The Remakier Tween

I have a few new pieces of news on the Anton Yelchin front. (We’ll call it the Eastern Front because technically I’m German, Anton’s Russian, and I just read a 500 page book about the siege of Leningrad in World War II not too long ago, and as my previous post points out, books affect me profoundly.)

(I also feel the need to make sequel names into comparative and superlative adjectives. For example: Iron Man, the Sequel, becomes Ironier Old Coot. Evil Dead II becomes Eviler Deader. Boondock Saints II becomes Boondockier Gods. This also goes for trilogies, so that Spiderman III becomes Dead-Thing-On-the-Wall-That-I-Squished-a-Year-Ago-But-Forgot-to-Clean-Up-Carcass. So my way doesn’t also work out, but it makes for an entertaining conversation starter. You know, the one you make with the cop after he pulls you over for speeding after trying to talk to Kate Beckinsale about Digging-to-China-World and then you have to run from her bodyguards.)

This is a good news/bad news situation. I’ll start with the good news first, because the bad news is far, far worser than anything I’ve come into contact with all week, and that includes snobby Tom-Cruise-sized frat boys who yell at me because their cappuccinos are too foamy.

The good news is that Mr. Yelchin is set to star in a production of The Winter Queen. What’s that, you ask, because you’re waiting with baited breath to see what I compare you to next? Only Harry Potter….for Russians. Well, sort of. I mean, there isn’t magic, and granted Harry Potter is more of a world-wide phenomenon than country-specific, but regardless of my horrible analogy, it’s an adaptation of the first of the Erast Fandorin mysteries by the writer Boris Akunin. Fandorin is a fictional 19th century Russian detective who solves crimes, like Columbo, but 100 years ago and more Slavic. These books are wildly popular in Russia and I am excited to see Mr. Yelchin in something that’s rather original, if not entirely out of the perilous zone of “Remake.” I also really like Akunin’s other body of work about Sister Pelegia, a crime-solving nun, who’s kind of like Jessica Fletcher, only 100 years ago, more Slavic, and you know, married to God instead of to a, uh, typewriter.

The bad news is that he’s also set to be the voice of Clumsy Smurf in the live-action/CG adaptation of the 80s cartoon. I just…it’s 10:30, I’ve had maybe four hours of sleep, had a tumultuous dream that underscores my all-too-familiar sense of underachievement and lackadaisical momentum in my life at this moment, I had to drive through tons of traffic for my sister and may have to do so later in the afternoon, so I just can’t process this.

Whatever good non-remake-y karma Mr. Yelchin might have picked up from The Winter Queen has been erased for good from this announcement. This had gone beyond the caption of remake and has passed into the no-man’s-land of anthropomorphic cats rendered in CG that suck the life out of everyone around them, creating uncanny valley zombies.

What? Milla Jovovovovovich is starring in The Winter Queen too? Well, cut off my hand, reveal my bastard-state after having an asthma attack and call me Luke. Okay. You’re even this time, Yelchin. But that doesn’t mean that you can go starring in any more adaptations of cartoons unless we’re talking about Gargoyles or something. And even then, only if Guillermo del Toro directs.

As for the remake of Fright Night, Colin Farrell has been cast as Jerry Dandrige, in a role previously filled by Chris Sarandon, better known as the voice to Jack Skellington. I know, when I found out I almost force-choked my television.

Anton Yelchin, the Remake Kid

I watch a lot of movies. In fact, one could possibly say that most of my personality quirks, reasons to rant breathlessly, and ways of telling time come from my constant movie and TV watching. For example, when I wake up, it usually takes about five minutes for me to figure out where I am, who I am, and just what the hell Kiefer Sutherland is doing in my room. (The answers are: somewhere crumpled up in my sheets in what I call The Coffin [my room’s in the basement], MK Sauer, and that’s-not-Kiefer-Sutherland-that’s-David, staring at me from my giant Lost Boys poster. Though any of these are liable to change because it’s a professional hazard of mine.) In that time, what I call the tabula rasa — sometimes I wake up and say, “Did I fall asleep?” — I calculate what day it is by doing this, approximately: “Well, I watched The Vampire Diaries yesterday, and Iron Man II is supposed to come out a week after two days ago, so it must be Monday!” This is not an exaggeration, like most of the crap (I mean, craft) I put up here.

Recently, and I’m not the first to blog about this, and nor will I be the most succinct, coherent, or even really on-point the last, there has been a big push in Hollywood for two things. The first is 3D, which could be a separate post in and of itself, but I’ll just link you to Ebert’s rant about it, because, let’s face it, he does a better job. The second, and this one has been long coming, is the recycled nature of everything that comes out of Tinseltown.

Let’s just take a look at some of the awesomeness coming out this summer, which is, admittedly, the ‘worst’ time to be looking for original content, but, whatever. We got:

Iron Man II — sequel and based on a comic book.

Prince of Persia — based on video game (at least it’s not Uwe Boll), and rather much like Pirates in the Middle East, and with someone who’s a lot less competent at doing British accents. (At least we’re not in Rome, in which you HAVE to have a British accent, for whatever reason. Yeah, I mean you, Gladiator. Or even a villain in an otherwise American-voiced cast. Watch where you step, Legend of the Seeker.)

The Last Airbender — based on a television series.

Robin Hood — based on, well, lots of stuff. (At least here British accents will make sense, but it’s really just Gladiator dressed up in green tights. What? There aren’t any green tights? Get lost.)

MacGruber — a spoof of MacGyver, which is my favorite show staring a mullet.

Let Me In — a remake of the vastly superior Let the Right One In. Don’t even get me started on this one.

The A-Team — based on a ….wait… what? WHY?! I don’t….I just….DAMN YOU MICHAEL BAY AND YOUR TRANSFORMERS MAKING LOTS OF MONEY SO THAT PEOPLE CAN PILLAGE THE 80S LIKE COLDPLAY PILLAGES MY SOUL.

The list goes on and on. And while there are many who are to blame for this, never has there been a nice, neat little package as Anton Yelchin. Now, if I were proficient in photoshop, or even really owned photoshop and/or used MS Paint for more than just drawing happy-faced vampires, I would have his face looming out of an Old West Style poster where he’s in a cowboy hat and wearing that cool jacket that Ben Foster’s character in 3:10 to Yuma does, but alas, you’ll just have to use your IMAGINATIONS. I call him THE REMAKE KID.

Who? You might be asking, because you’re an owl. He played Chekhov in the new Star Trek, Kyle Reese in the latest Terminator movie, and is set to be Charlie Brewster in the remake of Fright Night. (What? You might be asking because you’re, uh, a mentally deficient owl. It’s only one of the best vampire movies of the 80s and one of the reasons why I’m obsessed with vampires.) He has based his entire career on starring in unoriginal, re-used and abused material. He’s an up-and-coming star and could just be awesome, but imdb him and it’s a wasteland of bad TV shows and Hollywood’s desperate plea. I think it goes a little something like,”Shiiiiiiz. We ran out of ideas and all of our writers are boozehounds because they’ve sold their souls and we need money because BluRay and HD TVs are edging us out. Uh, uh, uh, quickly! To the 80s, Batman!” What’s going to happen 30 years from now and they’re recycling stories from now and all they have are remakes and sequels? Will it be a never ending cycle until there are 15 remakes of Jaws (seven in 3D and smell-o-vision) and thirty sequels to Star Wars? Plato is rolling in his grave somewhere.

Dear Hollywood: Please stop. There’s only so much eyeball bleach I can buy. Love, MK Sauer.

I still am going to see most of the movies on this list, however, and I even still really like Mr. Yelchin though, which is why this cycle is perpetual. I’m sorry! He’s Russian and, uh, his first name is Anton. Which is Russian for, uh, sexy.