While we have nothing left but defeated shrugs when it comes to comic book adaptations, remakes, reboots, and Australians, there is one ridiculous new Hollywood trend that really needs to be kept in check in its earliest stages.
We're talking, of course, about the overly "sexing" up of history and literature. Clearly, the dusty pages of old need some glamor if they're going to head to the multiplexes - if you wanted to be historically accurate, the women of King Henry VIII's court should all be played by Steve Buscemi - but we're talking about the more recent and completely insane notion that every major event in history and literature was somehow directed by Michael Bay.
With the news that our associates over at Universal have given the green light to an "action adventure" film based on the life of Leonardo da Vinci - imagining the artist and thinker as some kind of proto-Tony Stark - we have to say enough is enough.
U.S. & World
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
It's fitting there's a sequel due out in a few weeks, because Guy Ritchie's original take on Arthur Conan Doyle's iconic detective was mostly to blame for this recent rush to add explosions to everything. Sure, we get that the Dr. Watson of the novels was not the doddering old fool he'd been portrayed as in previous films, but we doubt that Doyle intended Holmes and Watson to be a Victorian Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh.
A Dangerous Method
How do you get young college freshmen interested in the works of Carl Jung? Explain to them that he was a sexy adulterer who was into spanking. Sure, the true story of Jung and his patient, Sabina Spielrein, was fraught with sexual tension, but nothing plays the spoonful of sugar to the medicine of history better than lurid role-playing and Viggo Mortensen stroking his Freudian cigar. It's the history of psychoanalysis as done by Skinemax.
"Steampunk" is a sub-genre of science fiction that imagines amazing, "futuristic" vehicles and machines being invented during the Victorian era. To Hollywood, however, "steampunk" is shorthand for "we have no idea when things were actually invented." So therefore you have Alexandre Dumas' most famous creations flying around in battle blimps and performing wire-fu.
As we mentioned, this is very much in the works, and it's being described as a look at the early years of a man who was not only a great artist, but also a visionary inventor who sketched ideas for the first helicopter and the first robot. So get ready for Leonardo da Vinci swooping over 16th century Italy with his wise-cracking metal sidekick fighting crime. If at any point he and his pals Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo start donning purple, red, orange, and blue masks, you know we're done for.
Do you labor under the illusion that Edgar Allan Poe was a wan, boozy little bookworm oddball who eventually came to his end passed out in a Baltimore gutter? No, no, no. He was, in fact, the 19th century's answer to Dirty Harry. In John Cusack's new movie, Poe didn't just write about horrible crimes, he went out and solved them - often at the end of a pistol. We're praying this will lead to a new take on "Blue Crush" starring Herman Melville.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Yes, this movie is based on a satirical novel, but how much do you want to bet that in about 20 years kids will be handing in history papers about what a badass our 16th President was (and not for abolishing slavery, but for being Blade) and how his wife, Mary Todd, was a stone cold hottie (Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been cast and not Warwick Davis, which would be more accurate).
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Another joke novel that Hollywood, we suspect, doesn't realize is a joke. Regardless, get ready to see a brain-hungry Mr. Darcy skulking after the Bennet family. We hope the pale, lifeless, shambling zombies at least groan so we're sure to be able to tell them apart from the regular Austen character actors.
In this little-seen but oh-my-god-you-have-to-see-to-believe little gem, we find out that Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar was not only (judging by Eric Roberts' portrayal) from Hoboken, but the fall of the Roman Empire was directly the result of the ill-advised plan to kidnap bargain basement CGI and make it fight in the Coliseum. Where is THAT in your history book, nerd?
Now, excuse us, we have to run and pitch "2 Fast 2 Francium: The Rise of Marguerite Perey."