Sunday, December 09, 2007

Nostalgia For Sale

I am of a generation which grew up watching a lot of television. As early as elementary school I can remember connecting with other kids based on the shows we watched in common. Water bubbler talk, if you will.

Many of the shows had a SF/F bent, and I have a fond, if vague recollection of them. It doesn't surprise me how well Hollywood has exploited this nostalgia, pushing emotional buttons to extract cash for a chance to re-live those days, if only in the form of bad movies.

However, I can't think of any cartoon that has been successfully revived. The ones that come to mind, Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Inspector Gadget, Rocky and Bullwinkle, just looked horrible. At least in the trailers. I haven't seen any of those movies. What do you think? Have I missed a good one? Any cartoons you'd love, or dread, to see on the big screen?

Perhaps part of the problem is the transition to live action. I don't know why someone doesn't just make a new feature length animation. I guess it doesn't work that way.

The first one to even spark an interest in me was Underdog. Last summer I was driving with a friend when I saw the billboard advertisement along the highway.

ME: Oh man, look! A movie version of Underdog! That's going to be so-


ME: But, but, but, it's Underdog! It'll be so-

FRIEND: No, it won't. It's live action, with animals. TALKING ANIMALS.

ME: D'oh!

Remember: Friends don't let friends see bad movies.

Unfortunately, another attempt is coming to a theater near you and me. I'm afraid Hollywood has got my number this time.

Speed Racer.

I know I'm way behind the curve. It's been in development for quite a while. My first reaction upon seeing the news yesterday was "Oh man, look! A movie version of Speed Racer! That is going to be so cool!"

One point in its favor is it's being made by the Wachowski brothers. I mean, if they are involved, it just has to be cool, doesn't it? Maybe?

A trailer has been released:
Hi-res, slow loading version.
Lower-res, faster loading YouTube version.

Watching the trailer, Speed shooting down a candy colored race track, I started having flash backs to Tron. Which is to say I started having doubts. Maybe even the Wachowski's can't pull this off. Watching, wavering, the thought occurred to me: if this trailer shows Racer X, I'm toast. Wait, wait for it, and ... Racer X.

I am so going to see this movie next year.


Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

now the real question is, is the movie badly dubbed so the mouths move in strange motions compared to the voice over which is delivered in staccato metronomic shouting?

December 10, 2007 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Camille Alexa said...

Didn't I already blog about Tron once? I was surprised by the less-than enthusiastic reaction amongst my fellow bloggers, if I remember correctly.

December 10, 2007 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Steve: Since the Wachowski's are involved, I could seem them doing that on purpose, just for laughs.

But no favorite cartoons? Or dreaded ones?

It occurred to me that the Jetsons was probably due for a treatment. And of course, over in Wikipedia land, I see that it is optioned for a live action movie. Just a wild guess, but I'm thinking Will Farrell in the lead role.

December 10, 2007 at 5:44 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Camille, yes, you did (and we can all see it by clicking here).

And I said it rocked, and it did when I saw it in the theater way, way back in 1982.

And I'm thinking nostalgic recall should be left the hell alone in this case. If I watched it again I have a sneaking suspicion I will be very disappointed.

December 10, 2007 at 5:50 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Two other animation-to-live-action disasters were pointed out to me today: Popeye and Josie and the Pussycats.

I'm not saying all of these were great cartoons to begin with.

December 10, 2007 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

Todd, well, I'm a Warner Bros man myself. I very truly doubt there is anything better than "What's Opera Doc" out there in the world (and yes, I do know all the words... "Oh Brunhilda, you're so wuvwee." "Yes, I know it, I can't help it..."

So most of the comic I like don't lend themselves to movies, although I do have a soft spot for "A Wish for Wings That Work" (the Bloom County Xmas Special). Not that they could make a live action of that.

And Tron still rocks (although it's a bit slow).

December 10, 2007 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Bugs and company would be difficult to move to the big screen, unless maybe some kind of 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' live/animation combo was done.

December 11, 2007 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger rawlus said...

i liked josie and the pussycats because i am a sucker for parker posey.

i think spy v spy would be an interesting indie film shot in black and white in a kind of Sin City way.

i can see a live-action Johnny Quest in the future, but i didn't just imagine it, apparently, they are actually producing one.

what about the more moralistic Davey and Goliath? that used to be the only sunday-morning cartoon there was back in broadcast days before cable.

i'd like to see Land of the Lost, the old TV-series make a 21st century reappearance with sleestak and cha-ka and the whole gang! whee! and it's funny you mention will ferrell as a candidate for George Jetson because he's allegedly attached to a film adaptation of Land of the Lost slated for 2008 filming by Robert Rodriguez! who was also attached to the film reimagination of The Jetsons.

December 11, 2007 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

All right, Rawlus! I sense a kindred mispent saturday morning adolescence.

Jonny Quest would be a natural, especially given the lack of talking animals. I did watch it on DVD in the past year or so. My recollection of it being cool seems misplaced as the episodes were very violent and poorly written.

Spy vs. Spy could be very interesting.

December 11, 2007 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

The idea came to me that perhaps the Smurfs could do with some live-action movie making. Further research revealed my typical American blinders, as the Smurfs not only started out as a comic strip (which would disqualify them for this narrow category) but also still very popular around the world.

The conspiracy theories are a fun read.

I'll hold out hope, though. Bill Murray as Papa Smurf would be quite amusing.

December 13, 2007 at 6:45 AM  

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