Friday, May 28, 2010

Jack Bauer on the Silver Screen

So 24 is no more. Or, to be precise, the TV series called 24 is no more. After eight seasons of fighting foreign terrorists, weasley bureaucrats, and evil politicians, CTU agent Jack Bauer's run has ended.

When we last saw Jack, he had avenged the brutal killing of his girlfriend and, in so doing, brought down the presidency. In the final scene, he was given a head-start to flee the country.

Yes, the show is over, but, the word from 24's producers (including Kiefer Sutherland) is that the franchise will make the leap to the movie screen. Jack will be somewhere in Europe, fighting terrorists and saving the day.

Sounds good...but will it work?

There have been many attempts to translate a beloved TV show to the Big Screen, almost always a failure. Look at the miserable turd they made from the excellent landmark 1960's TV series I Spy starring Bill Cosby and the late great Robert Culp.

So here's the question: Can it be done? Can a great TV series like 24 be successfully translated to the Big Screen?

In the case of 24, I think they have a chance to succeed, especially with the success of the movie Taken, and the vacuum left by the Bourne series. Audiences clearly want to see a lone man with skills take on the bad guys.

Can a show as unique as 24 survive the move from the TV set to the theatrical film level? Due to its "real-time" concept of a day-in-the-life of Jack Bauer, 24 pulsed with an energy that made its rabid fans return week after week. I wonder how that is going to work in a two-hour format?

Whatever they hatch, one thing Keifer and Company can count on is that its loyal fans, which includes me, will be lining up to buy a ticket.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 28, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Part 2

OK I saw the film last night. And I am torn about it. While I really enjoyed much of it --and I thought that Noomi Rapace is a breakout star in the part of Lisbeth Salander-- I thought that the screenplay left out way too much of the book.

So, on balance, I'll give the film a B+ and add the suggestion that a book as rich as this one needs a longer running time (or more than one movie) to do it justice.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Who Needs It?

I guess I'm getting cranky as I get old. But the other day, when I read that there are two remakes of The Three Musketeers in the works, I found myself barking, "Who needs this?" I feel the same way about the new Robin Hood film. Who needs another Robin Hood movie?

Maybe the risk-averse bean counters need endless remakes of tried-and-true formulas. But not me. Give me originality any day. For example, Splice. I can't wait to see it.

At the risk of muddying my own waters, I'm not against classics like the Musketeers or Robin Hood. What I want, however, is an original spin.

For example, put the Three Musketeers into a contemporary urban setting. The makers of the HBO series The Wire did an interesting update on Robin Hood with the character of Omar Little (played so memorably by Michael K. Williams).

Come on, Hollywood. let's get creative and take some chances.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

I just finished reading the book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by the late Steig Larsson. It's a cliche to say that I could not put the book down, but guess what? I could hardly put it down, and when I had to, I could not get it out of my mind. That, to me, is the hallmark of a great book. One that creates believable and palpable characters and relationships, and a world so fully realized that you enter it and enjoy the stay.

"The Girl" is Lisbeth Salander, a fascinating character, an angry anti-social hacker somewhat similar to Chloe O'Brien from TV's 24, but way more socially estranged than Chloe ever was. But like Chloe who is loyally attached to Jack Bauer, Salander gradually becomes attached to her investigative counterpart Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist. Together they find themselves researching a decades-old disappearance that might be a murder, uncovering some old sins (such as Nazism) and some hidden ones (such as abuse of women) along the way.

I've read that the next two books in the trilogy continue to develop the story. And I look forward to reading both books.

No, I have not yet seen the movie version that came out last year from Sweden. (That is actress Noomi Rapace as Salander, in the photo.) But I hope to catch it soon.

I've read that an English-language remake is being planned and a search is on for the actress to play Lisbeth Salander. Names such as Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Kristen Stewart, and Scarlett Johansson are being mentioned. Who would I cast?

I think I would go with an unknown. An actress like Sarah Clarke, the one from the first season of 24 who played Jack Bauer's nemesis Nina Myers. Someone with that lean and scary look.

How about Noomi Rapace?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Iron Man 2

Can a movie give you a headache?

I walked out of Iron Man 2 with a splitting headache.

There's an interesting story buried in the noise of Iron Man 2, about three men, one good, one ugly, and one bad: a rapidly deteriorating Tony Stark (an excellent Robert Downey Jr) haunted by his dead father; brilliant badguy Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke in tattoos and wild hair) out to avenge his dead father; and slimey competitor Justin Hammer (well played by Sam Rockwell).

But the story gets lost in the noise. There is a lot of action in this sequel. Probably too much action. It drowns out the characters and the relationships.

Did the movie give me the headache? Maybe it was the Diet Coke and Raisinets?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 11, 2010