Hollywood owes me a new TV. They made me break my new 50" plasma and I'm mad as heck about it. How did this happen and why? I'm glad you asked. Here's the story:
It's well after midnight. I'm flipping channels trying to find something that isn't an infomercial for the Sham-WOW, Slap Chop, Snuggie or Extenze (I own two of those items and let's just say my wife is warm and happy). I settle on a re-run of Head of the Class, the one with Billy Connolly not Howard Hesseman, because it reminds me of Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day. All is right in the world until all of a sudden, a commercial starts up for a new movie, Night of the Living Dead: Origins. Hot dang! I'm pumped and the commercial cranks up; it's bright, excessively loud and the dude on the screen bears a strange resemblance to Matthew Lesko.
"DO YOU LIKE CGI? DO YOU LIKE 3D? WHAT ABOUT ZOMBIES? DO YOU LOVE ZOMBIES?" the overly-excited man screams. I'm no moron; I own just about every Pixar film ever made, and who doesn't like 3D or zombies? 3D is the cat's meow, the prince's new pajamas, the new friggin' red! Then just as I'm about to nod my head in agreement, the man on TV says "WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ALL THREE COMBINED IN A NEW CGI, 3D ANIMATED VERSION OF NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD?"
*record scratch* I do a double take. "What in the hell?" I say audibly thinking the man in the TV can actually hear me or cares what I think. "Why would I ever want to watch something like that?" I throw the remote in disgust and in the process break my 50" plasma TV. Sounds like something I just made up to over exaggerate my point? OK, fine, maybe a Wii remote flew out of my hand during an overly aggressive Wii Tennis moment but the fact remains; Hollywood is making a 3D CGI Night of the Living Dead origin story! And the kicker is George Romero isn't attached to the project at all.
At what point will Hollywood take a step back and say to themselves, "Just because we can, doesn't mean we should." Is there no end to the horror (pun intended) Hollywood is capable of and just who do we have to thank for this latest thought trophy? Newcomer director Zebediah de Soto, who's sci-fi film War Dog made the Hollywood darling list last year, co-wrote the script with David R. Schwartz. Simon West and Jib Polhemus of Simon West Productions will be producing.
Plans are to give the characters a back story and screw with re-imagine George Romero's original concept of zombies by making it "an American-style anime." I didn't realize that style existed. Oh wait, they have to invent it first. That's right, the very style of animation de Soto and West want to use is still being invented by New Golden Digital, co-founded by de Soto and Gus Malliarodaki. According to Hollywood Reporter:
"The duo created and designed a real-time effects system, known as 'The Beast', which allows filmmakers the ability to direct CG performances the same way they would direct real live actors. The aim of the process is to make tennis balls on a stick representing real people or monsters a thing of the past by allowing actors interact with CG elements as if they are tangible."
That part sound really cool and if the technology works then it could be the beginning of some really interesting films. However, Night of the Living Dead not only doesn't need to be remade but it doesn't need to be remade in 3D CGI. I don't care if they are using cutting edge animation technology to do it.
Zebediah de Soto may very well be a good director, I watched the trailer to his independent film War Dog and it doesn't look half bad. I might have to hunt down the entire film and watch it. Click the picture below to watch for yourself.
Simon West, though, does have a varied directing background, helming action films Con Air and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. He and Polhemus were so impressed last year after watching War Dog they began looking for a project to work with de Soto on. Why they didn't just choose to make War Dog on a grander scale I don't know but unfortunately the trio set their sights on Night of the Living Dead when it became public domain.
What do you think about a 3D CGI Night of the Living Dead: Origins story and the technology being developed to make the film?