excel at.
Natalie Dormer as The Sparrow
The Sparrow is a British Spy that Robo met during World War II. She fought the Nazis of course, and in the movie would unwillingly team-up with Robo to fight Mecha-Von Helsingard. Natalie Dormer (Showtime’s “The Tudors”) already has the accent, but also that “feisty” demeanor, and though her role would be limited in this movie, if a sequel should be green lit, the her role could be expanded upon.
Udo Kier as Baron Heinrich Von Helsingard
Since 1938, Von Helsingard and Robo have been the bitterest of enemies. Every time Robo putting Helsingard down, a copied brain fires up a mech-suit, and comes after our hero again. Udo Kier (Blade) has the reputation for playing the bad guy, and specializing in Nazi bad guys at that. Though only appearing in a flashback within a flashback as himself, Kier would be voicing the mechanical Von Helsingard that would be as much practical as possible, and CGI when not.
John Slattery as Otto Skorzeny
Otto Skorzeny is responsible for the piloted nechs that were seen during the Sicily Campaign, and he has had other encounters throughout time with Robo. John Slattery (AMC’s “Madmen”; Iron Man 2) has the looks, and the acting chops to portray this evil Nazi scientest, only thing he is missing is the scars, and the accent.
Dominic Chianese as Thomas Edison
Rival to Nikola Tesla, and Atomic Robo, Edison was a greedy, and wicked man. Once dead, he eventually returned to our plain of existence, and despises Atomic Robo. For this role, I choose Dominic Chianese, best known for his portrayal as Junior from HBO’s “The Sopranos”. He has proven that he can calmly seethe with hatred, and do whatever he has to, no matter how wicked, to get his way. All Dominic is missing is the wig to pull off the part.
Paul Giamatti as Dr. Dinosaur
Dr. Dinosaur: A delusional, talking, and crafty dinosaur that claims to be from the past, much to Robo’s denial. With death traps, and a cooler full of grenades, the impetuous Dr. Dinosaur want’s nothing more than to destroy Atomic Robo. Paul Giamatti (Shoot ‘Em Up; Sideways) has the vocal ability to bring about Dr. Dinosaur’s often energetic psychotic rants, and has displayed such ability in other productions. The Dr. Dinosaur on screen would not be fully CGI: he should be a practical effect, a puppet augmented by using animatronics, and digital techniques to remove the man piloting him.
THAT’S A WRAP
It has to be said that the movie-going public is a fickle creature and often good movies languish, while tired products that appeal to the lowest common denominator flourish. But with any luck this will be the beginning of a series of movies featuring our stout Action-Scientist protagonist. Having a similar aura to “Buckaroo Banzai” (but hopefully not “Buckaroo’s” luck in the sequel department) it shall appeal to the movie goers young, and old!