Speed Racer goes all modern on the big screen

Here ya go!)

So when I heard that they were making a Speed Racer movie, I was unmoved. Oh, look; another movie based on a retro cartoon. How novel.

And then we saw a trailer for the upcoming film. And my interest was… interested, a bit. And then I read that the movie will be shown in IMAX, and I became a bit more interested.

Yesterday, I came across two new trailers for the movie, and I watched them. And then I watched them again. You know, I’m not usually someone who gets all excited about special effects, but… well, take a look for yourself.

Tell me you watched that and don’t want to go see that movie in all of its IMAX, CGI glory. Go on. Try to tell me that with a straight face.

Go, Speed Racer, go indeed.

A sneak peek of the Wild Things?

I feel about the impending movie. Trepidation doesn’t really even begin to cover it. After watching that clip? I think I upgraded to actual dread.

So I clicked around to read some more about it. Ain’t It Cool News suggests that the clip is indeed real, but should be considered unlikely to appear in the final product:

Now, I’ve seen this film. Or rather, I saw a version of it. And I can tell you that there’s a reason this film isn’t coming out in 2008 anymore. There’s a lot of work left to do on it, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about some fairly massive reshoots in the months ahead.

So… ummmm… that and a buck will get you a cup of coffee. And a nightmare or two (more) about the movie….

[Hat tip: Pop Candy]

Ode to a muppeteer

Get ready to pay homage to Jim Henson on the big screen, because his story is coming soon:

Empire Film Group, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: EFGU) (“Empire Film”) (http://www.empirefilmgroup.com) has acquired the motion picture production and distribution rights to “Henson,” an original screenplay by Robert D. Slane that chronicles the life and achievements of Muppets creator, Jim Henson. Empire has pegged the film for production in late summer with a $30 million budget to be funded through a consortium of international presales and co-production partners.

“This is a major project about an entertainer of legendary stature and worldwide acclaim,” said Dean Hamilton-Bornstein, CEO of Empire Film Group. “The script is superb and should provide a terrific roadmap for a completed film that will satisfy both mainstream audiences and critics. We’re very excited about this acquisition and the commercial caliber of this project.”

“Henson” covers the life of puppeteer, filmmaker and entertainment mogul Jim Henson, from his early fascination with television as a teenager, through his spectacular career and life achievements. Empire anticipates hiring a major director, such as Penny Marshall, and hopes to attract notable star cast in key roles. Bornstein will act as Executive Producer, with Empire Home Entertainment President Eric Parkinson producing the film along with Xavier Mitchell.

“Jim Henson is one of the best known and most beloved entertainers of all time,” said Parkinson. “His story is inspiring, tragic, heartwarming and epic, and will make for an important and entertaining motion picture. This is the sort of movie that Empire will be pursuing as we build the company into a leading independent studio.”

On the one hand, I’m thrilled, because Jim Henson is one of my idols. If you don’t love the man who brought us Sesame Street—not to mention Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog—you are dead to me. On the other hand, “his story is inspiring, tragic, heartwarming and epic?” That… sort of sounds like a soap opera. That sounds less like the backstory on the muppets and more like Gone With the Wind.

I sort of think Henson would’ve appreciated a biopic with a hearty dose of comedy, but I guess I could be wrong. (Really, I think Henson would’ve appreciated an all-muppet cast, too, but I don’t see that happening.) (It’s possible there’s a reason I wasn’t hired to produce this thing.)

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

At 50, Smurfs are getting’ Girl Power

So, I already knew that plans for new Smurf movies were in the works, of course. That’s not a surprise. Though I suppose I may still be recovering from the news, a teeny bit. What I didn’t know was that—along with a resurgence of popularity and plans for their movie debut—the Smurfs will finally be getting some girls.

That’s right. For 50 years, Smurfette has been the only… well… smurfette in town. (How exactly did that… oh, nevermind.) But not any more!

Envisaged as secondary characters for a single cartoon album, the blue gnomes widely known as the Smurfs will celebrate their 50th anniversary this year with a movie deal and an invasion of new female characters.


“There have been dramatic changes in socio-cultural values in the past 20 to 25 years,” Hendrik Coysman, head of Smurf rights holder IMPS told a news conference on Monday. “One of these is girl empowerment.”

“So, there will be a greater female presence in the Smurf village and this will, of course, be a basis for new stories and this will probably turn upside down certain traditional situations within the village.”

I find this fascinating, actually. I mean, why now? After 50 years? Isn’t that part of what makes them… smurfy? How are they going to explain this sudden influx of womenfolk? Or will they just pretend that all those women had been there all along?

So many questions, and yet, so little real interest. I mean, these are smurfs were talking about. And this is the most thought I’ve given them since I was young enough to still be scared of Gargamel. Which is a little scary.

The best toys go in the “box of glory”

I just love the stuff they come up with over at RetroCrush, because—even though it makes me feel old, to read over there and laugh my butt off at the memories—I just mind being old less when I’m laughing about it. And there’s some very funny stuff over there.

So yesterday when I saw the RetroCrush Box of Glory Inaugural Inductees title, I was eager to read on, even though I wasn’t sure what I would find. But it turns out to just be a great compilation of greatest childhood toys (phew!) along with some hilarious commentary.

At first glance I thought the list contained all of the usual suspects—the Etch-a-Sketch, the Slinky, cap guns, Barbies, Legos, the Magic 8 Ball… it’s a long list, and most of the entries caused me to nod along in agreement. Some of them reminded me of things I hadn’t thought of in years; for example, I used to own the cloth Holly Hobby doll they show. (I wonder what happened to her.)

The list’s author, Robert Berry, claims at the end that you can write in with anything he’s missed, though it’s not clear whether he’ll add them to the list. And this, of course, got me thinking about what I, personally, would’ve added that I didn’t see there. (Several of the toys he did list either predate my childhood or I was just raised in a bubble. That milking cow looked like something I would’ve begged for as a kid, so I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen it before.)

Berry’s list tops over 60 entries; nevertheless, I submit that he overlooked the following:

  • Barbie Fashion Head. These come in about a million varieties, nowadays, and I’ve even seen one with hands (which, frankly, frighten me) so that you can do their nails. But back in my day, there was but one Barbie Fashion Head. You could do her hair and make-up. And then when you got a little older, you and your brother could give her a mohawk.
  • Jacks. Dude. You include jump ropes and the lemon twist but leave out jacks? Clearly you were never a girl at summer camp on a rainy day. Which I suppose is a good thing, seeing as how you’re a guy. Still. Jacks! They’re a classic.
  • Sea monkeys. No room in the box of glory for brine shrimp? C’mon. Every kid I know had a coming-of-age moment when they realized that those little buggers did not, in fact, wear little pink crowns the way the ad in the back of the comic books always depicted them. It’s a sad right of passage, that.
  • Walkie-talkies. I have a set of two-way radios that my kids sometimes play with, but they get bored with them easily… possibly because they work. The set that I grew up with sometimes worked, and sometimes just made a lot of static. That was part of the challenge. It made our Secret Agent games more exciting.
  • Topps baseball cards. I didn’t even like baseball, and I collected these along with everyone else. Because that’s just what you did.
  • Merlin. Yeah, I know he’s got Simon on there. Merlin was different, and equally (or more) popular. I always wanted a Merlin. I never got one, and had to keep using the one my best friend (who got everything she ever wanted) had. I’m still bitter.

What would go into your toy box of glory?