Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Beatles, the Chrysler Building, and Boobies

Here’s one more for the hippies: a Yellow Submarine remake surfacing.

I’ve watched with fascination and alarm as Hollywood, creatively bankrupt, has recently contemplated producing unnecessary remakes of nearly any film as it turns twenty, sometimes even sooner, even when the originals are perfect as-is, as with RoboCop and Total Recall (the former being considered for a Darren Aronofsky treatment, oddly, and the latter plainly pointless without Paul Verhoeven, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Ironside, and Sharon Stone).

So it’s not a real shock they’re now talking about a 3D motion-capture remake of Yellow Submarine — and if that doesn’t already strike you as excessive, read the multiple-whammy multi-media plans for the project in the last paragraph of that linked article. Maybe I’m a bad judge of whether this is a good idea, since I’m not a big Beatles fan compared to most people (perhaps the writer of this Onion piece isn’t either), but I love “Eleanor Rigby,” and Christine Caldwell Ames has observed that most of the Beatles songs I do like seem to be on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack.

And why shouldn’t that be the case, after all? Their early stuff sounds like tinny, nasal little jingles to me, and the stuff near the end is for filthy long-hairs. In the middle, they at least rose to psychedelic prog-rock grandiosity that even a Peter Gabriel fan like me can appreciate.

(Sidenote: Have I mentioned Brooklyn band Cloud Room’s “Hey Now Now” may be my favorite song of the decade, speaking of grandiose yet New Wavey things? And they’re named after the Prohibition-era speakeasy that existed atop the world’s coolest skyscraper, the Chrysler Building — which is wonderful on almost every level, not just the top floor.)

I shouldn’t pretend to be immune to IMAX 3D, I should confess: Tomorrow, I’m seeing one of the fifteen-minute screenings of teaser footage from James Cameron’s December sci-fi epic Avatar with Sigourney Weaver and reportedly perfectly-realistic computer animation of an alien ecosystem at war — and Monday, I’ll finally see Up (the Disney film about the flying house, not the Russ Meyer film by the same name about huge breasts — although it’s a shame he didn’t live to complete his planned masterpiece, The Bra of God, which might have been perfectly suited to IMAX 3D).


Eric Hanneken said...

Ordinarily I agree with the saying (I don’t know who said it first) that Hollywood should remake bad movies, not good ones. But . . . Yellow Submarine? Is there anyone out there who thinks that movie had a great story to tell, but was let down by the limitations of 1968’s animation technology? The opposite is probably closer to the truth: Yellow Submarine is appreciable (if it can be appreciated at all) only as a relic of Beatlemania and 1960s counterculture. Transplanting the music to a modern computer-animated feature will result in a movie that is at war with itself.

Todd Seavey said...

Agreed. Likewise, despite being a libertarian genre-geek, I don’t really see the point in this year’s _Prisoner_ miniseries remake (though the people involved are good). The original’s so 1967-ish that remaking it seems like trying to redo the Adam West Batman series. Some things just can’t be recaptured (without time travel).

It’s even more ridiculous when the original movie is closely wedded to the original director’s unique style and the latecomer doesn’t have comparable flair. Much as I like Bryan Singer, for instance, I am not encouraged by talk that he may direct a remake of John Boorman’s dreamlike _Excalibur_ (though if he’s as slavishly loyal to its vision as he was to the original Superman movies, the result might be interesting — albeit still unnecessary).

Maybe some idiot should remake _Citizen Kane_ or _Casablanca_ while we’re at it.