Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Remakes. And more remakes. We've already mentioned projects under way for remakes of the Wizard of Oz (groan), Karate Kid, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and a few others. Here's news on a couple more:

1984’s NeverEnding Story was a precursor to the fantasy craze in Hollywood, which saw big, big bucks from movies like the Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings franchises. NeverEnding Story did fairly well upon release, and has enjoyed a healthy second life as a rental (this should be featured in a Weekly Classics post by yours truly!). Now comes word that Warner Bros. owns the rights to a remake, and is in talks with various production companies, including Leonard DiCaprio's Appian Way, about the project.

Some diehard fans are up in arms; others welcome the opportunity for a visual spectacular to rival all others (one commenter on a forum suggests the director Guillermo del Toro, of Pan’s Labyrinth, as a suitable match; not a bad idea).

How do you feel about it? I confess I love the original, and think, even in retrospect, that the visuals were pretty cool.

My concern about a remake is that it will go over the edge and be too dark, too scary, too much. I hope I would be wrong.

Here’s a reminder as to how great the original was:

Jack Black is starring in a new version of Gulliver’s Travels, along with Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. Black plays Gulliver, who washes up on the beach of the Lilliputians, and Blunt is the Princess of the ‘putians, while Segel is one who befriends Gulliver. The director is Rob Letterman, responsible for Shark Tale, and this spring’s Monsters and Aliens. (Did you know about some of the voice talent in M&A? Try this: Reese Witherspoon, Rainn Wilson, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogan, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, and Stephen Colbert. There are more worth mentioning but I have to get on with it. That’s a big “Wow!” though, isn’t it?)

Feels like an odd pairing, Jack Black and Gulliver. Hmmm. In this version (don’t expect a serious treatment of the book!), Gulliver is a travel agent who ends up on an island of tiny people.

Oh, heck, why not Jack Black?

Gulliver’s Travels won’t be out until 2010.

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