July 22, 2010

Don't Do It del Torro

Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro is a very creative and visually interesting story teller, and when he recently dropped out of The Hobbit due to the ongoing issues with MGM's stalled sale, I was intrigued about what his next project would be.   del Toro always makes dark films filled with fantasy and horror elements and The Hobbit seemed like too "safe" a choice for a visionary director like him.  Turns out, it wasn't safe enough.  del Toro is now in talks to make a feature film adaptation of the Disney attraction Haunted Mansion.   This is really depressing news.  In the last few years, as news about projects based on shitty TV shows, board games, action figures and other pop culture road kill, it was generally just funny because the directors linked to this projects were usually lower-tier guys that had little choice but to take on these gigs.  But then you start hearing Ridley Scott is attached to a 'Monopoly' movie and Taylor Lautner has just signed a mega-million deal to star as Stretch Armstrong - yes, the rubbery action figure from Kenner that had no personality, no backstory and no reason to have a film based on him - and you start to realize that the entire industry is diseased.

It's bad enough that Hollywood is being run by marketing executives instead of creative producers, but it's just plain sad that real filmmakers are getting on board with this idiotic movement.   Why on earth would a director like Guillermo del Toro - the man behind the fantastic and endlessly creative Pan's Labyrinth make a fucking movie based on a Walt Disney ride?   Why would he agree to do something this pedestrian?  It can't be just the pay cheque.  He's getting that cheque no matter what his next project was.  Is he being given a stake in the attraction itself?   This is so lame.  Disney has already tried to cash in on this property once before, with the super lame 2003 Eddie Murphy vehicle.  That version, which was a bloated $90 million rated PG affair with a script that could have doubled as a Scooby Doo episode about a family spending the night in an old mansion only to discover that they have a link to its haunted past tanked hard at the box-office.   del Toro will not be making a Scooby Doo version, to be sure, and instead should be making a dark, disturbing haunted house story, which will likely have little or nothing do with a Walt Disney attraction, which begs the question, why slap the name of a Disney ride on the movie and instead just produce a del Toro haunted house movie?   Oh, right, so they can milk as much money out of this and cross promote as much as possible.

Really, really lame.

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