I have a lot of issues with the new 2013 Space Pirate Captain Harlock CGI movie.
One of my issues is that Harlock is not in the movie enough. Another issue was that Harlock didn't really act like Harlock - at least as far his personality went. They turned him into a nihilistic anti-hero.
So I have written a 'fan' re-write script for one of the scenes in the movie to give it a more Harlock-centered feel, and to illustrate to the reader (I'm addressing seasoned Harlock fans who have hopefully seen the both the new movie and the old animes) just how badly Shinji Aramaki screwed-up on dialogue opportunities and trashing Harlock's subtle nature after blowing the entire movie-budget on the Arcadia's space-battles (which were pretty awesome, I'll admit).
The scene I have re-written is the first one after the opening prologue, where Logan seeks to board the Arcadia. I found it a very disappointing scene so I rewrote the whole thing. Compare with movie and tell me which is better.
Opening Scene: [The Arcadia has landed on Heavy Meldar for some reason
(I'm assuming the dying desert planet at the beginning of the film is Heavy Meldar, although this can only be assumed, but really- what other planet could it be?).
Yama-Logan and his fellow wanna-be recruits have climbed up the mountain to reach the Arcadia and have been disarmed. They are standing on retractable planks outside the loading bay with their hands on their heads, as per the film.
However, in this re-write, they are only 10 or 15 feet above the ground, not at a level so high they will turn into human pancakes if they fall off. The Arcadia's crew is assembled before them. They are not wearing armor or helmets and can be easily recognized. Kei Yuki and Yatteran are there as per the film. So also are Masu the Cook and Dr. Zero with his kitten on his shoulder. Maji the Engineer is there as well. Only Miime is absent. Everyone is silent. Logan and his comrades all have apprehensive expressions on their faces and sweat on their brows. What is going to happen to them?
Then they hear an odd sound: heavy footsteps accompanied by the clinking of old-fashioned Western-rider spurs. The camera zooms backwards to an unseen part of the loading bay, low to the floor. Harlock's booted feet come into view, and the camera follows him from behind, slowly moving up his caped back to his swaying shoulders and head, while the same time moving back from him, giving the audience a fuller view as he walks towards his crew (who all have their backs to him).
The camra then switches to Logan's POV and he sees the pirate-crew before him start to shuffle aside. Captain Harlock emerges from among them and stands before the recruits in his classic posture: face stoic, arms folded across his chest, his hair and cape waving slightly in the hot desert breeze. The bird Tori flies up behind him and settles on his shoulder with a cry. More silence. Harlock slowly gazes at each recruit in turn, his face impassive. Logan and his comrades swallow and try to put on their brave faces. All but Logan fail to look convincing].
Harlock: ''Are these the only ones, First Mate?''
Yatteran: ''Aye Captain; they're the only ones who dared the climb. Quite a haul this time eh?''
[The camera moves out of the ship for a sideways view of Harlock and the recruits. Slowly Harlock walks to the plank where Recruit Number One is standing. Recruit One is a bald beefy man in tight brown shorts and a white tank top. He flashes Harlock a wide toothy grin, but his legs are shaking. Harlock stands glowering at him for a moment; then -]
Harlock: ''Why do you wish to sail on my ship?''
Recruit Number One [with a puzzled expression on his face]: ''Why, so I can rob rich Gaia-Class citizens and become wealthy and prosperous and feared - like you.''
[Harlock is silent for a moment. Then suddenly he steps onto the blank and seizes Recruit One by his shirt-collar, pulling his face close to his own].
Harlock [in a whisper]: ''Wrong reason.''
[Harlock then shoves Recruit One backwards and he falls from the plank. He fails to land properly and twists his ankle when he hits the ground, where he lays moaning pathetically.
Harlock the moves on to Recruit Number Two. Recruit Two is a thin, semi-handsome blond-haired man wearing a baggy black T-shirt and equally baggy cargo pants. He smirks and titters nervously as Halock comes to a stop before him].
Harlock: ''Why do you wish to sail on my ship?''
Recruit Number Two [without a pause]: ''So I can win fame and glory and score myself a nice pretty lady [here he shoots Kei Yuki a lewd, knowing look] - like you.''
[Harlock does not pause this time. He lunges forward, grabs Number Two by the throat with one hand and lifts him compleatly off the plank. A stronger gust of wind causes his cape to billow about him. His good left eye narrows into a slit].
Harlock: [still in a whisper] ''Wrong reason.''
[Harlock flings Number Two away from him, but Recruit Two is more physically coordinated then his fatter comrade and he lands unharmed on all fours where he kneels, messaging his sore throat and looking very confused.
Harlock continues on to Recruit Number Three. Recruit Three is young and scrawny: a dark-haired teen only just out of boyhood, yet he already has the look of one who has seen and done too much. He is wearing a navy-green jacket and bluejeans. He is trembling badly, overwhelmed by Harlock's persona. Harlock, however, looks hopeful. Youth is a very precious thing...
But this time it is different: as Harlock approaches him, Number Three looses his nerve. He starts to shake and cry and when Harlock stands before him -]
Recruit Number Three [crying]: ''I don't want to sail with you! You are a thief and a murderer - just an outlaw pirate!''
[He turns his back on Harlock and jumps off the plank himself, landing successfully alongside his rejected friends.
Harlock stands still for a moment but makes no replay to the boy's accusations. He seems to look rather sad. Then he walks towards to last recruit standing on the last plank - Number Four: Yama-Logan.
Yama-Logan watches as Harlock approches him. He stands still and keeps his hands planted firmly on his head, as he was ordered. His eyes never leave Harlock. The Captain of the Arcadia seems rather subdued - his pace has slowed and his head is down, his gazed turned inward - he is not really even looking at Logan.
Finally he stops at the foot of Logan's plank. The wind has picked up and Harlock's hair and cape are whipping wildly to the side, but his face is impassive and he stands straight and rigid. The sun shines in his brown hair and the tall-tale lazier-scar is livid on his pale face. At last he focuses on Logan, but all interest and hope have faded from his eye.
Logan meets the Captain's gaze and refuses to show any sign of fear, although he is indeed afraid. Before him stands the most wanted man in the entire civilized universe, the most hated and feared space-pirate of them all. But Logan is not like the other recruits Harlock has rejected. He desires and reasons are completely different. All his life has come together at this point. He knows the correct answer to Harlock's question. Now he waits, fear building as the wind continues to rise and the threat of falling from the plank without Harlock's aid rises with it; then -]
Harlock: [quietly, as if to himself] ''Why do you wish to enter Arcadia?''
[Not quite the same question, but the answer to it remains the same. Yet Logan does not reply. He wants Harlock's full attention. A muttering begins among the crew and a voice calls out: ''He's a dimwit! - push him!'' and then silence falls. The wind suddenly dies. Harlock locks his eye with Logan's and steps towards him -]
Logan: [in a strong, clear voice] ''Because I desire freedom.''
[Some indescribable emotion passes over Harlock's face. He grabs Logan's jacket coller and pulls him off the plank, stepping swiftly back into the dark cargo bay. None of the crew speaks a word. Fearful and elated, Logan's feet get tangled just as Harlock releases him, and he inadvetently falls on all fours before the Captain.
The crew of the Arcadia closes ranks behind him, blocking the bay opening. Logan blinks in the dim light. He is unsure whether to stay put or stand up].
Harlock: [in a loud, deep voice] ''Freedom. You all have heard what this youth has just said. He seeks freedom: just as you sought freedom. The Arcadia is the ship of freedom and you all have chosen to live and die under the flag of freedom [switch scene to a shot of the Aracdia's Jolly-Roger flag fluttering in the breeze - switch back]. Once you were pathetic, lost souls with no hope and no purpose. Now you are a force that strikes fear into the hearts of dictators and troubles the dreams of the Gaia Communion itself. You do not bow to the petty whims nor blindly follow the vain orders of the self-styled rulers of the universe. You fight for what is in your hearts, for the truths only you know. You are free, just as I am free: free from chain or bond to unworthy persons and ideals [all the crew start smiling and nodding their heads]. Free to traverse the endless Sea of Stars while others sit awaiting death while worshiping a world that is forever denied them. We are called outlaws and pirates, corsairs and vagabonds - and they laugh at us, thinking we are madmen chasing empty dreams. But they themselves are the ones who should be scorned. For whether they live in luxury or squalor, whether they drink rich wine or watery beer, they are all the same: they no longer seek a true man's life of integrity and sacrifice - they have no will to fully live. All of you were once like this, but no more. Now there is yet another who would join you - one who seeks freedom, one who desires to live a true man's life - will you have him?''
Harlock's Crew all together [very loudly]: ''Aye, Captain, we will have him!''
Harlock: ''Will you teach him and train him and fight alongside him and die with him under the flag of freedom?''
The Crew: ''Aye, Captain!''
[Harlock looks down at Yama-Logan and offers him his hand. Logan takes it and Harlock raises him effortlessly to his feet [the Crew cheers]. Then he places his hand on Logan's shoulder and looks him directly in the face].
Harlock: [quietly again]: ''What is your name?''
Logan: ''My name is Logan.''
Harlock: ''Well Logan, you have been accepted. You have come to the Arcadia to begin a new life, because for whatever reason, the life you were leading was not the one your heart desired. And as long as the desire for freedom burns in your heart, this ship will always be your home. However, I do not promise you safety, or riches, or glory, or even happiness. I am a wanted man. I have many foes. If you sail with me, my enemies will become your enemies, and my trails your trails. I cannot promise you anything. Nor do I expect you to promise me anything. You do not have to sign any contracts or swear any oaths. If a time should come when your man's way of life parts from mine, you are free to leave this ship whenever you want. You, or anyone else, are under no obligation to stay here. Is that understood?
Logan [looking at his feet]: ''Yes, I understand.''
Harlock: ''That is good. [He turns to Yatteran] First Mate!''
Yatteran: [who is now sitting cross-legged on the floor tinkering with a plastic model airplane] ''Aye, Captain?''
Harlock: ''Give our new comrade Logan a tour once we are spaceborn and show him how we do things. We are to launch immediately. I will be in my cabin [Harlock walks off. The crew begins to disperse].
Yatteran to Logan: ''You have been in space before, right?''
Logan: ''Uh yes, many times.''
Yatteran: ''Oh good; then you know what to do. Not everyone has been in space, if you can believe it. [he turns to Kei Yuki just as she is about to pass him] Hey Kei, get the new guy ready to launch - I'm going to the battle-bridge.'' [Yatteran dashes off zooming the plane above his head].
Logan to Kei: ''Is that guy really your First Mate?''
Kei Yuki [smiling]: ''Yes. When Yatteran isn't needed on duty he spends his entire time constructing plastic models of every spaceship, seaship, tank and airplane from every era of Earth's history. He has quite a collection going so you should be mindful of where you step and sit, as he often leaves them laying about in various stages of construction.''
Logan: ''And Harlock doesn't care?''
Kei [shrugging]: ''Why should the Captain care? If Yatteran wants to use his freedom to build models why would Harlock want to stop him? Its what he loves to do: it's what satisfies his heart - and that is what the Arcadia is all about. [The Arcadia shudders slightly as the engines rev up] Come, let's get ourselves secured for launching. I'm glad we're leaving this miserable dust-rock. Oh, my name is Kei Yuki - I'm the Arcadia's navigator.'' [Kei and Logan exit the screen. Switch to a shot of the Arcadia blasting off Heavy Meldar while Logan's fellow recruits watch with mingled looks of disappointment and relief].
End Scene [might edit/add more later]