Monday, August 27, 2007

An Open Letter to Stephen Sommers

Dear Mr. Sommers,

Rumor has it, you have been tapped to helm the upcoming G.I. Joe live-action film which is currently being fast-tracked into production after the success of Transformers, another 1980s Hasbro property. While it's safe to say Michael Bay is no Steven Spielberg, you are no Michael Bay. You're not quite Uwe Boll either. You're somewhere in the middle. And that still has a lot of us worried.

Now, good sir, we're all well aware of your previous work. You scored big with The Mummy. We can all respect that. It's not a smart film by any means, but it's pretty fun in a Saturday matinee kind of way. Then you gave us The Mummy Returns. Not only did you go back to the well, you loaded it with sugar and caffeine, bottled what was in there and sold it to the mass audiences like a hip new soft drink. While it certainly gave a fair number of audience members a rush, indicated by its box office draw, it left most people with a headache.

Then there was Van Helsing, which, despite giving us ample Kate Beckinsale cleavage, was once again all style: zero substance. How could someone with Universal's entire catalog of monsters create such an ADD-addled mess of a film?

And now there's G.I. Joe. A property that has, if you think about it, been a hot commodity for half a century. It could be a high-octane, nostalgia-fueled thrill ride like Transformers, or it could be, well, like your last few films. Transformers could stand to be a little lax on characterization because they're, well, robots. These characters, on the other hand, have intricate backstories that could work as well as X-Men on the big screen...if taken seriously. I, like anyone else that tuned in to the show day after day until we had those cheesy PSAs memorized, merely ask you to resist all of your previous instincts and take your time with this one. A generation will thank you.

Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

Best regards,
James Wortman

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