Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why, Bob? Why?!?!

Variety reports Robert Zemeckis' next project will be a motion-capture remake of The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine." This is disappointing on so many levels.

• This will be Zemeckis' fourth 3D mo-cap film in a row after "The Polar Express," "Beowulf," and the forthcoming "A Christmas Carol," in which Jim Carrey plays Scrooge and all three ghosts that visit him. His first two efforts produced mixed results -- the 3D was shockingly good in "Polar," and the character animation followed suit in "Beowulf," but neither film gave John Lasseter and his band of geniuses at Pixar nightmares. The "Christmas Carol" trailer looks like more of the same.

• What does Bob Z. have against live-action? Is he arrogant enough to think he's conquered the medium? Yes, he's always been a visual innovator, breaking new ground in VFX on at least three occasions ("Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Death Becomes Her" and "Forrest Gump"), but surely he is still capable of taking a camera on location and shooting actors in wardrobe, not green suits covered in ping pong balls! His last live-action effort, "Cast Away," was a tremendous film, maybe his most accomplished, and let's not forget that he co-wrote and directed one of the greatest comedies of all time. (I don't have to tell you the title, do I?) Is there a rift between him and Bob Gale that I don't know about? I'd sure like to see them write another flick together.

• "Yellow Submarine" was, at best, a curiosity. It was probably best enjoyed with a joint or a tab of acid. I wouldn't know. Is there an actual story to tell with this, or does Zemeckis merely aspire to make the world's first mo-cap musical?

• Who the hell is gonna play The Beatles? Hopefully not Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Justin Long and Jason Schwartzman. And will the actors sing and perform new versions of the songs in the film, or will they just use the master tracks?

Of course, none of these personal hang-ups are going to keep me from seeing the movie; I love The Beatles, and I (at least used to) love Robert Zemeckis. I just wish he'd move on from this phase of his career.

But then again, I'm not the one making millions of dollars and breaking new technological ground, so maybe I should just shut it.

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