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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Next up: T.J. Hooker

So it has been brought to my attention that they have made a movie out of The A Team. I’m not really surprised by this. In the first place, I knew a movie was in the works as far back as 1998, when I heard that Stephen Cannell had rejected the current script and was doing a rewrite.

That gave me hope, since Cannell created the iconic four mercenaries and their van. But as the years went by with no word, I gave up. Then they made a G.I. Joe movie in which The Great American Hero was converted to a multilateral international force at the disposal of the United Nations, and my disappointment turned to elation.

If they could wreck G.I. Joe, who knew what they’d be willing to do to the A Team? It was a question I didn’t care to contemplate.

The other reason I’m not surprised that Hollywood made an A-Team movie is that Hollywood hasn’t had an original idea since Jim Henson died. While the first decade of the 21st century may have been a banner year for geekly movie fans, it wasn’t exactly bursting at the seams with new intellectual properties. The biggest movie event of the decade was based on a series of novels written by a man fresh out of the trenches of world war one, for crying out loud.

The A-Team falls squarely into my generational strata, along with Transformers and G.I. Joe. Hollywood isn’t run by idiots, and they know they can’t bring us to theaters with good stories they don’t have, so they’ll push the nostalgia button and cash in on fond childhood memories

(Note: The sole exception to the rule of Hollywood’s brain freeze is Pixar Studios, who I am convinced could make a movie about anthropomorphic shopping carts and still capture the hearts of American audiences.)

Will the A Team Movie be any good? I have no idea. The preview trailer I saw this morning (which would be a couple of weeks before you’re reading this, because I write my posts in advance and queue them up so as to avoid any pretense to relevance) looked promising, but as the gang at the Control Point podcast have pointed out: Trailers exist to get you into the theater, not to help you enjoy being there.

Hollywood doesn’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to leveraging old television IPs into new movies. They either change too much, or they forget why the show was interesting in the first place and be true to a mistaken notion of the spirit of the show.

After doing due diligence, if I still want to see the movie I’ll probably enjoy it more than most people. I’m probably one of three people in the world who enjoyed the Transformers movie, in spite of the fact that they borrowed props from Hellraiser and cast two people clearly in their thirties as high school students. If the A Team movie is at least as good as that, then I’ll be happy.

It’s already better cast than Transformers, though the presence of Jessica Biel casts a bit of a pall over the whole thing (all I can say is she’d better be Tanya, because I don’t think she has the gravitas to pull off Amy). According to IMDB, Stephen Cannel was involved in the writing, and if he maintained any kind of creative control we’ll probably get something good out of it.

I love it when a plan comes together. The question remains, however, will this movie be the cinematic equivalent of Hannibal’s half-pincer movement.

And if you remember what episode that’s from, you’re almost as big an A-Team geek as I am.