Mr Peabody & Sherman


In Hollywood’s never ending quest of going back in time to find something that will make lots of money, a new project that taps boomer humor and young’uns sensibilities is a new 3D cartoon. It is currently in early production with an expected early 2014 release. It is an animated updating of MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN. Peabody is the smartest critter in the world, a dog, while Sherman is his ‘pet’ boy. Together they have adventures by traveling through time in the WABAC machine.

Here is an old cartoon to whet your appetite.

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Did you notice how the cartoon proved the fundamentalist Christina theory that man and dinosaurs inhabited the Earth at the same time? Now all I have to do is wait until some undereducated boob accuses me of being politically incorrect or even worse, a liberal.

Oh yeah, I am expecting Hollywood to hire bad writers, create a 90 minute film with tie-ins to some bad for you fast food restaurant, make the film in 3D and charge $14 per ticket. Then they will wonder why it tanked at the box office.

What we need is Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine to find some good studio executives. 1939 was a good year. Can we go now?

 

Snow White & The Hunstman Just Misses


Hollywood has had a mini-love affair with fairy tales. If you notice I said ‘had’. After this weekend the chances of studio heads green lighting  another film, especially an expensive one, based on a fairy tale will be slim.

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN opens today. It is about some virginal princess beset by an evil step-mom/queen who has a thing for being the most beautiful babe in the kingdom. When the virginal one surpasses the step-mom inn the looks department,  all sorts of evil doings start developing. Yeah, we know the story and we know the tropes. The wonderful world of Disney drilled it into us.

The cast for this latest entry is quite good and they do acquit themselves well. There is Charlize Theron as the evil Queen, chewing scenery quite nicely thank you very much. Liam Hemsworth, the hunk du jour, acting all sorts of like the bad boy, but with a heart of gold. He’s the huntsman, big surprise. Playing yet another virginal waif is Kristen Stewart, who better watch out, she may play a virgin until she dies. She’s OK in the film. She does’t pout like she did throughout those TWILIGHT films.

Overall the film is OK. The ads stress this is not a fairy tale as we know it. This is because the marketing people in Hollywood have see the writing on the wall.  For Hollywood brand name recognition is a pre-requisite for any film to be made these days. They fervently believe that to make gobs of money, the audience is too stupid to see anything unless its name rises above the advertising clutter. If they know it, they will come.  

But there is an inherent problem. Though there is remarkably high brand name recognition for these fairy tale films, the public wants it’s fairly tales like its politicians, full of lies and spouting happy endings. And to achieve that goal requires deft writing to repeatedly repackage the same old, same old.  Sadly, quality writing is an art lost on studio executives who see writers as an expense they’d rather be without.

This has proven to be the downfall of many of the fairy tale films. Trying to update them to a modern audience is at best difficult especially since many of the writers don’t have a clue of what a fairy tale truly is. In MIRROR, MIRROR they took the snarky, wink-wink approach. In SNOW WHITE, they go for a dark, LORD OF THE RINGS approach. In the latter it almost works, but in their desire to be ‘cool’ or ‘modern’, they forget one of the most central of themes for any movie. It has to have a heart, a core.

Ironically the heart theme plays throughout SNOW WHITE. Unfortunately it is never fully developed, it is left weakly beating and ultimately the film does not satisfy. The film’s grosses will be at best so-so. So Hollywood will bemoan the public’s disdain for fairy tale movies and never admit they simple truth. You can’t make a good movie without good, intelligent writing. Now we have to wonder what will happen to HANSEL & GRETEL WITCH HUNTERS. Oh, that’s from Paramount and quite another story, especially after the GI JOE debacle.

 

“Archie” Gets Nasty, Yeah That Archie


The placid life in Riverdale is getting downright nasty. Those wholesome American comic books based on a mythical, wholesome high school has two powerful people squaring off and being, well, childish. If you believe their lawsuits.

Ok, this isn’t about movies, at least not yet. But if one side gets its way, it will be. Here’s the skinny.

Jonathan Goldwater is the son of one of the company’sfounders. Nancy Silberkleit is the daughter-in-law of the company’s other co-founder. Currently they are co-CEOs of the last family owned Golden Age comic book. “Archie” was created in 1939 and been a mainstay of a gentler comic book philosophy.

And philosophy seems to be the problem. Goldwater has hired super agent Ari Emanuel to help bring the staid comic book into the 21st century and make it a mega-brand replete with movies and other revenue generating ideas.  Siberkleit wants to keep the ‘tradition’ of its family values intact. Both accuse each other of endangering the family legacy. Both are hurling some eye popping accusation.

Goldwater says Silberkleit’s is stagnating the company . He claims she has threatened workers with termination for being over weight or simply not looking right. There have been accusations of sexually harassing female employees, and to make this truly puerile, her dog defecated in the offices. He has successfully gotten a restraining order.  Silberkleit is restricted from being in the office and limits her interactions with employees.

Silberkleit claims that Goldwater’s hiring of Emanuel was not authorized and hence illegal per company by-laws.  His attempt to find outside investors with the planned expansion of the brand is also considered illegal. She has tossed in a defamation lawsuit and said he punctured her tires to her car and had a web assassin hack her web site. She is also vehemently opposed to some editorial decisions, like having the comics support gay rights.

Apparently they have agreed on mediation to prevent this from totally destroying the company. Observers doubt this will end quietly. Where’s a principal when you need one?

What We Learn by Traveling in Time


DIMENSIONS: A Line, A Loop, A Tangle of Threads was The Gort recipient at this year’s Boston Science Fiction Film Festival. It is an indie gem about time travel. It got me thinking, there are a lot of time travel films out there. What do they tell us? Are there lessons to be learned and, if so, what are they?

The answer to the second question is an emphatic yes. So here are a few lessons gleaned from various time travel films.


Lesson #1: If you travel back in time, remember, no matter how hot you mom is and how strong she comes on to you, don’t sleep with her. (Back to the Future)

Lesson #2: Loud, nearly atonal teenage rock music is timeless, like the masters Mozart and Beethoven. It comes replete with significant ear damage and with a poseur’s attitude. Oh yeah, really cute women will be drawn to it like a Valley girl is drawn to malls. (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure)

Lesson #3: In the pursuit of perfect happiness, it is imperative to buy lots of insurance from snarky salesmen. This is key to finding a smart, beautiful woman as a life companion. It also helps if you can play the piano, know the Heimlich Maneuver and avoid puddles. (Groundhog Day)

Lesson #4: When preparing for time travel, bringing the proper equipment makes all the difference. The savvy time travel knows that no matter where you go, or when, be sure to bring your chainsaw. It has a thousand and one uses. (Army of Darkness).

And finally, in Lesson #5, we learn that modern dentistry has no equal throughout the ages, especially the 1960s. (Austin Powers & The Spy Who Shagged Me)

We’ll be mulling and absorbing these lessons as the days go on. Perhaps we’ll discover some more for as we know, the movies are a font of essential information on how to live our lives, just ask the Eloi.