1984 Rebooted as Romance, and No, I’m Not Kidding

George Orwell‘s dystopian tale of the ultimate in Big Government, 1984, is apparently receiving a reboot.  Currently called Equals, this movie is set to star Nicholas Hoult (a/k/a Marcus from About A Boy, a/k/a Jennifer Lawrence’s main squeeze) as Winston Smith and the perpetually grim Kristen Stewart as Julia.

And it will be a romance.

A ROMANCE.

“I’m terrified of it,” says Kristen Stewart and I’ve gotta say, K-Stew…that makes two of us.  Because here’s the thing:

NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.   ///big gulp of air/// NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.

I mean…yes, there is sex in the book between Winston and Julia, and it’s a pivotal part of the plot, for sure.  But even in my most jaded times, I’ve never confused dingy, bleak, anti-Big-Brother-fueled hate-fucks, that lead to the ultimate in betrayals, as “romance”.  Sure, maybe they have moments of feeling tender toward one another, but when Big Brother finally catches on to their trysting, they both start checking bus schedules to figure out which one they’re throwing the other under.

I imagine it’s going to be like this:

julia cat 1

winston cat 1

winston cat 3

julia cat 3

julia cat 2

winston cat 2

*sigh*

See, the thing is, there are plenty of dystopian novels that focus on unlikely romances to work with, and that’s fine, I’m not saying it can’t or wouldn’t ever happen, and I don’t object to it as a storyline.  But the authors of these other works didn’t call them: 1984 2.0 or 1984: Reckoning or Winston (hearts) Julia: A Tale of Light in the Darkness.  No.  Because that’s not Winston and Julia’s story.  These other authors created their own stories.  They didn’t co-opt someone else’s under the guise of a “reboot”.  Because that?  Is cheating.

So I, of course, expect it to be dreadful, and I admit I’m clearly already prejudiced against it.  Though I will say this: I’m tickled by the idea of legions of Twilight fans downloading 1984 into their Kindles so they can get ready for K-Stew’s new movie.  Because in the real 1984, there’s not one sparkle to be found.

Bonus! A game of #romantic1984 started on Twitter once this was announced.  Thus far, here is my favorite Tweet.

https://twitter.com/lavietidhar/status/423393806885867520

And that, friends, is the problem with the romance of 1984, in a nutshell.

I can’t wait for the musical.

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Remake This! Legend (1985)

There are no new ideas.  Or at least that’s how it seems, considering Hollywood’s penchant for remaking every movie ever made.  But before we have to endure the 83rd version of The Amazing Spider-man (no offense, Andrew Garfield) or a shoot-’em-up Casablanca 2012: Mayan Apocalypse, I would like to suggest that Hollywood look into their Great Big Book of Fail and remake something that could benefit from a re-imagining, or two.

No.

Disclaimer: management takes no responsibility toward factual or mythological accuracy.

Legend is just such a movie.  A recent bout of insomnia found me flipping channels at some obscene hour of the morning and quite frankly, I’d almost forgotten about this festering turd of a film.  Almost.  To sum up:  Legend is a 1985 action-fantasy film directed by Ridley Scott, who is normally a very good director but has his moments of utter failure.  Hannibal comes to mind.  Recent movie-goers, think Prometheus.  Tom Cruise–who I couldn’t stand before not being able to stand him was cool–plays Jack, a noble-hearted child of the forest, who speaks to the animals and runs about wearing an ersatz-leaf tunic and way too much body glitter.

Did you think I was kidding about the glitter?
Photo taken from myspace.com; click to go to the page.

Mia Sara plays Lili, Jack’s love interest, a virginal princess whose purity almost brings about the undoing of the world.  How?  It’s because she is so supremely untainted that the unicorns (unicorns??!?) stop and allow her to pet them, which in turns allows the goblin Blix to shoot one with a poison arrow, steal its horn, and take it back to the underworld and the Lord of Darkness, who ultimately wants to turn the world to an eternal frozen night.

Three things.

1) Unicorns?  Really?  Reallllllly?  Oh, Ridley Scott, you put those things back on the walls of every white 9-year-old girl in America right this instant!  Unless those unicorns are secretly replicants, I can’t figure out what in the hell you’re doing with them.

2) Can we talk for just a second about the alarming, demented, unbelievably unfair gender messaging surrounding Lili?  She’s virtuous, and by her virtue nearly ushered in the end of the world.  If she and Jack had just bumped uglies once she wouldn’t have been so attractive to the unicorns and wouldn’t have unwittingly played into evil’s hands, but then she would have been slutty and bad by default.  In this movie, a woman can’t win for losing.

3) This Blix:

Photo from alvarezwax.com

Admittedly, a pretty good goblin.

Not this Blix:

Just for clarification.

Anyway.

What else?  The script was wooden and the story was hokey and contrived, alternately trying to be a serious adventure saga amidst doubling back on itself to insert poorly-developed moments of “comic relief”.  It felt like bumbling dwarves and weird gravelly-voiced elves wandered in from the set of Labyrinth and did what they could until they found their way back to their original roles.  The characters, for the most part, are unidimensional and completely uninteresting.  Regarding Tom Cruise, his character is both uninteresting AND miscast.  So why on earth would I want to see more of it?

Because Tim Curry, as the Lord of Darkness, is fantastic.

He is also, sadly, on the screen the least of all the principle actors.  Or maybe I was just aching for him to be on screen again and do something with this stinkbomb of a movie, but it seems like even though he is the main antagonist, he is hardly present until the end.  I understand those ginormous horns had to be tough to hold up but still, it is a shame; even the un-fluid and deadly-flat script sounded lyrical in Tim Curry’s capable hands.

So here’s how I would propose to remake Legend.  First, get Tim Curry to agree to reprise his role as Darkness because without him, this movie has NO. THING.  Going for it.  Second, jettison any and all references to Jack, Lili, Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, or bumbling and ineffective dwarves.  You can keep Blix because really, he did look pretty cool.  Third, assemble a screenwriting team of William Monahan, who wrote The Departed, among other things, and David Benioff and D. B. Weiss from Game of Thrones.  Mesh these talents together and reinvent Legend as one ass-kicking biopic.

That’s right.  A biopic, that explores Darkness’s rebellious nature (helloooo?  He’s got to have one) which culminates in his accepting the mantle of Darkness.  Maybe he tries to be a hippie and weaves garlands of flowers for his hair.  Maybe he tries to go straight and opens his own butcher shop, but can’t stop killing his customers.  Or, include Lili in a revamped “he’s taken her to his dark domain” storyline, and have Darkness finally learn to trust, only to be betrayed by the woman he loves because why not?  She won’t look any worse off than she does in the original movie.  The point is, he’s a great character and whatever someone comes up with is bound to be a thousand times better than the original miasmic bubo of a film.

Hollywood, I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, please enjoy some Tim Curry.

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