Monday, February 05, 2007

Is Shawn Levy ready to join Geekdom's most-hated?

Superhero fans who'd been anticipating fan-fave writer/director David Goyer's long-gestating movie version of "The Flash" got some bad news last week, when Goyer out-of-the-blue announced he and Warner Bros. had parted-ways on the project.
http://www.superherohype.com/news.php?id=5175

Now, for those of you on the "outside," lemme explain how this information is processed through that largely internet-based entity known as Geekdom. Here is the thought process: "Uh-oh! The Suits are at it again. The 'cool' director is out, surely to be replaced with a yes-man director who'll do exactly what they tell him.. which is ALWAYS a bad thing."

Why do geeks have this knee-jerk reaction to this sort of thind? Because it keeps happening. Here's today's news:
http://www.superherohype.com/news.php?id=5183

Your new director: Shawn Levy, recently late of the not-awful "Night at The Museum," but previously best known as the helmer of generic and hopelessly-awful family comdies. "The Pink Panther," "Cheaper By The Dozen" and "Just Married," plus a string of TV work for Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. Translation: NOT on any fan's list of director's suitably for taking the reigns of what's arguably the top-tier figure of the "b-list" (read: NOT Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman) DC properties.

Honestly.. I dunno, lets see some casting before I get "down" about this, but yeah.. this doesn't bode well, and Levy/Warners may as well resign themselves to the fact that, as fandom is counted on to start the "buzz" about such projects, they will now be under a cloud of really, really bad buzz until at least a really good trailer shows up. That's what happens, fair or not, when you put percieved "hacks" onto fan-fave comic projects. See: Tim Story, who would now have to retrieve and hand-deliver Osama bin Laden's still-beating heart in order to stop the reflex-hatred of The Geekdom from following him around from project to project after "Fantastic Four." As I liked "Museum," and as he seems like an okay guy, I can't help but feel a little bad on Levy's behalf for preemptive pounding he's about to take.

Anyway, the REAL story here is that this happened in the same week that Joss Whedon "dropped out" of Wonder Woman. It's hard to see this (the removal of two fan-fave, vision-heavy, close-to-the-material filmmakers from WB superhero projects) as anything other than blowback from "Superman Returns'" innability to earn more money than "Pirates." Levy may be a nice guy, but thus-far he's no proven visionary and he's certainly in no position to boss-around or even resist a producer. The message from Warners seems clear: "We're playing it safe and broad from now on. No more visionaries, no more paying any mind to the 'fanboys,' no more striving for greatness. We tried that, made less money than we planned. So from now on, these things are on auto and'll turn out however marketing says they will."

Wanna have some fun? Here's the AICN Talkback on this already:
http://www.aintitcool.com/talkback_display/31460

So... any takers on which titan of mediocrity will be announced for Wonder Woman? I'm thinking somewhere in the range of Bret Ratner or Simon West...