Do you remember Treasure Planet? Disney's ill-fated attempt at taking a classic piece of literature and "modernizing" it for all those ADD-riddled children. "Hey kids? Remember that swashbuckling tale of adventure in the high seas? Now it's in Space! And there's robots and other cool shit! Yes, we're so cool we just swore! Take us seriously!" Now while I wouldn't say there's any re-imagining going on in this part of the list, there's certainly, some, uh liberties being taken with these adaptations. What exactly, are these, well uhdoi! Read to find out!
40. Life of Pi
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma
Director: Ang Lee
Release Date: December 21
Now Life of Pi isn't a classic just yet, but it is considered one of the best novels from the past decade (or as I like to call them the Fightin' Aughts!). It's a wonderful book about a boy, who after a shipwreck, gets trapped on a lifeboat for 227 days with a Bengal tiger (there is some clever 127 Hours joke in there, but I'm too tired to find it). Ang Lee, who's known to jump from genre to genre these days (his last three movies were Gay Cowboy Romance [yes this is a genre now], a World War II Drama/Porn and classic Zany Pot Comedy). So the man can direct if you know what I mean. And he's cast a kid who has never acted before and probably has never even seen a camera in his life, much less a Bengal Tiger. Much like everyone guffawed at the idea of Danny Boyle tackling a stupid story about some guy in a rock for five days, well, you were wrong. So it's absurd to think Ang Lee can't create a compelling story about a boy and a tiger on a boat. So I have the utmost confidence this is going to be a great family movie come Christmastime next year - it's going to fill that We Bought a Zoo void we'll all be feeling next year.
39. The Great Gatsby
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan
Director: Baz Luhrman
Release Date: December 25
I remember reading this book in high school and thinking how depressing the whole thing was. I'd probably appreciate it a bit more now that I am a full time bookworm. So the story revolves around the enigmatic Jay Gatsby and how Nick Carraway gets sucked into this charming man's life only to find tragedy and madness hiding behind his phony nouveau riche existence. The best part about this adaptation? It's in 3D! Yes, you heard me! The man behind Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet is having a go at one the greatest American novels and doing it all in that fancy new dimension! That alone is reason enough for me to pony up some money (whether it be brilliant or a sophisticated train wreck) but you have a really nice cast. I've come to really enjoy DiCaprio in about everything lately, so it will be interesting to see him in this role, as I pictured someone wholly different as Gatsby while reading. And as much crap as Tobey Maguire gets around the interwebs, he's still a good actor. Plus you got Carey Mulligan, still trying to get that Oscar along with Isla Fischer and Joel Edgerton rounding out the cast. Sounds like a fun time at the movies and a perfect counterpoint to Life of Pi next Christmas.
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe
Director: Andrew Stanton
Release Date: March 9
Another great piece of fiction (or so I'm told) is Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars. Unfortunately Disney thinks audiences are unlikely to watch a movie with the word Mars in it (Mission to Mars, Mars Needs Moms, Mars Attacks!, Ghosts of Mars - all movies that got dumped on at the box office) even TV shows are not immune from the four letter word - Veronica Mars, while brilliant, only lasted a paltry three seasons and let's not forget the classic 70s time traveling cop drama Life on Mars - why only one season? Oh, Hollywood, you tease. So you can understand the change. The story takes a simple Civil War vet, minding his own business when he gets magically (or scientifically?) transported to Mars where he battles crazy creatures and saves a princess. Sounds pretty cool! Taylor Kitsch is looking to have a break out year in 2012 - he's appearing 3 times on this list! But the first trailer leaves a little to be desired - it all just looks so... well... dull! I've never read the books, but the setting is supposed to be fantastical and romantic, not a vacation to Arizona! C'mon people! I can only hope that the director of Wall-E can transition to live-action and pull off something magical here.
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Release Date: January 13
This movie was totally off my radar until I saw the trailer. I mean, c'mon who doesn't want to see Mark Wahlberg take names and kick some ass? It's got a mixture of crime drama, action and heist movie all rolled into one. Count me in! It probably won't win any awards or anything, but this looks like a solid, fun movie with the producer of Entourage flexing his action star muscle. Plus, I've always felt a little sorry for Giovanni Ribisi - he's a really good actor that hasn't quite hit the big time, but he's seems to be doing fine - he's on this list three times! And who couldn't resist watching a movie that's directed by a guy named Baltasar? That is epically awesome. I think he might slay dragons as a hobby.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green
Director: Tim Burton
Release Date: May 11
I know - we can all collectively roll our eyes as Tim Burton teams up once again with his not-so-secret schoolboy crush Johnny Depp. This time they're re-imagining another beloved franchise - the cult TV show Dark Shadows. The movie, according to Wikipedia is thus: Barnabas Collins, a wealthy playboy from the 18th century, breaks the heart of a witch who turns him into a vampire and buries him alive. In 1972, Barnabas is freed and returns to find his manor in ruin. It is occupied by dysfunctional descendants and other residents, all of whom have secrets. And thus hilarity ensues as only a heavily-eyelined vampire Johnny Depp can create. I will freely admit Mr. Depp has lost his charm the past few years. He has a schtick now and he's sticking to it, dammit! Depending on how the trailer looks, this one might get stricken from my list or be bumped up. I don't know! The duo of Burton and Depp is hit and miss lately (Alice in Wonderland was a horribly chaotic mess of a movie, but then Sweeney Todd was fantastic!) I've never seen the show, but I can only imagine that heavy groan of discontent (or joy - I claim to not know these people) echoing around the internet from all the fans of the show will only further emphasize what side of the fence I'm on. The really odd thing about the movie is the release date. Wouldn't this be more suited for the fall? What's up with that, Mr. Warner and your brother?
List: 50-46 | 45-41 | 40-36 | 35-31 | 30-26 | 25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 | 5-1 | Runner-Ups: 10-6 | 5-1