Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rant #924: Mr. Waverly, I Presume?

Looking at my clock, spring is less than two hours away.

But a famous TV franchise from the 1960s appears to be springing back into action.

Reports are that Tom Cruise is ready to star in a movie version of the old show "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."

Why, oh why, do the movie studios continue to even think of TV-to-movie reboots when most of them have been so awful?

My goodness, the list of misses would take up the rest of this column, but off the top of my head, here are a few not only horrible films that fit into that category, but some of the worst films ever made:

"Car 54, Where Are You?"

"I Spy"

"Get Smart"

"The Beverly Hillbillies"

"Dark Shadows"

"The Honeymooners"

Need I say more?

And Cruise is already a veteran of this genre, as he has starred in a series of "Mission: Impossible" movies that defy description. One was worse than the previous one.

The problem is that producers think that since they have the name in tow, they can simply produce a film.

It isn't that easy, as they have proven time and time again.

Those TV shows were all classics because they had the right casting, the right writers, the right actors, they were done during the right time period, and they understood the limitations of television.

When these films are brought to the big screen, you seemingly have none of those attributes in place. You throw actors into characters that they--and the screenwriters--have no clue about, and you think that since people know who Ralph Kramden is, it will be funny, almost a guilt by association thing.

Well, it isn't, hasn't been, and won't be.

With this new "U.N.C.L.E." film, I doubt things will change.

Back in the mid-1960s, we were not only battling in Asia, we were in the midst of the Cold War, and that is what the original series really played on, Cold War fears.

It picked up from the "James Bond" franchise and ran with it, with almost tongue in cheek adventures with lots of pretty ladies and pretty involved plots.

Plus, the casting was perfect.

Robert Vaughan and David McCallum, along with Leo G. Carroll, fully understood what they were supposed to be doing, and they ran with it.

These two fairly nondescript actors, along with Carroll, a TV veteran from the "Topper" series, became huge stars through the show, but it was well deserved.

Casting Tom Cruise as the lead character in this reboot already spells doom for it. He doesn't fit the role, and what is the storyline going to be about?

There have already been TV reboots of the show. There was a reunion movie several years ago which bombed, and to think that a TV movie will rejuvenate the franchise is, well, something that even T.H.RU.S.H. wouldn't try to pull.

Put this one into the dumpster before it even starts filming.

You can bet that if it actually gets made, it will be another casualty of this TV-to-movie thing.

Star Trek, anyone?

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