By Michael Lynderey
March 29, 2010
Subgenre on the rise
After weeks of bringing news of sequels, reboots, remakes, and refurbishings, I have decided that today's special edition of What's Next will specifically not discuss any of those things.
That means that, as much as I want to, I won't talk about that planned Monster Squad remake (c'mon, leave the '80s alone!). I will not discuss Spy Kids 4 (well, actually, I wasn't going to talk about Spy Kids 4 anyway) or the recently sort-of-announced Final Destination 5, which could easily take on the tagline from Scary Movie 2 ("we said no more sequels. We lied"). I won't touch Transformers 3, which has now added John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, and Ken Jeong to its cast, apparently under the impression that it's going to be a Coen Brothers movie this time (I can't wait to see Frances McDormand running from explosions).
And I'm especially not going to mention Scream 4, which, in what is possibly the worst piece of movie news ever announced - ever! - now actually has a release date (April 15, 2011...) - and I say that as a major fan of the trilogy. Wasn't that a nice final shot in that last Scream - TEN YEARS AGO - the open door and the Neve Campbell character, finally at peace? Must we revisit these people again? Do movie serial killers really have so little else to occupy their time with - especially in today's world, with so, so many smart, entertaining, and brain-expanding reality shows on the air - that they have to target characters whose story arcs were so clearly and effectively wrapped up a whole decade ago? I'd bet that if you put screenwriter Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven in a room and task them with making a brand new movie, they could probably come up with one of the best horror films ever made (and one that could easily outgross any new Scream follow-up, by the way). So why limit that potential by chaining them to this franchise?
But no, really, seriously, no more reboot/sequel/fifthquel news this week. I promise. From this point on.
So, what does that leave us with?
Well, the studios do seem to be greenlighting an awful lot of film adaptations of old cartoons (and as far as lots go, this one's rather awful indeed). This phenomenon can be traced directly back to The Squeakquel's demolition of the box office this December. Any movie that takes in over $200 million sends a clear message, and that's especially true when that exact same movie does it twice, as Alvin and co. have accomplished. The cartoon-turned-films heading our way include:
- Popeye - Popeye!?! I may have accidentally violated my "no remake" rule here, but c'mon. This'll be very animated, and - lucky for the spinach lovers in the crowd - in 3D.
- The Smurfs - People really used to watch this cartoon? Gee, I guess so. I may have been one of them. Well, in the proud tradition of Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, The Smurfs will be coming to an unwilling theater near you on August 3, 2011. On the live-action front, Neil Patrick Harris will have the Jason Lee/Dave Seville role, Jayma Mays will serve as the love interest, and Hank Azaria will growl as the ill-intentioned Gargamel. The CGI-created Smurfs will have their intellectually astute debates brought to life by the voices of Alan Cumming, Katy Perry (!), Jonathan Winters (long time no see), and George Lopez - certainly as random a batch as ever assembled. I don't know if the box office prospects are quite sufficiently Chipmunksesque here, though - after all, the Smurfs are blue and ugly and have no fur at all to speak of, pegging them a few notches below Alvin and the Rodents.