PHIL CAMPBELL DESIGN

This is a story I wrote for ‘Rise of the Argonauts’ - a short ‘webisode’ based on the Trials of Zeus…

THE TRIAL OF THE GOLDEN BULL

Fade In:
EXT.Clouds, Clouds and more Clouds - Twilight
We are looking at a vast parallaxed view of clouds moving against each other in the sky. All are fluffy, white and peaceful…

NARRATOR (PAN)
Welcome mortal, to a scene of pleasant ease, a divine sky of pastoral white and blue…

Some of the clouds begin to darken. From one, a crack of lightning followed by the slow rumble of thunder. Then another, and another.

NARRATOR
…Quick! Quickly now, enter thus the dark eye of the storm. Behold mortal…

The blackening and thunderous clouds part slightly to reveal…

NARRATOR
Olympus! Towering Olympus, from whence came Zeus – Mighty king of the Gods…

We see the top of the mountain deform and arch its back, morphing into the giant form of Zeus…

NARRATOR
- and ever more quickly now, hurry! For Zeus undertakes his favorite sport – the trails of man, a challenge to his earthly followers…Look, look, see that man there, so small and humble?

We see that Zeus is towering above, arching over the remains of a broken temple, arranged in a rough semi-circle at his feet. Within the fractured temple we see a stone frieze, blank but for vague, suggested shapes, encircling an arc of four stout statues, each a lesser god – Ares, Athena, Hermes and Apollo. Each statue guards a shine, built for fire, but each with their flaming contents doused.At the center, stands a man, defiant, staring fixedly at the giant bulk of Zeus which defines his current ‘sky’…

NARRATOR
- But this is no ordinary man, no. Behold Jason, leader of the Argonauts. This is a man who communes with the Gods – because Zeus commands it…

Zeus speaks to Jason. His voice sounds like a huge rock being hewn in two by a heavy metal sword.

ZEUS
I grow weary of trials, mortal, it no longer diverts me pleasurably. What can it possibly prove?

JASON
If Zeus ordains it, then I am worthy of your test. I live to serve the gods, to serve the will of Zeus…

ZEUS
No, it is your will, foolish mortal. Very well – I shall provide a challenge…

The giant arm of Zeus sweeps across the scene as if engaged in some final death-blow, a shrine bursts into flames (we can’t see which one) and Jason is carried aloft in a blur of motion…

NARRATOR
Now see Jason, helpless in the element’s torrid swirl, fall… Down, down he plummets. A man falling from the Gods until…

Thump! We see the impact of Jason’s fall, landing hard in a flurry of dust and sand…

NARRATOR
We have arrived. Let the trial begin…

We see an immense valley, arid and ancient, crumbling before the heat of the blazing sun. In the center, there, a mound, a hill – transforming as we watch, defying the haze – turning into the snorting, breathing, restless, bellowing form of a gloriously radiant Golden Bull. Almost too bright to look at though unshaded eyes…

NARRATOR
…The Trial of the Golden Bull.

Shafts of golden light burst from the proud arc of the bull’s giant silhouette. We hear the voice of Zeus, swathed in thunderclaps;

ZEUS (V/O)
Deliver me my bull, little man! Fetch, and you shall receive, ha, ha ,ha (voice tails off)…

NARRATOR
- Not as simple as it seems. Behold, at either end of ancient valley comes – an army, magnificent and firm…

Jason, from his central vantage point, looks left and right, at each extremity an army, each characterized by a deadly mass of war-shaped protrusions and vibrant color.

NARRATOR
Poor, poor Jason, as he looks to either extremity, an army does he witness, massive, invincible, impassible and, heavens! – advancing!

Each army inches forward slowly, with menace. The Golden bull rears and snorts…

NARRATOR
(Relishing every word)
And so we see the magnitude of our hero’s predicament. A failure, immediate and bare. A God-given Golden bull to transport with no way, or means…and no help, it seems, unless…unless -

Fast, FAST Zoom into Jason as he turns to face us with his rage. Fast into his face, his mouth. Fast, his widening mouth, a scream, a shout…

JASON
ARES!!!! I CALL ON YOU! APPEAR!!!

Nothing but deadly silence. The armies inch again. The bull is curious, nothing more…

JASON
ARES, by god in war!!! I defy you! Do not abandon me!!!

ARES
- You don’t need to shout. I heard you the first time…

As Jason turns, a swirling cloud of sand now takes the form of Ares, God of War. Sometimes firm to make a point, sometimes dissipating, only to reform anew.

NARRATOR
Then did my eyes not deceive me? Did not appear the very shape, the form of Ares, God of War?

ARES
Ha Ha Ha. What have you found yourself in now, Jason, cuckold of the gods? Does the little man need War? A mighty arm to lay against this task?

The swirl of Ares continues to play around Jason, forming and reforming, sometimes human form and sometimes terrifying instruments of war…
We see the swirl transform the bull into a thousand bulls, and then fade. The Golden bull rears and again the swirl of sand and dust envelopes it, Ares transforming the bull into a brief silhouette of an army of a thousand men…

ARES
Admit defeat, weakling kind, and I shall save the day. For I will conjure up an army to carry this golden bull away. Say it, Jason, and a thousand strong men will an army form…And clear this valley so you, and bull, can walk in peace…

Jason walks towards the Bull. The bull rears up from his grazing and watches the tiny man approach…

JASON
You have your uses, Ares - that is clear. Your swirling presence has given me an idea – I have no further use for you today…

ARES
But – those armies coming ever near..?

JASON
MY army is before me – all I need – is here…

Jason approaches the Golden Bull. Closer. The magnificent bull now rises to its full height, and now we can plainly see it’s razor-sharp horns and bladed, deadly hooves. The bull flashes white for a second, and then shines gold even brighter… A snort, and then the bull seems to be…waiting for something…

NARRATOR
A hush raced through the valley, a shiver of silence, not even armies inching forward make a sound…Ares fades to dust as man, and beast, combine…

Close on Jason, facing us, looking up though the bull’s heaving shadow…

JASON
Bull! If I may, converse with you, in short – I know the way this game is played – and I offer you some sport…

Close up on the Bull, towering over Jason, now throbbing with color alternating gold and white, and back to gold…

JASON
You see those armies, either end? Transform yourself, reveal the lie. For you are Zeus, my god revealed, standing in magnificent disguise…

Closer still on the bull, more white than gold now, but still radiating a sunburst of golden rays. Horns transform to gleaming mother-of-pearl and a silver moon etches itself upon the bulls glistening forehead…

NARRATOR (In a whisper)
Could this be true? Could Zeus himself have left the placid calm of sweet Olympus - to desire instead the delicious carnage of an earthly battle?

JASON
Bull, transform! And quickly still, for the armies will fall upon us even now!

The white bull suddenly grows to twice, three-times its earthly size, and gleaming stars and thunderbolts erupt. In a flash, Jason is swept up upon its back. The bull begins its charge…

ZEUS
Ah, you see too easily though my ruse – and pass the test in this most unexpected form – of my expected ways…

JASON
On quiet Olympus, oh Zeus, if I may speak – your thirst for battle evident, through sand and mud and gore of human blood!

Still rushing to engagement, Jason and the bull are a blur as they broach the first of the enemies’ lines. Sharp hooves cut bloody swathes through the advance.

NARRATOR
…and on they charge and mash and pound, a singular stampede, impossible to defend… And wait! – There’s still the other end!

The battle is a massive blur of limbs and screams as the giant bull thunders about, crushing everything in its way – as the battle dies down slightly, the bull turns and plummets into the army approaching from the other end…

ZEUS
You called my bluff, see though my lies, and now the trial shall be victorious - Of that, you have my word…

JASON
- And believe it fully, I comply - if you could only conjure up a sword!

As if from nowhere, the dust swirls once more and becomes Ares, riding on a giant steed, joining in the fray. He tosses Jason a gleaming silver sword…

ARES
- I’m glad I could finally be of some use! Ah – the smell of war! Thundering, glorious WAR!!!! WAR!!!!

The carnage rises in intensity, developing into brutal slow-motion accompanied by the distorted roaring of gods, beasts and men…
The camera lingers briefly on Ares as he swings his sword around creating a swirl. We hear him laugh heartily as we…

DISSOLVE TO:
Mt Olympus. We see the colorful figure of Ares now transform into his statue and the flames from the shrine leap and hiss. Behind, the first part of the frieze has been filled in colorfully, depicting the completion of this first Trail…

NARRATOR
A tale is told, a trial complete – the true nature of a god’s deceit. For with the thunderous Ares as bait, to tempt our hero, seal his fate –

As the narrator continues, we slowly zoom into the Frieze depicting the great battle, and for a second it comes alive again, before returning to stone…

NARRATOR
But Jason recognized the trick, and giving Zeus his precious earthbound moment – delivered the bull, so to speak…

- Revitalized a God…
- And once again ascended to the lofty peak –
- Olympus! At trial’s end…

(until another trial we’ll send!!!)


FADE: