Tuesday, April 5, 2011

HollyWood Chuck Out What's Cool

If you’re a regular reader, you know that “remakes” tend to drive me crazy.
Yes, folks, once again I have to put in a rant about the craziness of Holly-world.

This time I have a good and a bad.

Let’s take the bad first. Funnily enough, this “bad” is on account of a cancellation of a remake.

Robert Zemeckis had a CGI and 3D Yellow Submarine in the works. For anyone not aware, Yellow Submarine is The Beatles’ animated movie based upon the song of the same name. Fact is The Beatles themselves had nothing to do with it... they just allowed it to be made. It’s not even their voices in the film. It’s a dizzying, wacky and dazzingly tuneful trip into bewonderment. Some people hate it, others love it.

Well, not that I wanted a remake of it... but if it’s going to be done, it only makes sense to do it precisely the way Zemeckis wanted. It deserves a makeover into newer technology. For ‘simply’ re-drawing an animated feature in redesigns is pointless. And it would need to be eye-popping once again, like the original. (It used some interesting and innovative animation techniques .) Therefore, 3D is definitely warranted in this case. They’d also gotten quite a cool cast member for one of the voices: Cary Elwes, to play George Harrison.

And so, with a cocked head mentality of “ok, let’s try it” I figured it might be good.

And yet, the project has been ceased. Why? Well, apparently Disney is at the helm and since Mars Needs Moms [an animated 3D feature film] did poorly at the box office, it’s been decided that animated 3D movies don’t do well. Wait a second... how does that make sense? What about the built-in fan base of millions of fans of The Beatles, who might be looking for a super snazzy new trip on the Yellow Sub? How can they kibosh all animated movies on the basis of one? That’s like saying people didn’t eat the broccoli puffs, so they won’t want the cream puffs. I just don’t get it. We’re trashing one of the few remakes that have merit for a trumped up reason. Darn it.

The other remake has been in production stop-start for quite some time now, many years. A new writer has been assigned, after the previous script had been rejected. The film is Logan’s Run. I know what those of you who have seen are probably thinking - Why? One of the people I knew in college who I’m friends with on Facebook complained about it when he caught wind of it. I don’t blame him. I can understand the frustration. For some the original film is a classic, and if not a classic then a treasured guilty pleasure. I told him what I’m about to say here.

Quite a long way back, when I had first heard of remaking Logan’s Run, I sighed as usual. But then I saw that this remake would not be using the 1976 movie as its source material. No, they planned to go back to the book. Book? Yep. Logan’s Run is a novel from 1967. Intrigued, I tracked down a copy and gave it a read. I really liked it. Bravo to authors William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. What I liked most about it is the way in which they’d been able to present “foreign” concepts with ease. (I lent the book to someone almost just as long ago so I can’t exactly look stuff up in it!) But as an example, it will say something such as “He turned on the triupalnizer and the room basked in a soothing chill.” We don’t know what a triupalnizer is, but from context (better than I’ve done here) we can surmise what one is and feel immersed in a cool future world.

But most astonishing - everyone’s favorite part of the 1976 movie does not exist. Nope, not even a little bit. Fact is, the entire story has been shifted and rewritten into something almost altogether else from what's in the book. Now that’s a cause for a sigh. And one other mention - the “age limit” of the book vs. the movie. Quick summary: It takes place in a world where once you reach a certain age, it’s your time to die. Those who don’t wish to take part in the glorified mass suicide ritual can ‘choose’ to run. They’re then hunted down by the ‘Sandmen’ who put an end to them if they catch them. Logan, the best Sandman around, well, his time is up. He chooses to run, hence the title. In the film the cut-off age is 30. Yep. No one in the world lives past 30. Well, you see, in the book, the age is 21. Twenty-one! Imagine how horrifying THAT would be! Needless to say, I liked the book better. Truth be told, though, there are parts of the film that are still majorly cool.

And so, at the time many years ago when first announced, the idea had been to be closer to the book. And to keep the true age limit. I’m not sure how true this still is, but we can hope. Said friend on Facebook had not been aware of the book either and when I told him There is no Sanctuary! is not even in it, he realized that he, too, would have to check it out and reluctantly saw that a remake isn’t such a bad idea.

So there you go. Hollywood’s a fickle place.  BUT - we knew that.  We can only ever hope for the best.

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