Thursday, June 23, 2011

Could a Cyberdrome film be made in the wake of Avatar and Tron:Legacy?

When I finally went to see James Cameron's movie, "Avatar" back in Feb of 2010, I saw firsthand what many reviewers had been telling me since it opened. There were so many similarities between Cyberdrome and Avatar that realized that my chances of ever getting a film deal were nearly zero. Anyone reading my treatment would say, "been there, done that--by Cameron!"

Similarities include a protagonist in a wheelchair (who uses an avatar to escape his confinement and ends up wanting to stay in his new body), an interface room that is nearly identical in both design and function from what my brother and I created 10 years ago, and Pandora's inhabitants look like a cross between my Blue Sentinels and a cat-like creature I call a CeeAut. Other similarities include a aircraft called a Dragon, and a drop ship that is functionally identical to one of our aircraft. There are numerous others, but you get the idea...

Now, I'm not saying that James Cameron--or one of his CGI designers--ever read our book or even saw some of the many images we have had online during the past 12 years (at, but the existing similarities will kill a potential film deal unless I rewrite the whole thing. So, thanks Jim! Thanks a lot!

Then things got even worse when Tron: Legacy came out. Below are some central themes in Cyberdrome that were used in Tron:Legacy (warning major spoilers for both ahead!):

1) Hero goes into a virtual world to rescue his father
2) Father ultimately sacrifices himself to rescue his son
3) Both call their virtual space "The Grid." The original Tron mentioned the "game grid" a few times, but not much else. The new movie uses it repeatedly (in fact, the opening voice-over starts with "The Grid...") I felt this was such a problem that I renamed my book's virtual space "The Core" in the newest edition just to separate the two. My book came out 3 years before Tron:Legacy, but many people don't notice little things like copyright dates... ;)

Adding these to the items mentioned previously made me even more depressed. So, my question to you is this: could a Cyberdrome movie ever be made in the wake of these two major films? Below is what has NOT been "stolen" by Hollywood (yet):

1) Cyberdrome's Tron-like, virtual "Grid" space is just one small part of where the story takes place. Much of the story takes place in several earth-like worlds which have been "tweaked" in some way.
Some of the action sequences in Cyberdrome take place between the hero and large robotic spiders and other bug-like machines, while others involve more down-to-earth dangers like escaping from a burning building and allowing yourself to drown in order to save you and your partner (reminiscent of a scene in James Cameron's "the Abyss") 

2) Cyberdrome uses extrapolations of currently planned technology to realistically "trap" people inside a digital world (no fake lasers "digitizing" you). 

3) Finally, Cyberdrome explores real SF themes like downloading a copy of your memories into a digital likeness of yourself in order to "escape" death--but is that copy really you? How much of what you consider "you" is just a collection of memories? For instance, if a person looses all of those memories (like with Alzheimer's) is that person the same? And, even if you could copy yourself digitally someday, would you? Should you? These are themes central to Cyberdrome that I hope might someday make it to the big screen...