Today it was announced that lauded Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson would move from producer to director for the next episode of the Tintin franchise with The Adventures of Tintin 2. The first installment, directed by no less than Steven Spielberg, was meet with critical “meh,” and is often cited as proof that, if Spielberg can’t make it work, maybe this mo-cap thing isn’t so hot after all.
Making Jackson’s decision all the more conspicuous is the fact that he’ll be preceding the project with back-to-back Hobbit films. I guess he views Tintin as a vacation, much as we viewed the first one a vacation for Spielberg. Unfortunately, Jackson isn’t alone in tacking his name onto a tired or beaten property, as this list of great directors who tackle bad franchises would indicate.
Read this list, then bite your lip and imagine what they could have done.
Red Dragon, though not a terrible film, seemed like a horrible waste of resources for many involved, mainly due to the tremendous dip in quality from The Silence of the Lambs to its sequel, Hannibal. Red Dragon was prequel to the series, and a remake of Michael Mann’s film Manhunter. Dragon starred Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ralph Fiennes and Harvey Keitel. While I would say that the film was didn’t maximize much of the talent involved, its most glaring shortcoming was in the direction by Brett Ratner, who serves as a pretty strong action-comedy director, but can’t seem to steer away from that genre successfully.
So this could prequel/remake was outside of Ratner’s wheelhouse, but even if it wasn’t, we would have probably enjoyed a different Ratner film more, provided it wasn’t Rush Hour 2.5 or something.
Gus Van Sant is a fine, fine director, and Psycho is an American classic. It’s for these two reasons that these two things should never have been close enough to touch. Van Sant went whole hog with the “homage” concept and directed the film as a shot-for-shot remake, adding virtually nothing to the story, save for some color and a new cast.
The film probably achieved exactly what Van Sant intended, which is the reason that so many critics and viewers alike were wondering what the purpose of this whole exercise was.