So now I'm rewriting movies. All of them. Many of them while they spin in my DVD player. Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing one of this year's rumored Oscar contenders, 'Invictus'.
The Clint Eastwood-helmed film is based on Nelson Mandela's involvement with the South African rugby team, the Springboks. After Mandela, played by Morgan Freeman, is finally released from his decades long imprisonment on Robben Island, he is quickly elected president. Using his new found power, he works at disassembling apartheid. He sees an opportunity in the mostly white team of underdog players, who still remind the long-oppressed black community of the racist regime they've suffered under. Mandela forges a kinship with Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), inspiring the rugby team captain to unify South Africa by winning the world cup.
But it could have been better. It could have been epic. You know how? Two words: Black. Magic.
In the 'Horror-fied' version, Robben Island wasn't just a terrible, South African prison. It was a hell hole. No, I mean it was quite literally a fissure in the material world, a festering split in the earth that lead directly to hell. Or maybe some other dark nether dimension. Doesn't matter. While interred there, Mandela was subjected to heinous things, unspeakable acts that go far beyond dropping the soap in the shower. In prison, it's often said that you have to take sides and ally yourself with a gang if you want to survive. Mandela didn't cross over to the Neo-Nazis or the Latin Kings, no. He pledged his loyalty to a group of demon wizards. Eons old, these fiendish necromancers take Nelson Mandela under their wing. They teach him the arts of augury, spell-casting, and general bad-assery.
Decades later, the man that emerges from prison is no longer Nelson Mandela. He is a bugnuts crazy warlock, his mortal coil ready to split from unholy possession. Naturally, he doesn't give two shits about apartheid. But he loves rugby. And human souls. In the Springboks, the Mandela-fiend sees an opportunity. He can give them the ability they need, forge them into hell-fueled rugby beasts. The players think, "Hey, we can trust him. He's Morgan Freeman!"
And so begins their training. They're conditioned in a series of trials that would make Ivan Drago weep. I'm not talking about wind sprints and squat thrusts. They have to battle ravenous, indescribable horrors, play rugby with the severed heads of their families, and jump into a scrum with fetid hobos.
Quickly, their minds erode. They begin to succumb to the sorcery. As the stakes are raised, Matt Damon realizes that he's not only battling for the World Cup . . . (thunderous swell of music) . . . but for his very soul.
What do you think? It's a winner, right?