I'd like to talk to you about something that's been weighing on my mind a lot lately.
Chimps. More specifically, Chimps in Space. Now, loyal readers to the program will remember that I had the idea for Tigers in Space way back in October of '07. So it was both joyful and bittersweet to see my idea come to fruition, only with Chimps switched out for the Tigers. This one also seems to be animated. Hmm, maybe this isn't my idea at all. Never mind, my squad of lawyers -- stand down!
But while we're all here let's break down this trailer (we're linking to Yahoo because we've heard through the grapevine that their traffic is really struggling lately):
Seconds one through ten: Trailer is rated PG. Fox is making the movie. Yawn. So far they've lost me.
:10-:19: Hey it's Putty from Seinfeld! And the star of the SNL Digital Shorts, Andy Samberg. Promising. However, leading off with a "dork" joke is another strike against the project. If you were expecting a gritty chimp drama you're clearly screwed.
:20-:29: Plot time! Okay, he's a chimp that lives among humans. They all speak English. Good, good. He's been chosen to go to space. I like it. This was a strong ten second portion. This story is set up for success!
:30-:39: Hmm, Revenge of the Nerds callback with the song. Voice over guy makes an appearance. Where is the action? Is there a space war perhaps? Will there be tigers at some point? Could this possibly be an extremely clever homage to Stanley Kubrick? My mind tingles with an unfettered curiosity. (Update: I'm informed by my crack research staff that it's not the same song. However, you try googling "da da da da da doo doo dee dee.")
:40-:49: Guy hits his head after being shot into a helicopter. I give them points for originality here. To my knowledge there's never been a solid cinematic shenanigan involving a helicopter. Also, the crew is announced. Luna, Titan, and Ham. Andy Samberg's guy is named "Ham." I hope he gets extra money for that.
:50-:59: What the hell, a banana joke?? I'm not sure these guys are taking the concept of Chimps in Space seriously. Where are the space walks?
1:00 - 1:09: Also, why is Andy (as animated chimp Ham) so afraid of space? Wouldn't he have gone through a rigorous training program first? If this movie is all about confronting the harsh truths involved with budget cutbacks in our space training program you can count me out.
The Rest of the Trailer: Andy (as animated chimp Ham) still doesn't know how to operate the shuttle. Also, and this is odd, when he calls OnStar for directions from space he has the voice of a chimp (instead of his normal Andy Samberg voice). Interesting. Alternate realities and such, I get it. A clear reference to the dichotomy of Calvin and Hobbes (which should also be a movie).
Conclusion: I've got to say I'm underwhelmed by this trailer. It would seem that these folk have taken the potentially brilliant concept of Chimps in Space and made an average kid's film. Sad stuff. I'll get over it eventually I suppose ... I just dream of a day when mammals in space films are treated with the reverence they deserve.
What's odd is that Samberg was already on the right track with "Laser Cats 3." Clearly Hollywood can mess up anything.