4.13.2009

Why you gotta be like that, Hollywood?



This morning I saw that a friend had posted the following story to Facebook: Michael Bay Signs $50M Deal To Fuck Up Thundercats. For a brief moment, I didn't see that the link was to an article in the Onion rather than a Hollywood news blog. It's just the sort of thing that seems so plausible. Relieved that it wasn't real, I went about my afternoon internet surfing. I then found an actual headline which was much worse: Zac Efron Confirmed for Jonny Quest.

Goddammit.

I know that just because Jonny Quest is being turned into a big-budget, live-action film, it doesn't mean that the original cartoon that I love is ruined. Still, I can't help my gut reaction to this news, which is to be upset, annoyed, and... well, actually a little confused, now that I think about it. Is Jonny Quest that well known, even? I sort of understand the logic of trying to make a buck off of a live-action Scooby-Doo. (To clarify, I don't condone it, but I do get it.) It was certainly the more well known Hanna-Barbera property, and it was a definitely a huge staple of the average Gen-Xer's cartoon diet. By contrast, Jonny Quest, which originally aired from '64 to '65, was the one you had to dig at least a little bit to find out about. I guess I don't have much frame of reference for how successful the more recent reboot of the series was, but it never seemed to me like it had much impact. Perhaps the success of The Venture Brothers is responsible for the renewed interest, but it still seems be a pretty small niche market to attempt to appeal to.

My mind is racing with questions. Such as: "Why?" ("To make a buck.") and "How is Zac Efron going to play an 11-year old boy?" ("He won't. We've updated the character.") and "Oh fuck, you're going to totally fuck up the tone and try to make it sort of serious and modern, aren't you?" ("Yes. And we've added an awesomely hot love interest for Jonny. We've even got this awesome shot storyboarded out where we see, in the reflection off the lens of the walking eye robot, her and Jonny getting it on! It's awesome!") and "Seriously, WHY...?"

I know, too, that every time something is remade and reimagined for the big screen, someone's going to be screaming that its a bad idea. ("What? They're turning L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz into a movie? Good grief. I shan't stand for this!") It's always toughest for those that really love the source material. It's hard to not be protective and on the defensive. It's like Hollywood is the leather-jacket-clad motorcycle-riding bad boy taking our sister out on a date. "You better be good to her, man!" It's really only a tiny bit better when Hollywood is the Nick Andopolis-esque nice-guy suitor who perhaps loves a bit too much -- i.e. Peter Jackson's take on King Kong or Zack Snyder's take on, well, everything.

I know that it's difficult to transform one medium to another, and downright impossible to satisfy everyone. I also know, as far as pop-culture crimes go, it could probably be worse than a live-action Jonny Quest movie.

... just not much. Dammit.

I'm going to sulk and listen to ELO.

(The image above is from the Classic Jonny Quest site.)


"Don't Bring Me Down" by Electric Light Orchestra

2 comments:

2die4 said...

So, you're still going to see it right?

Ben said...

Hard to say whether or not morbid curiosity will win out.