It’s been a busy last couple of days in science-fiction/fantasy movies, with a lot of news and trailers to get to. (Like the new trailer for Red Riding Hood above.)
Let’s start first with the annoying news that Robert Zemeckis—the once-exciting visionary behind the Back to the Future trilogy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? who in recent years has been known for icy, CGI eye candy feasts like The Polar Express and Beowulf—has been hired to direct a remake of The Wizard of Oz...using the exact same shooting script as the 1939 original. The obvious question, “why?” has an obvious answer: “to make money,” rendering any questions of artistic purpose moot. Unless he casts Justin Bieber as Dorothy, there will probably be little cause for any emotional reaction whatsoever to this picture.
Next up in the “Hollywood is seriously out of ideas” genre is Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood. Hardwicke’s days of being the auteur behind 2003’s excellent Thirteen have long since been eclipsed by her odd Nativity Story and, of course, the first Twilight movie. The “From the director of Twilight” card seems a bit redundant with all the shots in Red Riding Hood being of Amanda Seyfried and the pretty boy with the nice hair (though in a daring departure from Twilight there seems to be only one pretty boy with nice hair). It would appear that Gary Oldman will get the chance to dine heartily on scenery, as he does so very well, and that they’re going to be building up Lukas Haas as the Big Bad Wolf only to reveal that the Wolf actually is the pretty boy with the nice hair, because teenage girls need all the mixed messages about the sexual appeal of bad boys they can get. In any case, this should make plenty of money, and men and women with girlfriends who insist on seeing this sort of picture have a few months to prepare their alibi for opening weekend.
Twitter users can only hope that the new TV version of The Incredible Hulk will take its inspiration from the Drunk Hulk, Feminist Hulk, and other entertaining feeds. With the venerable Guillermo del Toro and Battlestar Galactica producer David Eick running the show, however, we can more likely expect a modernized reboot of the old TTV series (that will apparently make the smart move of ignoring the two disappointing recent movie versions) when the series airs on ABC in Fall 2011.
Finally, because I’d hate to go out on a cynical or grouchy note, let us now feast upon the glory that is the trailer for Cowboys & Aliens:
If you need one guy to send those aliens running back to space with their tentacles between their tentacles, it’s Daniel Craig. Basically, if you are engaged in any sort of endeavor and wish to achieve victory, you call Daniel Craig. He’s the English Steve McQueen, it’s almost an unfair fight. But considering that in the Old West, without even the A-bomb to halt the aliens’ malevolence, you need a bit of an edge. So get Daniel Craig on alien-ass-kicking detail, STAT. Having Harrison Ford on hand is an excellent backup plan, as Harrison Ford even wins when he plays bad guys (see The Conversation and Apocalypse Now), and Olivia Wilde is simply lovely, even if she ends up being marginalized as The Girl (she deserves better, but even wasted Olivia Wilde is better than no Olivia Wilde).
Jon Favreau showed a deft hand with big-budget science fiction action spectacle with the Iron Man pictures, which were hampered only by the invulnerability of the lead. Here, working from a script by Star Trek reboot writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (it’s impolite to mention Transformers, so don’t) and Lost mastermind Damon Lindelof, Favreau could quite possibly turn in his best picture yet. Let us nerd out with great optimism!