Tag: Ghostbusters


Posted on by Scott Delahunt

The Eighties were a weird time in entertainment.  Popular original works outnumbered popular adaptations for the first time in movie history.  Regulations about advertising to children were relaxed, leading to animation adaptations of toys and anything that a toy could be made from.  The latter meant popular movies became fodder for cartoons, even if the film wasn’t originally meant for children, like Rambo and RobocopLost in Translation has already looked at one animated adaptation from the era, Back to the Future.  Another series, though, was more successful.

The Real Ghostbusters ran from 1986 until 1991, undergoing a title change to Slimers and the Real Ghostbusters in its third season.  Despite being tied to the film, Ghostbusters, a court case between Filmation and Columbia/Sony forced the adaptation to change its name as Filmation had the name first, leading to adding The Real to the title.  The Real Ghostbusters was licensed out to DiC, who farmed out the animation to several Japanese studios, giving the series a unique look.  While Columbia had the rights to the movie by virtue of being the production company, the studio didn’t have the rights to the actors’ appearances, leading to main characters who had a passing resemblance to the original cast.  One episode, “Take Two”, goes as far to explain the differences – the movie is an in-universe adaptation of the characters’ lives.  Venkman even goes so far to remark that Bill Murray doesn’t even look like him.

The cast was small, cosnisting of five voice actors total.  Arsenio Hall, best known now for his talk show, was starting out in his career when he voiced Winston Zeddmore, the guy the Ghostbusters hired when business picked up during Gozer the Gozerian’s invasion of New York.  Maurice Lamarche, who has played roles such as the Brain on Pinky and the Brain, played Egon Spengler, scientist and inventor.  Lorenzo Music, best know for playing Carleton the Doorman on Rhoda and Garfield the cat* in the cartoon based on the comic strip Garfield, portrayed Peter Venkman, scientist and all-around smarmy dude.  Laura Summer got her first work as a voice actor playing Janine Melnitz and almost every other woman in the first two seasons.  Frank Welker, who has made a career out of being a non-human voice, including Megatron in the original Transformers, among others, played Ray Stantz, scientist and inventor, Slimer, and a large number of other ghosts and supernatural creatures.  Summer was replaced by Kath Soucie with the name change to Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters, but, for the purpose of this review, the renamed series will be treated as a separate work to come later.

Adapting Ghostbusters to a weekly format wasn’t a problem.  The nature of the movie allowed for further adventures for the team.  Ghostbusters was a business; the team could easily continue busting ghosts in an adaptation.  Indeed, the “ghost of the week” plot carried the series.  The series also treated the events of the movie as occurring in-universe.  Peter did get slimed by Slimer at the hotel and the team did fight Gozer the Gozerian in the form of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man  The goal to adapting well is to bring the core of the original, in this case, Ghostbusters into the new medium, even with all the restrictions on the adaptation.  A number of elements of the movie just wouldn’t fly.  Venkman’s lecherousness was toned down, but didn’t completely disappear; his casual cruelty was removed.  Janine kept her crush on Egon until executive orders in Slimer forced the writers to excise it.  Repeatable violence isn’t allowed, but very few children would have access to backpack-sized unlicensed nuclear accelerators*.  The Ghostbusters also only shot at ghosts to pull them into their traps, reducing the potential harm further.  The action could thus match what was shown on screen, complete with slime.

The main characters, despite not being allowed to look exactly like the original actors, did have enough details in common to make it easy to see who was who.  Egon had glasses and the hair style, along with Lamarche’s Harold Ramis impersonation.  Peter kept some of Bill Murray’s smarmy charm**.  Summer recreated Janine’s accent.  Ray still had his weight.  Winston was still the workman of the group, the one who was more down to Earth.  Equipment matched what was shown on screen.  And to add to the accuracy, the design of Slimer in the 2016 reboot movie was partially based on his appearance in the cartoon.

As mentioned above, the series could have kept to a “ghost of the week” plot, mirroring the jobs the Ghostbusters had in the movie prior to the containment system shutdown and the fight against Gozer.  The writers, though, went beyond that.  The first episode, “Ghosts R Us”, had a trio of ghosts working a scam to drive the Ghostbusters out of business.  The team fought Samhaim, the spirit of Hallowe’en, in “When Hallowe’en Was Forever”, written by J. Michael Stracynski of Babylon 5 and Thor fame.  Even with “ghost of the week” plots, not every ghost was busted.  Several were able to move on after completing a task that kept them tied to the land of the living.

Going beyond the above, the writers delved into myth, legend, and classic literature.  Samhaim was but one character based on myth and legend.  The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse appeared in “Apocalypse — What, Now?”  Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was adapted as “The Headless Motorcyclist”, updating the legend for modern times.  The team accidentally busted the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come in “Xmas Marks the Spot”.***

Then there’s the adaptation within the adaptation, “Collect Call of Cathulhu”(sic).  Written by Michael Reeves, the episode goes beyond just using the trappings.  The episode acts as an introduction to the Cthulhu mythos as created by HP Lovecraft and other writers.  Guest characters are named after other writers who had contributed to the Mythos; Clark Ashton after Clark Ashton Smith and Alice Derlith after publisher August Derlith.  Lovecraft himself is name-dropped as the creator of the Mythos, with his writings in Weird Tales cited in-character by Ray.  Cultists of Cthulhu appear, along with Spawn of Cthulhu and a Shoggoth.  The episode even quotes Lovecraft, specifically “The Nameless City” – “That is not dead which can eternal lie,/And with strange aeons even death may die.”  The episode climaxes with the awakening of Cthulhu, a being that, to quote Egon, “makes Gozer the Gozerian look like Little Mary Sunshine”, and the Ghostbusters fighting to just stop the Elder God, using the Mythos as a guide.

Even when not using classic literature for plots, the series has references to works that would be unexpected in a TV series aimed at a younger audience.  In “Ragnarok and Roll”, the spell used to begin Ragnarok is the Elven inscription of the One Ring from JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.  Franz Kafka’s Metamorphisis is referenced in “Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster” as Janine reads out some of the jobs that have come in; “And some guy named Samsa says he’s possessed by the ghost of a giant cockroach.”

The Real Ghostbusters puts an effort into continuing the story from the movie, even while explaining away the differences.  The series sets itself up as an alternate continuity where the original movie is a movie about the animated characters.  The characterization builds from what was shown in the movie and expands on what was originally shown.  The Real Ghostbusters is a worthy adaptation, taking into account the limitations imposed on it by the medium and expanding the ghosts thanks to not needing special effects beyond ink and paint.

* In an interesting twist, Bill Murray would later voice Garfield in the movies based on the strip.
** And if a child did have one, repeatable acts would be a minor concern.
*** While almost every TV series has had an episode based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, few had the Ghosts of Christmas running a gambit to teach a main character about the meaning of the season while still having Scrooge around.

Posted on by Scott Delahunt

The Eighties were an odd decade.  The usual follow-the-leader methods loved by studios went out the window as almost anything went.  It was the first decade where popular original works outnumbered popular adaptations.  Music videos were an art form and could turn a near miss into a hit.  Such was the case in 1984 with the original Ghostbusters.  The Ray Parker Jr. video for the movie’s main theme showed more of the movie than traditional trailers, getting people interested in seeing the film.

Ghostbusters went on to be one of the top grossing movies of the Eighties.  The movie, an action-comedy, followed a team of scientists who branched out into a business after their funding was cut by the university.  Peter Venkman, played by Bill Murray, saw the potential of the business.  However, Venkman’s ethics were at best loose, allowing him to take advantage of any situation.  The technical geniuses behind the team were Ray Stantz, played by Dan Aykroyd, and Igon Spengler, played by Harold Ramis.  Ray was the wide-eyed enthusiast, eager to explore the possibilities.  Igon was the rational scientist, armed with all literature written on the subject of ghosts, including Tobin’s Spirit Guide.  As business picked up, the Ghostbusters added two more to the crew, Winston Zeddmore, played by Ernie Hudson, who joined the guys in the field, and Janine Melnitz, played by Annie Potts, the receptionist/secretary/general help.

The pick up in business wasn’t just people finally having someone to call to deal with hauntings.  The increase in spectral activity signalled the return of Gozer the Destructor, a dangerous entity that had been banished once before by Tiamat.  Gozer’s minions, the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper, are released to find mortal bodies to inhabit.  Meanwhile, Dana Barrett is having some spectral problems.  Dana is a musician, a cellist with a symphonic orchestra and one of Ghostbusters’ first customer.  Venkman, of the loose professional ethics, starts chatting her up, eventually getting a date with her.  One of the reasons she had called the team was that there was a complaint about her TV being too loud during a time when she hadn’t been home.  Her neighbour, Louis Tully, played by Rick Moranis, vouches for her.

On the night of the date, Louis throws a big party for all his clients in his apartment.  He hears Dana in the hall and heads out there to try to get her to pop in for a moment, but she’s non-commital.  She ducks into her apartment.  Louis tries to get back to his, but the door is locked.  Then the Terror Dog appears.  Louis runs, but is chased down and caught outside a fancy restaurant.  Louis isn’t the only person to encounter a Terror Dog that night.  Dana sits down on her chair to rest before getting ready for her date with Venkman, only for the chair to sprout demonic arms to hold her in place.  The door to her kitchen opens, revealing a doorway to another plane guarded by a Terror Dog.

When Louis and Dana return, the are inhabited by the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper, respectively.  The Keymaster must find the Gatekeeper to open the gate keeping Gozer from returning to Earth.  Venkman discovers Dana sleeping above the covers* and gets teh rest of the team to do what they can to find out what happened to her.  Igon researches and digs up the details of Gozer and what could become of the Earth if the Gozerian is freed.

Alas, the Keymaster and Gatekeeper meet, releasing Gozer.  The power needed to open the gate was provided by the ghosts the team have busted and contained, thanks to human bureaucracy in the form of Walter Peck, played by William Atherton.  The released ghosts terrorize Manhattan and the Ghostbusters are given all due authority required to end the emergency.  Gozer, feeling benevolent to his would-be defeaters, allows the Ghostbusters to choose how their world dies.  While Winston, Venkman, and Igon are able to blank their minds, Ray thought of the most harmless thing he could, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

Ghostbusters was followed up with a sequel in 1989, an animated series, The Real Ghostbusters, from 1985 to 1991, a tabletop RPG in 1986, and a video game in 2009 that featured voices of the four original Ghostbusters.  An attempt at a third movie kept running into problems, to the point where co-creator Aykroyd considered the video game to be the third movie.  In 2016, the drought ended.

The new Ghostbusters was a reboot of the franchise.  Instead of Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, and Zeddmore, new Ghostbusters were created and introduced.  The movie starts with a tour of the old Aldredge manor in New York City, where the family had locked up their daughter, Gertrude, who had dabbled in the black arts.  Gertrude was said to be locked in the basement, which hadn;t been opened since.  However, when Gertrude starts trying to break free, the curator locates Dr. Erin Golbert, played by Kristen Wiig, at the prestigious university she works at.  He found her name on a book she co-wrote with Abby Yates about the paranormal, a book Erin thought had been remaindered and is now trying to disavow in order to get tenure.

Erin tracks down her old friend Abby at a much less prestigious university to try to get the book pulled from sale.  Unlike Erin, Abby has continued her research into the paranormal and is now working with Jillian Holtzman, a nuclear engineer and mad scientist, played by Kate McKinnon.  The three women go to the Aldredge manor to investigate and do find the ghost of Gertrude.  Erin tries to communicate with Gertrude and is slimed for the effort.  All three women run out of the manor, fear giving way to elation as they see their paranormal theories validated.

The next day, Erin is let go by her university as the YouTube video Holtzman put up makes the circuit.  Erin goes to see Abby to try to get work there, but the dean of Abby’s university, after learning that the department still exists, cuts all funding.  Abby and Holztman take the equipment and follow Erin out.  They decide to try getting into business; Holtzman has created a few devices that need field testing anyway.  Their first stop is a former firestation, the same one from the original movie.  On hearing the monthly rent, the next stop is an office over the Chinese restaurant Abby regularly orders from.

Meanwhile, in the New York subway, MTA worker Patty Tolan spies someone disappearing off the platform and into the tunnel.  Patty chases him, warning him that the train is coming.  She stops when she sees a spectral entity floating above the tracks.  She contacts the Ghostbusters and shows them where she saw the ghost.  Holtzman gives Erin her new device, a proton pack that should be able to catch the ghost.  There are some problems, including range and recoil, and the women have to get out of the tunnel before the next train arrives.

Patty joins the team, providing the Ghostbusters someone who knows the history of New York City and a vehicle on loan from her uncle.  Their big break comes when a ghost is reported at a heavy metal concert.  The Ghostbusters arrive in their new car, a hearse from Patty’s uncle that has been repainted by Holtzman.  They split up inside the concert hall, searching for the ghost.  Patty finds a room full of mannequins and, knowing horror movies and possibly Doctor Who, walks away from the room full of potential nightmares.  The ghost, inhabiting one of the mannequins, follows her.

The four Ghostbusters make short work of the mannequin, but the ghsot flees upwards, through the ceiling and into the concert.  While at first the audience and the act on stage think its all part of the performance, things change when the ghost tosses the lead singer into the stack of amps.  The Ghostbusters arrive and spread out, with Patty moshing over the audience to get into position and Abby not having the same luck.  The first shots miss, and the ghost lands on Patty.  With careful aim, Holtzman hits the ghost and pulls it off Patty, allowing the others to trap it with their pack.  Holtzman sends out her latest investion, the ghost trap, and seals the ghost away.

The success at the concert leads to more calls.  Erin hires a new secretary, Kevin Beckman, played by Chris Hemsworth.  Unlike Janine in the original movie, where she was the best receptionist the Ghostbusters could afford on the cheap, Kevin was hired by Erin solely to be eye candy.  Kevin has trouble with answering phones.  Business picks up, but the Ghostbusters realize there’s a pattern to where the ghosts are appearing and track it on a map.  Each sighting occurred on a ley line, and the intersection of two ley lines is where the most powerful one will appear.  They also recognize the one constant in each sighting, a bellhop named Rowan, played by Neil Casey.

Rowan sees himself as an underappreciated genius and will show the world otherwise.  The Ghostbusters close in on him and find his lair in the basement of the hotel, the Mercado.  Rowan tries to tell the Ghostbusters about how difficult it is for him to get anywhere in the world**, and apparently commits suicide over being brought in by the police.  While searching his equipment, Erin finds a copy of the book she and Abby wrote and takes it along with her.

That night, Erin reads through the book she found and sees the annotations Rowan has made, which includes him killing himself then returning.  She runs out to warn the mayor to evacuate the city.  At the Ghostbusters’ office, Abby, working late, has her own encounter with a ghost.  She manages to elude it, but it flies away.  The ghost, Rowan, instead takes over Kevin’s body.  Abby brings in Holtzman and Patty.  Unable to reach Erin, the three women head down to the Mercado in Times Square.

Along the way, the three women in the new Ecto-1 stop to bust a ghost at a hotdog stand.  Slimer, however, turns the tables and steals Ecto-1, going off on a joy ride.  The three Ghostbusters run the rest of the way to Times Square to face off against the denizens of Times Square of yore, including a ghostly version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade of the Twenties.**  The Ghostbusters destroy most of the balloons but one, good old Stay-Puft himself, lands on them.  Balloons being balloons, though, are not match to Swiss Army knives, as Erin demonstrates.

Reunited, the four women turn to get through the mass of ghosts under Rowan’s command.  Holtzman’s inventions all come out, from the ghost shredder used by Patty to proton grenades thrown by Abby to twin pistol-sized proton packs that Holtzman kept for herself.  They fight through the ghosts to face off against Rowan.  Being magnanimous in apparent victory, Rowan gives the Ghostbusters the choice of his final form.  Patty chooses the cute little harmless ghost in their logo.  Rowan agrees, and turns into a cartoon version of the logo before growing into a far more sinister version.

As can be seen above, the plots of both movies are similar.  Both have a being manipulating spectral energy to gain power and destroy the world.  In the original, the being was the extraplanar Gozer the Gozerian.  In the reboot, the being was more mundane but also more typical of the problems women in the real world face.  The devices are the same, given updates and more flashing lights in the new movie but still recognizable as what they are.  The reboot also pulls ideas from the existing franchise, including the cartoon.  Rowan’s rampage at the end of the movie is similar to the opening credits of the cartoon.  The cartoon also gave direction to Slimer’s appearance in the reboot and may have been the source for the idea of the strong recoil the proton accelerators have.

The gender flip of the main characters also means that what the guys could get away with in the first movie couldn’t be done so much in the reboot.  At the same time, Kevin was eye candy, hired by Erin because of his looks, something Venkman didn’t do in the original.  The characters don’t match up on a one-to-one basis.  Elements of the original characters, however, do appear in the reboot; there is some Igon in Holtzman, but Holtzman is definitely not Igon in drag.  Abby may be the one character that has the strongest resemblance to another, in Ray, but Abby is still her own character, with her own traits and flaws.

The use of CGI should get mentioned.  The original Ghostbusters didn’t have the luxury of affordable CGI.  The Last Starfighter, one of the first movies to use extensive CGI for special effects, came out in the same year as Ghostbusters.  The original Ghostbusters used extensive practical effects with cel animation.  The reboot could make use of CGI in place of the cel animation, but even then, practical effects were also used.  Drones were used as stand-ins for the ghosts to give the actors something to look and aim at.  Lighted extensions on the proton accelerators allowed the actors to react without having to keep the ends still to aid the animation process.  Special effects caught up to the needs of the movie, allowing for trickier shots, such as Holtzman going to town with two proton accelerators.

Is the reboot the same movie as the original?  No, and it couldn’t be.  A shot-for-shot remake would be a waste of talent.  Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon are far too talented and had such great chemistry working together that a mere gender-flip wasn’t enough.  Director Paul Feig allowed his actors room to improv, much like Ivan Reitman did in the original movie, allowing the chemistry to appear on screen.  The reboot, though, takes in the full franchise and presents it on screen.  The new Ghostbusters has fun with the material, which is what is expected with an action-comedy.

Lost in Translation now has a Facebook page!

* “Three feet above the covers.”
** Special features on the DVD reveal that the balloons in the scene were based on actual balloons used in the parade of the era.  There really isn’t much difference between the ghostly balloons and the real ones.

Posted on by Scott Delahunt

CG Peanuts movie to use classic comics for thought bubbles.
The CGI animated Peanuts feature will pay homage to the original comic strip through the use of the classic comics in thought bubbles.

Dan Aykroyd excited as Ghostbusters reboot starts filming.
Aykroyd, who was the co-creator of the original movie and is the executive producer of the remake, is happy with how the new movie is turning out.  While that may not be persuasive, the photos of the costume and the new Ecto are promising.

The Rock’s going to be busy.
Not only is he working on a remake of Big Trouble in Little China, as reported last month, he’s also looking at an adaptation of the classic arcade video game, Rampage.  The video game allowed players to take the role of kaiju and destroy a city while fending off the puny defenders.

New Spider-Man film, new Spider-Man actor.
Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios have announced the casting of Tom Holland in the title role.  Holland will play Peter Parker in the new movie.

The Rocky franchise continues with Creed.
Rocky Balboa turns coach this November.  Michael B. Jordan plays Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed, played by Carl Weathers, from the first four Rocky films.

Classic Canadian animated series, The Raccoons, may be returning.
Kevin Gillis, the creator of the original cartoon, is working out how to bring back the the show, featuring raccoons Bert, Melissa, and Ralph.  The Raccoons aired on the CBC with TV movies in the early 80s and a regular series starting in 1985.  The series also aired on the Disney Channel.

Farscape movie has been confirmed.
Rockne S. O’Bannon has confirmed that a Farscape movie is in the works.  The film doesn’t have a script yet, but one is being drafted by Justin Monjo, who wrote for the series.

Dynamite Entertainment to bring Atari classics to comics.
Dynamite will produce comics based on classic Atari video games, including Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command.  The same company will also be producing James Bond comics helmed by Warren Ellis.

Lost in Translation to take a hiatus.
There’s a shake up coming here at MuseHack.  Steve will have the full details, but Lost in Translation will be on hiatus during this time.  The reviews will return, as will the history of adaptations.

Posted on by Scott Delahunt

The dam broke.  News just keeps flowing, with nothing outside consideration.  Let’s get started on the March news roundup.

Catan TV and movie rights purchased.
Gail Katz, producer of /The Perfect Storm/, has bought the rights to the board game, The Settlers of Catan.  While the purchasing of rights is just the first of many steps to get a movie or TV series made, it’s not a guarentee.  Catan also has the interesting problem of having no set plot.  Instead, players are in competition to settle the land of Catan, but may also trade with each other.  The trading is the source of endless “wood for sheep” jokes amongst the game’s players.

Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar becoming TV series.
Starlin, creator of Guardians of the Galaxy, will also be the executive producer of the TV series.  /Dreadstar/ will follow Vanth Dreadstar, sole surviror of the Milky Way galaxy, as he tries to end an war between two empires.  No casting has been announced.

Fox greenlights Sandman spinoff.
Lucifer, a spinoff of Sandman, has been ordered by Fox.  The original Lucifer had the lord of Hell giving up the title and moving to Earth to run a piano bar while interacting with other religious figures.  The Fox series, though, has Lucifer assisting the Los Angeles police department in solving crimes.

New Alien movie to be directed by Neill Blomkamp.
Blomkamp, who directed /District 9/, has a deal with Fox to film a new /Alien/ movie.  This film is separate from Ridley Scott’s Prometheus 2.  Blomkamp’s movie will be a sequel to Aliens, and will bring back Sigourney Weaver as Ripley.

EL James to write script for 50 Shades sequel.
James, who wrote the 50 Shades trilogy, is exerting ownership and control and will be the scriptwriter for the next movie in the series.  The sequel may be delayed as a result; James has not written a script before and the Valentine’s Day 2016 release date may not be possible.  The sequel also needs a new director; Sam Taylor-Johnson will not be back after numerous fights with James on set during the filming.

MacGuyver may be getting a reboot TV series.
Lee Zlotoff, the creator of the original MacGuyver TV series, is working with the National Academy of Engineers on a crowdsourcing competition to find the next MacGuyver.  The challenge – the new character must be a woman, who doesn’t necessarily need to be named MacGuyver.   The prize is $5000 and working with a Hollywood producer to develop the script.

Netflix to make new Inspector Gadget, Danger Mouse series.
Netflix is becoming the newest source for series.  Besides the Marvel offerings, Netflix will be adding animation to the lineup.  First, Inspector Gadget, a 26-episode reboot of the classic cartoon, will start in March in the US and in other countries later.  A revival of Danger Mouse, will follow.

Not to be outdone, Disney brings back Duck Tales.
Duck Tales, a staple of the late 80s and early 90s, is returning with new episodes on Disney XD in 2017.  The same characters from the original will be in the new show.

The Search for More Money may become a reality.
Mel Brooks has said he wants to make Spaceballs: The Search for More Money.  Nothing is confirmed, but the idea is to have the sequel come out after Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination may be adapted in near future.
Paramount Pictures may be signing a deal the lead the way to a movie adaptation of the novel.  The novel’s been in development hell for twenty years, with Richard Gere and Paul W.S. Anderson being attached to the project.  Talks are still early, though.

Electra Woman and Dyna Girl getting remade.
Taking the titular roles are Grace Helbigg and Dana Hart, both of whom are known through their work on YouTube.  The original Electra Woman and Dyna Girl was a 1976 Sid and Marty Krofft series and starred a pre-Days of Our Lives Deidre Hall.

Adventure Time to become feature film.
Cartoon Networks’ Adventure Time is in development for an animated film.  Chris McKay and Roy Lee, producers of The LEGO Movie and the upcoming The LEGO Batman Movie will produce the film.

John Barrowman to develop project from Heavy Metal.
Barrowman, known for his role of Captain Jack Harkness on Doctor Who and Torchwood, will produce and star in The 49th Key, a miniseries based on a story by Erika Lewis that just started in the magazine, Heavy Metal, as of issue #273.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM being remade.
MGM will adapt the book by Robert C. O’Brien as a mix of live action and CGI.  Adapted once before by Don Bluth as The Secret of NIHM, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM is about a widowed mouse who gets help from escaped lab rats to save her home and her son.

Valiant Comics bringing their characters to the movies.
DMG Entertainment of Beijing has invested in Valiant Comics and wants to bring the Valiant characters to the silver screen and television.  Valiant has Bloodshot, Shadowman, and Archer and Armstrong already in development.

Live action Akira film delayed again.
The director attached to the project, James Collet-Serra, is taking time for himself after making the movies Non-Stop and Run All Night back-to-back.  The fate of the adaptation is back in the hand of Warner Bros.  The studio has been trying to cut the budget from the initial $180 million estimate down to between $60 and $70 million to offset the fan backlash currently happening.  Warner has had the Akira adaptation in some form of development since 2002.

Sony working on an male-driven Ghostbusters remake.
The male-driven remake/reboot is being developed in parallel with the female-driven version.  Sony is hoping to expand the franchise.  Maybe the best approach for the movies is to borrow from the West End Games Ghostbusters role-playing game and set each movie as a separate Ghostbusters International franchise in different cities.  Ghostbusters Tokyo: The Anime anyone?

Three Days of the Condor becoming a TV series.
The conspiracy thriller of the 70s is being developed for TV by Skydance and David Ellison.  The original movie was itself adapted from the book, Six Days of the Condor, and involved a a CIA operative whose co-workers were murdered as part of a government cover-up.

Archie getting a reboot, new look.
In a possible first for the publisher, Archie Comics is getting a reboot and a new #1.  Mark Waid and Fiona Staples will helm the title and will bring Archie to the 21st Century in appearance without taking away from what makes the character who he is.  The re-imagining comes with Archie’s 75th anniversary and follows such works as AfterLife with Archie and the announced Riverdale TV series.

A third Tron movie is in the works.
A sequel to Tron: Legacy will be directed by Joseph Kosinski, who directed the previous Tron movie.  The movie should follow from events in Legacy.

Posted on by Scott Delahunt

Marvel Comics had several big announcements since the last news round up.  Let’s get to what’s being adapted and by whom.

Marvel and Sony come to a deal over Spider-Man.
Spider-Man is moving into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, joining the likes of the Avengers.  Sony Pictures still has the rights to create movies with the character, but the deal should allow Marvel to use elements from the Spider-Man comics such as the Daily Bugle in its own releases.  Marvel has shuffled its release schedule to bring the next Spider-Man movie out without competing with the Marvel Studios releases.

X-Men TV series in the works.
Fox has confirmed an X-Men TV series is in development, pending Marvel’s approval.  Little of what the series would entail has been revealed.

Casting for AKA Jessica Jones announced.
David Tennant joins the cast as the villainous Zebediah Killgrave, also known as the Purple Man.  Tennant joins Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones and Mike Colter as Luke Cage.

Who you gonna call?
Meet the new Ghostbusters for the gender-flipped remake.  Melissa McCarthy has signed on while negotiations with Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon are ongoing.

Fushigi Yuugi gets stage treatment.
The manga and anime, Fushigi Yuugi is making the transition over to the stage.  Fushigi Yuugi, which translates as Mysterious Play, follows the adventures of Miaka as she falls into another world filled with magic and danger.

Indiana Jones reboot may be in works.
Disney bought the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise and are looking at Chris Pratt as the eponymous hero.  Pratt is going to be busy…

Chris Pratt in talks for The Magnificent Seven remake.
The remake of The Seven Samurai is being remade.  Denzel Washington has already signed on for the remake.

Harper Lee releasing a follow up to To Kill a Mockingbird.
The sequel, Go Set a Watchman, features Scout Finch as an adult.  The novel had been written during the 1950s, but was set aside on the advise of Lee’s editor at the time.  The new novel will hit bookstores mid-July.

LEGO announces next licensed set, featuring Doctor Who.
Everything is more awesome in LEGOland as the Doctor and his companions join the massive LEGO line up.  The project just left the judging phase, so it may take some time before the LEGO TARDIS hits the shelves.  Also announced, a LEGO Wall-E set, with the submission made by one of the movie’s crew members.

Stargate reboot movie signs writers.
Roland Emmerich’s reboot/remake of the original Stargate movie has signed Nicholas Wright and James A. Woods as screenwriters.  Emmerich will direct and co-produce, along with original co-writer Dean Devlin.

The Man from UNCLE trailer now out.
The first look at Guy Ritchie’s take on the TV series, The Man from UNCLE, is now out.  The movie stars Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, originally played by Robert Vaughn and should be out in August.  Armie Hammer is on board as Illya Kuryakin, previously played by David McCallum.

Posted on by Scott Delahunt

Didn’t expect to have a news round up so soon after the last one, but several major announcements came out over the past two weeks too good to sit on.  Let’s get to them.

Showtime announces Twin Peaks to return in 2016.
David Lynch is involved through Lynch/Frost Productions.  No word on whether the new series is a reboot or a continuation, but will be a limited series, with nine episodes.  The big problem with the original series was that the network wanted more even after the mystery was solved.  The nine episode limited series will let Lynch tell the story he wants.

Ghostbusters reboot confirmed.
This isn’t the sequel Dan Aykroyd has been pushing for.  Paul Reig, director of Bridesmaids and The Heat, will be working on a gender-flipped reboot.  Joining Reig is writer Katie Dippold, who has worked on Parks and Recreation and The Heat.  Will it work?  Depends on audience reception, really.  The original Ghostbusters was second only to Beverly Hills Cop in terms of popularity in 1984 and both movies took advantage of music videos to get noticed.

LeCarré’s The Night Manager being turned into a limited BBC series.
John LeCarré’s spy thriller will star Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston in the BBC adaptation.  No word on who the actors will play yet.

Lost Sherlock Holmes film turned out to be misclassified.
A 1916 silent film adaptation of Holmes thought lost turned out to be mis-filed by Cinematique Français decades ago.  This isn’t the 1914 A Study in Scarlet that the BFI was looking for, as reported last month, but an American film made in Chicago by William Gillette.  The BFI is excited over the find.  A Study in Scarlet is still being sought.

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy being adapted.
The three books in the trilogy, Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars, will be adapted for SpikeTV by Vince Geradis, a co-executive producer of A Game of Thrones.  Robinson will be on board as consultant.

World Wide Dredd.
A seven-part Judge Dredd web series has been announced by Adi Shankar, producer of 2012’s Dredd.  Shankar has been working on a project featuring the Dark Judges.  The news follows the Day of Dredd campaign to get a sequel to the 2012 movies done.

The LEGO Movie spin-off announced.
LEGO Batman will be getting his own movie.  Will Arnett will return to voice LEGO Batman while Chris McKay, animation supervisor for The LEGO Movie will be the director.  Release date is expected to be 2017.  I am now wondering how well LEGO Batman will fare compared to Superman vs Batman, and would not be surprised if the LEGO version did better.

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