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Why We Drink: Terry Gilliam Remake Edition

By TK and Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | April 1, 2011 |

By TK and Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | April 1, 2011 |

What I find most remarkable is this: This news comes from Variety, wherein they were announcing that Guy Collins and Michael Ryan were adapting 1980 movie “The Long Good Friday” into a TV series. Then they casually threw this out there:

Collins and Ryan are also pushing ahead with a “Time Bandits” reboot and are in talks with a Hollywood co-producer to redo the Terry Gilliam pic as a bigscreen kids action franchise.

If that isn’t burying the lede, then mother of God, what the hell is?

Because of course, the first thing we think of when we meditate upon a dark fantasy involving time traveling dwarves, the Supreme Being, the incarnation of all evil, and the inevitable flaws in a designed creation is not the tension between free will and fate in a clockwork universe, but upon the story’s potential as an action tent pole for the same kids who won’t get the hell off of our respective lawns. Yes, there are rumors wafting out of the bowl suggesting that Collins and Ryan are having meetings and such in order to reboot Time Bandits into a kids action franchise. You can check them out on IMDB if you’d like to be impressed by just how many mediocre movies you’ve never heard of can be compiled into one list.

But seriously, kids action franchise, that’s not going to lead to any changes to the spirit of the original film. The gut punch ending is steeped in the bottomless nihilism of realizing that not only is the universe run by a dictator, but that he’s a spiteful asshole who might just set up a fantastic Rube Goldberg plan to defeat his enemy that includes murdering your parents as a footnote. Oh, they’ll totally keep that ending, it just sets up a feel good second movie perfectly.

Honestly, despite our bitching for your benefit, we have few sacred cows when it comes to film. I’ve grown so used to the unrelenting rampage of remakes that I can’t tell where the alcohol-induced numbness starts and where the jaded cinematic malaise ends. Sometimes, they are one and the same. Yet despite that, Gilliam is about as close as it gets to untouchable. What’s next? Brazil turned into a romantic comedy? (oh, right. The “Love Conquers All” ending. Never mind) Baron Munchausen turned into breezy animated fare with voice talent by the cast of High School Musical? Twelve Monkeys redone with Cole as an angst-ridden tween? No, no. Fuck it. Let’s just burn the entire “Monty Python” inventory and replace it with sketches produced by the guys who inflicted “Two And A Half Men” upon us.

I realize that Gilliam hasn’t reached quite the level of genius he once had — personally, I think the Don Quixote fiascoes broke him more than a little — but still. Gilliam created a few near-perfect films — Time Bandits is one of them. Of course, there’s no guarantee that this will actually happen. But we can assure you this: if it doesn’t, it’s certainly not because a Hollywood producer said to Collins and Ryan, “My Gods, have you two cranked-up meatsacks no decency at all?”

Terry Gilliam could not be reached for comment, on account of the two of us being drunk, in addition to having no idea how to contact famous people without violating stalking laws.

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TK Burton is the Editorial Director. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.