Those of you who live in mortal fear that an original idea might actually get produced in Hollywood these days, I have good news for you.
I'll say this much for the idea: Tim Burton's version of a circus is probably something I should see once in my life. Other than that, though, I'm not sure about the idea of a live-action “Dumbo.” I get it as a business decision, because Disney has realized that there is big money to be made from doing live-action versions of its classic animated films. I suspect “Cinderella” is going to make a small mountain of money for the studio, and I'll confess that I am personally very curious about what director Jon Favreau is up to with “The Jungle Book.”
At least with “Maleficent,” they took a different approach to the same story, and that perspective was used to change the way you feel about the characters. The granddaddy of all of this, though, was Burton's “Alice In Wonderland,” which also turned the original story into something else. I wasn't a fan of Burton's “Alice,” which took that strange and playful Lewis Carrol universe and turned it into yet another riff on the “chosen one” myth. Now it looks like they're leaning into more traditional retellings of the stories. Favreau's “Jungle Book,” for example, hews close enough to the original story that they are actually using some of the songs the Sherman Brothers wrote for the original. And while “Cinderella” does play a few riffs on the original story, it's still got the same structure and the same basic spine.
Ehren Kruger's script is done, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, who broke the Burton story today, the film will use both CGI and live-action elements, and it introduces a “unique family story that parallels Dumbo's journey.”
Before that can happen, though, Burton's got to wrap up post-production on “Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children,” which I'm hoping is a good fit for him as a director. He's working from a Jane Goldman script on that one, which is a good sign. Honestly, I feel like I've given Burton a good deal of static over the last few years, but I wouldn't bother if I didn't think Burton still has great films to offer us. I thought “Big Eyes” was a lovely, delicate thing, and in Burton's case, he has to start from great writing if he's going to make something that really works.
As much as I want to hear Bill Murray perform his take on 'Bare Necessities,” I think I need to see what Tim Burton does with “Pink Elephants On Parade.” That alone might be worth my ten bucks.
“Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children” is in theaters April 2016.