With the “Green Zone” tanking out at the multiplex like the second coming of “Body of Lies,” and the “Bourne” franchise apparently being prepped to catch a serious case of the reboot-itis, Paul Greengrass is in somewhat desperate need of a high-profile studio project to give his now sagging track-record a bump. And who better to collaborate with than James Cameron, the man who, at the moment, pretty much has the entire Federal Reserve at his disposal for whatever film project he feels like attaching his name to next.
It was reported a little while back that Cameron was eyeing a high-tech remake of the campy-yet-cool sci-fi classic “Fantastic Voyage,” penned by Shane Salerno, the writer of the 2007 abomination “AVP: Aliens Vs. Predator – Requiem” (Eep! Red alert! Red alert!). Although the powerful “Avatar” auteur very briefly toyed with helming the feature – as did Roland Emmerich and Tarsem Singh – it now appears, according to Variety (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118017137.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&nid=2562&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+variety/headlines+(Variety+-+Latest+News)), that he’ll be taking a producing role and letting Greengrass pilot the costly 20th Century Fox enterprise.
This new take will apparently hew very close to the plot of the 1966 cult fave and once again feature a group of shrunk-down scientists, aboard a miniature submarine, undertaking a perilous expedition through the body of a dying colleague in order to save their life. Although, the original tackled the story from a Cold War perspective, the Hollywood Reporter (http://www.heatvisionblog.com/2010/03/fantastic-voyage-paul-greengrass.html) briefly mentions that this revamped version will drop that particular political element.
Of course, as is the current (rapidly burning-out) trend, the flick will be shot in spectacular you-are-there-NOW! 3D, just like every other studio blockbuster scheduled for release in the next few years. Goofy glasses, ahoy!
Greengrass is a truly fascinating choice, given his history of crafting jittery, anxious, ultra-realistic docu-drama efforts, ranging from the wrenchingly unforgettable “United 93” to the disappointing recent Iraq War / Matt Damon underperformer, and it seems strange that he would be drawn to material this glossy, poppy and – let’s face facts – waaaay out-there. I’ll be curious to see how he adapts to a more mainstream shooting and editing style in order to meet the needs of the 3D format (His usual rapid-fire shaky-cam methods would probably turn most of the audience into human fountains). However, as unexpected a selection as he is, you can at least count on him giving it his all, and doing everything possible to ensure that “Fantastic Voyage” lives up to its name.
I do somewhat pity the Herculean struggle ahead of him, though, in attempting to develop a more spectacular special-effect than the remarkable sight of Raquel Welch in a skin-tight wetsuit. Good luck, buddy. Godspeed.
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