Every once in a rare while, Hollywood surprises me.
That the movie business is still capable of astonishing me is in itself astonishing. I have seen too many stupid-ass sequels and prequels, too many brain-dead book adaptations, too many films that constitute a complete waste of my time... and at my age, time is becoming an increasingly precious resource. Just as life is too short to drink bad wine, so is it too short to watch crappy movies.
Disappointment seems to go hand-in-hand with movies, at least when it comes to the ones I love - or would like to see made. Remakes of two of my favorite SF flicks, The Time Machine and The Day the Earth Stood Still, were both, sadly, botched. Messing with classics is always risky: Only the fact that my expectations were low in both cases kept me from being miserable about both of these films. (The same goes for King Kong.)
I have waited an eternity for certain of my favorite novels to be adapted to the big screen. Childhood’s End, one of Arthur C. Clarke’s classics, would have made a great film. But (to paraphrase another great SF author) I am beginning now to fear that I must wait a lifetime.
Likewise, I had been all excited about the planned Coen Brothers version of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, a novel that I anticipated eagerly and enjoyed thoroughly. The Coen Brothers, with their unique darkly humorous sensibility, would have been perfect to helm a film about Meyer Landsman and his Tlingit sidekick Berko Shemets, trying to solve a murder mystery in an alternative-history Jewish homeland - in Alaska. Alas, that film seems to have been dropped into a black hole.
After many years of waiting on my part, the film version of Orson Scott Card’s celebrated Ender’s Game appears to be scheduled for a November 2013 release. The film will star Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley in two of the key adult roles, and will be based on both Ender’s Game and its sister novel Ender’s Shadow, which tells the same story from the perspective of a different main character. I sure hope they don’t fuck this one up.
Having said all this, when I discovered that the movie adaptation of this book is set to come out on October 26 of this year, I almost passed a blood clot from the shock:
OMFG! They’ve gone and made a film out of Cloud Atlas!
For those who are not familiar with David Mitchell’s astounding matruschka doll of a novel, you can read more of my comments here. The fact that the Wachowskis wrote and directed it - them as wrote The Matrix - may bode well for the film’s quality. Certainly, it has attracted a passel of Big Box Office Peepul for to act in it: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, to name a few.
Damn, I am burning with excitement. Or is that the fear of being burned yet again? I sure hope they don’t fuck this one up.