Every couple nanoseconds or so, some studio somewhere decides it’s a “brilliant idea” to produce some new version of some old kids thing, because “the nineties were great!” and “no one has ideas anymore.” While this formula produces mixed commercial results, it meets uniformly poor artistic ones. We saw this most recently with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we’re about to witness it with Full House, and I’m about to experience it in ten minutes, at a nineties dance party where I guarantee you – everyone will be screaming for Weezer (Give. Sinead. A Chance).
Now, Variety reports, Warner Brothers has hired Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz of X-Men First Class to work on/save Acme, the latest Looney Tunes feature film/spinoff. Although it’s unclear whether the film will be a blend of live action and animation, one thing is for sure: this is an awful idea. Remember Space Jam? I do. I was thirteen at the time it came out, and even though I wore Adidas tracksuits to funerals – I still had better taste than to rent that. Remember 2003’s Looney Tunes: Back in Action? I don’t. Neither does most of America. It bombed. (Feel free to contest me on either, you’re potentially right, but I refuse to think about a movie featuring Michael Jordan and a talking bunny for more than: five total seconds).
The reason why movies like Space Jam fail (artistically speaking) is that directors think that “real people + animated characters” provide enough charm to excuse any inconsistencies in plot, character, vision. The idea is to appeal to multiple demographics: today’s adult youth and actual youth, both nerds seeking a nostalgia kick. Chuck Jones’ original Looney Tunes was popular and respected for very good reasons – because he introduced vaudeville comedy, because he spent time on character development, because he empathized. With a duck.
To Warner Brothers’ credit, it appears they’ve hired the right team of writers, and the right team of actors (Steve Carell is the latest addition), to this otherwise lackluster concept. Dan Lin of The Lego Movie is set to produce, and I am set to show up, probably the first night.
[Editor’s Note: It’s okay, you guys, I already told Danger what she said about Space Jam a few hours ago and I think he’s starting to calm down. He’s covered in warm towels and I made him some cocoa while he watches old Saved By The Bell DVDs.]