It gets worse too. The deal currently being brokered will put Robert Zemeckis, in partnership with Disney, on the project. Now I’ve got no problem with Zemeckis in theory. “Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” “Romancing the Stone,” “Forrest Gump”… the guy definitely had a hand in shaping my love of film. He’s all about the performance capture these days however, and I just don’t know if my frail mind can take the sight of Blue Meanies as photorealistic CG characters.
To be fair, Variety’s write-up of the news is very clear in pinning the deal to the original film’s music, which amounts to 16 classic Beatles tunes. The original story, which sends a cartoon version of the Fab Four off to save Pepperland from the nefarious Blue Meanies, could easily be abandoned in favor of something less… uhh… drug-induced. I would expect some level of weirdness no matter what, as the article reveals that this would indeed be another performance capture-driven project for Zemeckis.
I’ll admit, there’s a part of me that is excited at the idea of seeing Pepperland, George (he’s a real Nowhere Man!), the Meanies, the Sea of Monsters and the rest of “Submarine”’s psychedelic trip-out rendered in hi def (and presumably stereoscopic 3-D) CG imagery. Sure, those Blue bastards will probably give me nightmares for a month, but I’ll deal.
I also think that The Beatles’ recent resurgence, spurred by the popularity of Cirque du Soleil’s “Love” show and the upcoming release of the video game “The Beatles: Rock Band,” is an amazing thing. Here we are, almost 30 years after the tragic murder of John Lennon, and Beatlemania is still very much a phenomenon.
It’s just hard to shake the feeling that cannibalizing “Yellow Submarine,” a treasured favorite for myself and many others, feels downright wrong. Say what you will about “Across the Universe” and its heavily reinterpreted Beatles arrangements; at least it tried something different. The same goes for the Cirque du Soleil show. I’ve seen “Love” and it’s brilliant, artfully capturing the essence of The Beatles and the fame that followed them.
This Disney/Zemeckis deal feels different somehow. Even with nothing known about the project, merely having the “Yellow Submarine” name attached… I worry that the classic will be cheapened in the translation. I’ll reserve judgment for now, as there’s a long way to go — and a lot to be revealed — before the planned 2012 summer release. That said, I remain unsettled.
What do you think? Is “Yellow Submarine” ripe for a remake? Are you offended at the idea? Do you hope Zemeckis goes for a literal adaptation? Or would you prefer to see him create an entirely new narrative, relying only on the songs featured in “Submarine”? Looking back at “Across the Universe,” what do you think he could learn from in the successes and failures of that feature?