I’m really not sure who out there will be excited about this, but apparently Men In Black 3 is getting close to being official. Stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and director Barry Sonnenfeld have all reportedly signed on for the sequel, which will be in 3D (of course) and is due in theaters in May of 2011.
I liked the first Men In Black okay back in the day, but the sequel (often held up as an example of the worst-case example of what happens when you rush a film into production with half a script to beat an impending writers’ strike) is just a sketchy collection of half-baked gags and ideas, and is about as forgettable a big summer blockbuster as Wild Wild West (oops). And don’t even get me started on the use of 3D gimmickry…but Sony needs a big blockbuster in 2011 – that’s when Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 was due out until the studio scrubbed it for a 3D Twilight-flavored reboot the following year – so I guess the studio calculated that it’s easier to park dumptrucks full of money in front of Smith’s, Lee’s and Sonnenfeld’s respective homes and get Men In Black 3: A License to Print Money into theaters for Memorial Day weekend next year.
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Breck Eisner, director of the recent not-quite-a-zombie-movie The Crazies, is reportedly in final talks to helm the remake of John Carpenter’s classic Escape From New York (one of my personal all-time faves). I’m pretty much over being upset about remakes of movies I love – a remake of Escape From New York, no matter how awful, won’t retroactively erase my DVD of Carpenter’s magnificent original – and Hollywood’s been threatening to remake it for years, so it was bound to happen eventually. The only detail that sort of irked me in the report is that the script apparently combines the story from the original Escape From New York – the President is trapped in a walled-off NYC that now serves as a supermax prison and an soldier-turned-outlaw is promised a full pardon to rescue him – with an origin story for Snake Plissken. One of the coolest things about the original Escape is precisely that you don’t really know what Snake did before or who he was exactly, except through small snippets of dialogue from other characters.
Remaking Carpenter has been a thing the past few years – Rob Zombie remade Halloween in 2007 (check out my review here) and they’re shooting bits of the prequel to Carpenter’s The Thing a few blocks from my office here in Toronto this week. But there’s a magic to Carpenter’s movies that none of these remakes can hope to touch (and I’m one of the few who liked Zombie’s Halloween), but that doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed on their own merits. There aren’t many bigger Escape From New York fans out there than me, but I’m trying to keep an open mind. But nobody will ever top Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken for pure cinema badassery.
Stay tuned for more on this project as I hear about it.
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One final item that I find genuinely confusing. Producer Brad Fuller recently Tweeted that the planned sequel to last year’s Friday the 13th remake is “dead – not happening.” I assume there’s a story behind this – studios don’t typically kill sequels to horror remakes that make more than $100 million worldwide (and I can’t believe that a Friday the 13th movie is that expensive to make). The Friday sequel was planned to be in 3D, and it also would have marked the 13th film in the Friday franchise, obviously an important milestone. I can’t wait to find out what happened here.