Monday, June 22, 2009

So, which classic tale will Tim Burton f*** up next?

Actually, easily the best (or, really, worst) story out there today is that Steven Soderbergh's "Moneyball," based on the book by Oakland A's smartguy Billy Beane and set to begin filming today, has suddenly been shut down by Columbia Pictures.

Details are sketchy so far, but it seems that someone at the studio read the latest script draft, which had been rewritten by Soderbergh himself from a first attempt by Steven Zaillan, and was much less than pleased. Now, I have no way of confirming this, of course, but after Brad Pitt walked away from "State of Play" fairly far into production, I have to wonder if Pitt, who was set to play Beane, also threatened to walk away from the project.

Either way, the bad news is all for us, because unless another studio steps up to revive this, we lose out on a possibly great baseball movie, a quickly dying breed of flick. (And, just as a reminder, the mighty Baltimore Orioles have just completed a 7-2 swing through the lowly National League East, so watch out!)

And easily the funniest would have to be that director Marcus Nispel (apparently the director of some form of "Friday the 13th," but I really can't give you first-hand confirmation of that) has found his steroid monster to play the new "Conan."

Am I the only person who remembers that old, extremely silly F/X show starring Timothy Stack, "Son of the Beach"? Now, if you don't, all you really need to know is that it was produced by Howard Stern, so you know the humor was straight from the gutter, but I also have to admit that as a spoof of "Baywatch" it just made me laugh.

Anyways, it seems that bodybuilder Roland Kickinger, who played lifeguard Chip Rommel (yes, the character's German, and that's exactly the kind of humor the showed reveled in) on the show has signed on to play the rather iconic role of "Conan." I can't see any possible way I'll see this, but I just thought someone out there might find this as oddly funny as I do.

But the most disturbing thing here today comes courtesy of USA Today, I believe, and it's the first character glimpses of what Tim Burton is cooking up for his take on "Alice in Wonderland."

Why disturbing? Well, to me, Burton is just the most maddening of directors. When he wraps his mind around a concept he clearly gets into, he can come up with some truly magical movies, such as "Ed Wood" or my personal favorite, "Big Fish."

Just as often, however, he feels the need to pop out remakes that either add nothing to the originals or, much worse, crap all over them. As an example of the former, his "Planet of the Apes" managed to be both thoroughly unnecessary and completely boring. His "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was much more ominous, with Johnny Depp turning Willie Wonka into some kind of Michael Jackson-style freak and making the movie simply unwatchable once the factory doors opened.

Well, now we have these three pieces of character art that show his vision of "Alice in Wonderland" will be very colorful, and hopefully somehow better than these last two. Below are Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter (of course) as the Red Queen and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. Enjoy, and have a perfectly bearable Monday. Peace out.


Eric said...

I believe that this is more than just another Alice in Wonderland. I believe that it is actually based on "American McGee's Alice In Wonderland" the computer game. Which in face is a very dark and unsetteling view of the story. Alice is much older and just out of a mental institution. the world of wonderland is a metaphor for her mental state. And she has a 3 foot vorpal blade with which to snicker snack those who upset her. So this could actually be really cool.

Reel Fanatic said...

I had forgotten all about that, Eric, and you're right that it does indeed sound more interesting ... Maybe with something that twisted already, Burton won't need to go completely overboard with even more forced oddities

Bob said...

When I heard Johnny Depp was going to be the Mad Hatter I thought to myself, Wow!...That's really unimaginative anymore. Just bring me "The Rum Diary."
And big ups to you for mentioning the awesomeness of "Ed Wood."
I've got my unkind review of "Year One" up if you want to take a look.

Reel Fanatic said...

I certainly will, Bob ... it was your Facebook dis that made me just decide to say no to this one

Elena said...

Ummmmz yeah I think I'll be keeping an eye out for this one for curiousity's sake, but I'm a bit apprehensive. I didn't know it was based on the game though, that's pretty cool.

Please Mr. Burton, don't fuck up one of my all-time favourite stories :(