Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Dark Life of Robert Zemeckis

Variety reported yesterday that Robert Zemeckis, sometime mastermind of the Back to the Future trilogy, has - in cahoots with the mouse house - optioned none other than Kat Falls' profoundly imaginative all-ages debut, Dark Life.

It seems like only last week I was writing about Dark Life - and wait just a cotton-picking minute... it was! Do click through to read the full review in case you missed it the first time out. In that article, I called Kat Falls' first novel "fantastic fun... a lesson in how to write fiction for one audience without excluding another," and though its official release date is still a month out, the buzz on Dark Life has been building exponentially. So much so that Disney, it seems, have partnered with the director of motion-capture extravaganzas such as The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. Dark Life is, as I've said, a great read with an inventive premise and all the follow-through to fit, and it could be as fun a film as it is a book. But... Robert Zemeckis?

Now the man's a fine filmmaker, but he's hardly at the top of his game, and I don't know that his return to form will come to pass until he gets over showcasing the uncanny valley in one unconvincing family-friendly movie after another. I know Zemeckis is invested in the technology, but I don't think I'm alone in thinking it represents a sort of MiniDisc of cinema: a format with potential but outmoded by a better format before it even found its feed. It's difficult, all told, to waste Jim Carrey, but A Christmas Carol sure gave it a shot.

That said, no-one's said word one about Dark Life being turned into another mo-cap mess, and given the news of the impending closure of ImageMovers Digital, the odds are probably even; here's hoping I'm fussing over nothing. I'd love to see Dark Life adapted - but I'd like to see it done justice, and I don't believe that unconvincing CGI gurning is the answer to every question. There's nothing in Kat Falls' novel that couldn't be realised by more traditional techniques.

Basically, get me the Hensons!

Damn it, Muppets, wherefore art thou?

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