Thursday, September 25, 2008


The Disney Studio had some sort of confab hoo-ha yesterday, whoring themselves to theater owners and the media in a desperate search for love and acceptance.

Admittedly, of all the big movie studios, Disney is the least likely to strive for any kind of innovation or diversity in their output--which, considering the pathetic current state of the film industry, is really saying something--but even given this, their announced lineup, presumably intended to build enthusiasm, comes off as a roll call of the damned. When one of the least depressing-sounding movies is another damned Nicolas Cage vehicle, your descent into the Underground is complete.

That movie with Cage would, I'm afraid, be National Treasure 3, the latest in a joyless series much-loved by audiences apparently never exposed to real entertainment. Still, it's better than the announcement of another Pirates Of the Caribbean craptacular, which was also on the agenda. In fact, Johnny Depp appeared in person, eagerly promoting not only his long-unawaited return as Captain Jack Sparrow but also his inexplicably willing participation in two other forthcoming projects from the Mouse House.

One of those will be a turn as The Mad Hatter in an adaptation of Alice In Wonderland directed by Tim Burton. There was a time when a new effort from Burton was a cause for celebration, but Planet Of The Apes, Big Fish and the absolutely dreadful Charlie And The Chocolate Factory pretty much put the kibosh on that line of thinking. Though I loved his last film, Sweeney Todd, the announcement that Alice will be made using the lazy computer-assisted tool of motion capture technology mutes any kind of enthusiasm for this. I predict yet another movie resembling every other movie out there.

Depp's other project--and, wow, this just sounds unconscionable--is playing Tonto in a new version of The Lone Ranger. Hard to figure out what's worse here--a white guy playing an American Indian (hey, maybe soon we'll get a Martin Luther King biopic starring Anthony Hopkins!) or the fact that someone thinks it's a good idea to make a new Lone Ranger movie. Remember when they tried that back in '81? Of course you don't! Nobody went to see it, because it was a terrible idea. And worse--this one will be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, of National Treasure and Pirates Of The Caribbean fame. Apparently, Disney believes a misguided concept can only be enhanced by lots of explosions, frantic editing and a bombastic soundtrack.

Aside from threatening to turn Depp into another actor you never want to see again, the studio also trumpeted these bad ideas: a sequel to Cars, a mo-capped remake of A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey (Mo-cap+Jim Carrey+Scrooge=A perfect storm of suck), a family comedy with Robin Williams and John Travolta (no, wait, that's a perfect storm of suck), a romantic dramedy with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds (probably slightly more endurable than the other movies listed here, but still enough to make me want to kill myself) and, well, the list goes on.

Mind you, these are the movies Disney is excited about. Makes you wonder about the stuff they'll try to bury.