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MindFood: Abort These Sci-Fi Movies!

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May 18, 2011 | 9:39am EDT

It’s such a silly thing to think, but wouldn’t the world be a better place if certain movies just didn’t exist? Take this Friday’s Pirates of the Caribben: On Stranger Tides, for example. Who really needs a new Pirates movie at this point? Especially one without Gore Verbinski, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom? Couldn’t Disney have just taken that pile of money and shoved it at, well, any project that wasn’t a new Pirates movie without Verbinski, Knightley or Bloom? It’s a waste of time-- not just the creative time of those who made it, but the leisure time of those who show up this weekend thinking it’ll be like the good ‘ole days.

So, in keeping with that, here are a handful of projects currently in one stage of development or another that should just be aborted flat out.

Men In Black 3Men In Black 3

I like the MIB series well enough. I think the first is a lot of fun and features some pretty rad makeup work by Rick Baker. The second is a little broader, a little dumber, but it’s still tolerable. I even used to watch the animated MIB TV show, but for the life of me I can’t think of any reason to get excited about MIB3. That may have something to do with the fact that I write about movies for a living, so over the last 9 months or so I’ve come across nothing but horror stories about how Sony has to keep shutting down production in order to fix it. And while rewrites happen late in the game all the time, MIB3’s problems are more dramatic than that. This isn’t a studio halting to consult a road map to figure out where they’re going; this is like a surgeon stopping mid operation to read a medical textbook. Nothing good can come of this.

AkiraAkira

A live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga/anime Akira has never sounded like a great idea to me. I’ve been mildly intrigued by the possibility, however, thanks to Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli) in the director’s chair and Steve Kloves (the last few Harry Potter movies) wrangling in the script, but it’s still never been an “OMG! I can’t wait!!!” movie for me. And that’s because Akira is such a wild, complicated animal. It barely makes sense as an anime, so I struggle to imagine it as a live-action movie. But, if Warner Bros. throws enough money at it, maybe they can pull off something crazy...

Oh, wait, that’s not what’s happening. What’s happening is that the studio wanted Keanu Reeves to play a teenage character, he passed on the project, and now they’re said to be retooling the movie around his absence, which is code for “Fine, make the movie, but now you have to do it on the cheap.” And if you’re not going to go big on a movie like Akira, you might as well just go home.

The Dark TowerThe Dark Tower

And speaking of going big or going home, Universal needs to abort The Dark Tower pronto. Even though I’ve never been a fan of the talents actually making the movie (Ron Howard and company are fine at what they do, they’re just not Dark Tower conquerors), I at least liked the unheard-of ambition they were bringing to it. Three movies and two TV series? If you’re going to try to tell the tale of the Gunslinger, that kind of ambition sounds about right.

Unfortunately, execs at Universal think that kind of ambition sounds too damned expensive, and so they’re cutting the production’s budget and tasking its screenwriters with finding a way to do it cheaper. And that just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Jurassic Park 4Jurassic Park 4

No one needs a new Jurassic Park movie. Sure, Joe Johnston may want to make one, and Universal would certainly love to profit off of one, but no one else needs a new Jurassic Park movie. Not until science finds a way to bring Stan Winston back to life. Without him and his magnificent dinosaurs, any new Jurassic Park movie is just going to be another monsters-run-amok flick. And if there’s one phrase I’d hate to associate with a property as special as Jurassic Park, it’s “just another.”

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