Friday, March 16, 2007

2008... Another Great ESCAPE???

Hey neighbors! Well, first off I have to say that I'm totally amazed at how much of a spike I get on my site counter whenever I post something about Venom or Spider-Man 3. I suppose it's a hint at just how much people are looking forward to that flick. Well, today there isn't any Spider-Man stuff. Nope, rather I'm gonna invite you to jump in my trusty DeLorean time machine and take a little journey back to the age of excess, the 80's. It was a glorious time. Arnold ruled the world with his preposterous brand of action movies, the nerds showed those punks at Alpha Beta frat what real "coolness" is, and a strange man named John Carpenter introduced us to an even stranger man named... Snake Plissken.

Now, I'm sure a few of you (the younger ones) are scratching your heads right now. See, Snake was a man who could never quite get a break. A man who spoke through actions rather than words. He was also... Kurt Russell! In an eye patch! Warning everyone not to @!#% with him! The film was Escape From New York and it was a brilliant concept. See, the future of 1997 is a post-apocalyptic war-zone (God I love that term!) and a bunch of no-good punks kidnap the president (Donald Pleasance) after his plane crashes on the penal colony of Manhattan. Yep, that's right! Manhattan is now a veritable stew of the criminal and the psychopathic. The government implant former soldier turned bank robber Snake with an explosive device timed to go off in 22 hours and drop him in Manhattan. He then has 22 hours to find the president, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, and return to safety, where the device will be deactivated.

Now, I suppose most of you are telling yourselves: "Yes, I'm aware of this! Why are you wasting my time telling me about a movie I saw 26 years ago?" Well, because next year you'll be seeing it again! Only this time it won't be a grungy low-budget film. Nope, this time they're starting from scratch with a big budget and a rising new action star named... Gerard Butler (He of 300 - Pictured)!

WHAT? Gerard Butler ain't Snake Plissken! Only Kurt Russell can play his royal Badness! Yes, I know. But hear me out and keep an open mind. We may just have a potential diamond in the rough here.

Now, I don't know how many of you have watched Escape From New York lately, but it has not held up well. While they may have terrified the world in their hey-day, the punk rocker villains of the film don't exactly inspire fear in the hearts of modern viewers. Rather, they inspire laughter. Unfortunately the age of irony has taken this once pure, visceral film and relegated it to the land of 80's cheese. I know Isaac Hayes as the Duke of New York (Pictured) was hardcore, but many don't agree anymore. And I feel Plissken deserves another chance to shine (Outside of the less than spectacular 1995 follow-up Escape From L.A.).

When it was announced today that New Line had snatched up the Butler remake rights I was optimistic. I usually despise remakes, but this one has real promise. Why? Well, the character of Snake Plissken is classic, on par with Clint Eastwood's "Man With No Name" from the Dollars trilogy. And while Russell will always be Plissken, I feel Gerard Butler will do the character serious justice. Having seen 300, I think that this guy has the stuff to really bring back the type of gruff, no-nonsense, menacing qualities that have long been forgotten in this age of dull action heroes.

I also think that this film's look could seriously be improved with some modern set design ideas and cinematography. John Carpenter, God bless his crazy soul, was never a particularly gifted director when it came to visual novelty. My hope is that they get a bright new director who completely grabs hold of this project and runs with it as far as they can. I want someone with new ideas to completely redefine what this world is and how we can view it. Basically, I'm hoping for a complete reimagining of the world as opposed to a lifeless retread.

So join me in my optimism and let's hope that they get this one right! This is a great concept that deserves the attention of a new generation of film-goers. Plus, if nothing else, it may just inspire them to revisit the original film. And frankly, I can't think of anything wrong with that. ___________________________________________________________________

Now, my B-story today is the A-story of every entertainment news pundit out there right now. Casting has finally begun in the long gestating yet-untitled Indiana Jones IV. While we were bombarded with news that young Shia LaBeouf (Constantine, the upcoming Transformers) would play Indy's son (which is still unconfirmed and looking like more of false rumor), there was a neat little casting decision being finalized. That of the film's female lead...

Well, it was announced last night that the very talented Cate Blanchett (Babel, Notes From A Scandal, The Aviator - Pictured) would be tackling the role. Now, details on the project are so heavily guarded that there is nothing to really say regarding her role in the film. At this point in time it is unknown whether she'll be playing a friend or foe...

Regardless, Blanchett is a great choice to have aboard. She's a proven A-level talent that will bring a lot to this troubling project. While I have yet to wave the flag of enthusiasm for this one, I'm intrigued none-the-less. I just hope that the final product matches the tone of the previous three. Only time will tell. Stay tuned, more Indy IV casting decisions will likely be coming down the pipeline in the very near future.

Okay folks, that's all for me today. Have a great weekend, and if you have some time go out and rent the original Escape From New York if you haven't seen it. It's worth a visit.

I'll be back sometime next week, hopefully with my best of list. It's a work in progress.


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