Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Not-Really-A-Toy Story

With the release of Michael Bay's Transformers sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and with G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra due out later in the summer, the New York Times has put out this entertainment article that suggests there are a few other [Hasbro Toy Line]: [A Preposterously Self-Serious Subtitle] movies coagulating in the early part of the movie production pipeline:

Hasbro meanwhile is continuing to expand its presence in Hollywood. Last year it announced a deal with Universal in which at least four more of its best-known brands, including board games like Monopoly, Battleship and Candyland, would be turned into movies by industry heavyweights like Ridley Scott and Gore Verbinski.

I'm sure that many of these concepts are just spaghetti to be cooked and thrown at the wall to see what sticks, to use a familiar culinary cliche, and that probably only a small amount of that idea-pasta will be eaten by a major studio and pooped out onto the big screen. Yet I'm intrigued in particular by the sort of cinematic treatment that the Battleship brand would need in order to produce a movie that keeps up a high enough level of seafaring action while remaining recognizably tied to a board game in which two players take turns calling out grid coordinates to each other. I would recommend that such a film feature one or more of the following emotional peaks:

  • The Secretary of the Navy, played by Robert Duvall, stoically sinks his head in a Pentagon command center following a surprise naval attack and darkly intones, "Christ... You Russian bastards sank my battleship."
  • Tough-as-nails submarine captain Matthew McConaughey tries to keep control during a u-boat attack, exclaiming, "What row and column did they call out? I don't know those letter and number words! Everything's in German!"
  • Matthew Fox, a promising but hotheaded XO who takes command of a destroyer after his superior officer is killed in a torpedo attack, accidentally spills most of the red pegs down the seat belt hole in the back of his parents' Dodge Caravan.

I'd also be interested in seeing some level of evangelical Christian backlash if they do manage to put together a movie based on the Ouija board, since if I'm remembering my Teen Study Bible correctly that's right up there with Dungeons & Dragons among Satan's most successful incursions into the youth board game market.

Other than that, I would like to say that "an unnamed, unreleased Mattel toy monster that is being groomed for its own musical at Universal" has become my favorite noun phrase of the year, supplanting "debut suspense novel from a 14-year NFL place kicker and his Colorado pastor".


Blogger Jack said...

Me, I'm just hoping they finally come through with a sequel to Clue while Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd are still at the top of their game.

6/24/2009 10:12 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

I just happened to randomly be at the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space museum last year when they were filming Transformers 2 there. Normally I would be super excited about possibly appearing in the background of a shot in a movie for half a second, but not in this case. >:(

6/24/2009 11:40 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

And on a possibly related note, apparently the Spongebob Squarepants guy is a racist.

6/24/2009 11:44 PM  
Blogger nate said...

I wouldn't want to be an extra in a Transformers movie unless I could be fired out of Soundwave's chest cavity in cassette form.

As far as Tom Kenny, the SpongeBob guy, I'll cut him some slack for two reasons:

1. This old Billy West (e.g. Stimpy, Fry on Futurama) interview in the Onion A.V.Club, which made me think that voice actors are the hardest-working people in moviedom. If Michael Bay asked Kenny to do a Jar Jar Binks impression for his paycheck, I'm willing to accept a Nuremberg defense;

2. The fact that Tom Kenny used to be a regular on Mr. Show. Specifically, he played the professor in the "Altered State of Druggachusettes" sketch. Lifetime pass!

6/25/2009 2:23 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

I will also forgive Tom Kenny many many things because of his work with Mr. Show. But the "they're just robots" excuse is just as flimsy as the "they're just aliens" excuse for all the racism in that first Star Wars prequel.

6/25/2009 3:02 PM  
Blogger nate said...

Yeah, I'm feeling a need to extend and more seriously restate the previous comment. I like Tom Kenny as an actor (or more accurately as a Mr. Show cast member) which makes me want to not beat him up for performing a racist caricature. But the Jar Jar type stuff is obnoxious and indefensible. "It can't be racist because it's robots" isn't true and it doesn't work any better than the other bullshit excuses tried out by the director in that article, including "it can't be racist because it's for kids," "you're reading too much into it", and "it wasn't me anyway, it was the voice actors".

6/25/2009 5:57 PM  

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