It’s come to this?
Look, I can accept that the wholesale strip-mining of the Looney Tunes characters is an inevitable thing. They are owned by Warner Bros., a gigantic corporation with stockholders to appease and profits to earn, and these characters are part of an enduring legacy created by dozens and dozens of hard-working artists and filmmakers over the years. They can be exploited and re-exploited forever, and will be. I get that.
When I was in Toronto for the film festival this year, I spent a good deal of time in line for the various press screenings, usually in the lobby of the Scotiabank Theater. It’s one of these hyper-modern lobbies with eight different concession booths and video games and monitors everywhere and neon purple accents and color and sound and light and it is a damn nightmare if you’re trapped in it for longer than fifteen miinutes.
One of the particular forms of torture that the lobby is designed to visit upon you with the focused sadism of a trap in a “Saw” movie is that they only showed two trailers the entire time we were there, on a loop. Over. And over. And over. And over. Two trailers. I don’t care if those trailers are for “Lawrence Of Arabia” and “Brazil,” if you watch them hundreds of times in the course of a week, you will learn to cringe as if from physical blows each time each beat of those trailers plays out. And what were they? “You Again,” which I will never ever see, and which appears to be about six minutes long, detailing each beat of the film. And the other?
“Yogi Bear,” god help me.
And you’ve seen the “Yogi Bear” poster, right? The single filthiest movie poster ever produced, featuring a joke so x-rated I can’t even explain it? Forget about all those times you heard people try to show you the hidden subliminal porn imagery in movie posters… we’re not talking about some imagined penis on some castle on a “Little Mermaid” one-sheet. I’m talking about a right-down-the-middle dirty joke.
Do I lie?
So how, then, are we to take the news today that this same studio is planning to make and then eventually release to theaters where real-life people will be able to see it, another CGI/live-action hybrid film, this time starring Mike Myers as Pepe Le Pew?
Just recently, Toshi and I went to the AMPAS theater for an evening of short films by Chuck Jones, and they showed every single Oscar-winning thing he did, including “For Scent-imental Reasons,” which won Best Animated Short in 1949. It’s a great cartoon.
It’s also basically a horror film.
I’m not sure what anyone involved has planned, but Pepe Le Pew isn’t romantic, and he’s not terribly ha ha funny. He’s a hyper-amorous skunk who is absolutely, 100% no arguments going to romance that kitty cat. And I’m being polite here. His slow, confident pursuit of his target is more akin to the cinematic language of the way they shoot Jason Voorhees pursuing his victims than any conventionally romantic character. If they’re going to be true to the character, what are we looking at? Some weird “Alvin and the Chipmunks” thing where Pepe Le Pew spends the film trying to rape the housecat of the main human characters, all of it played for laughs?
I would invite you to look at that “Yogi Bear” poster again.
Imagine what lies in store for us.
“Pepe Le Pew” is coming. And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
Ooooh… maybe that can be Warner’s tagline. I’ll throw in the lame double entendre for free.
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