NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: Tarzan, Rick Deckard, Roy Batty and Jerry Weintraub:

tv-tarzan-marathonI haven’t seen it as yet, but just reading some of the reviews I was reminded of an article by Michael Kinsley where he referred to Al Gore as “…an old person’s idea of a young person”. I had the same reaction to Ron Howard’s disappointing production of In The Heart of the Sea and had similar problems with a proposed adaptation of Moby Dick I was hired for.

There are just some ideas, mores, themes and genres that are defined by a certain time and culture with a very definite shelf life and cannot hold up to a remake without major surgery. Surgery, which in some cases would destroy or completely alter the original story. With Moby Dick I found that the wholesale slaughter of whales to be so repugnant to today’s audiences it would be extremely hard to create the kind of classic protagonist today’s audiences demand. As great as the Ray Bradbury/John Huston film was, it was not a natural adaptation. The process reminded me of what Robert McKee used to say about Bladerunner’s Rick Deckard character as “not possessing the center of goodness” and thus suffered from a misplaced Protagonist/antagonist plot structure. In many ways Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer)was a much better human than Deckard.

This latest Tarzan was the swan song of the late Jerry Weintraub whose first choice for the role was Olympic champion Michael Phelps for the old Johnny Weissmuller role– that is until he saw Phelps act. In hindsight, it might have been better had Jerry realized then and there that today’s movie theaters have changed and are no longer welcoming Countries for Old Men…

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