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Like everyone else, every now and again, I think of a movie or a television adaptation that just seems so perfect that I can’t imagine that it’s never actually happened (Jack Kirby’s Mister Miracle as a Saturday morning TV animated show!), and internally convince myself that I am some undiscovered genius of the medium. And then, like last night, I accidentally imagine what would be the worst comic movie possible.
I know what you’re thinking: “In a world where Elektra and Catwoman exist, can anything imaginary even compare with those two horrors?” If I were thinking of a comic book movie, I might agree – Actually, no I wouldn’t; just imagine Zack Snyder directing an adaptation of Grant Morrison’s The Filth for a second and you can guess at the depths yet to be plumbed – but the horror that popped into my head from out of nowhere is actually based on a comic strip. And not just any comic strip: The most famous comic strip of them all. Just imagine the following:
Peanuts: The Movie. Script by Dave Eggers, based on characters created by Charles Schultz. Directed by Michel Gondry, with a CGI Snoopy voice-acted by Bill Murray.
There are just so, so many things wrong with this idea – Not least of which is the idea of a live-action Peanuts movie in the first place – but what terrifies me is that it’s not impossible. After all, we’ve seen live action Garfield and Marmaduke with CGI animals – complete with Bill Murray voiceover on the former, in fact, and we’ve also seen the unadaptable being adapted and expanded when Dave Eggers and Spike Jonze took Where The Wild Things Are and made it into the ideal movie for hipsters looking to feel nostalgic about their unhappy childhoods. Tintin is being made into a mo-cap movie that seems to replace the essential sparseness and space that made Herge’s art so distinctive in the first place, and it was only the failure of Mars Needs Moms that made Disney think twice about allowing Yellow Submarine to be remade.
It’d be nice to think that no-one would ever try to make the Peanuts movie that horrifies my imagination at this very moment, but the fact that there’s a “new” Peanuts animated special doing the rounds, adapting existing Schultz strips just makes me feel as if it’s only a matter of time before the strip becomes the focus of some well-intentioned “prestige” attempt to bring it to the screen that goes terribly, terribly wrong. Maybe we can get up a petition to stop this from happening before it’s too late.