Video-game movie mastermind Paul W.S. Anderson will be directing Buck Rogers, the movie. Thank goodness the screenplay was penned by the Iron Man scribes. But it's still likely to be a disaster of epic proportions.
According to Variety, the basic bare minimum premise of Buck Rogers will stay the same for Anderson's film. The screenplay written by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway will revolve around, "a relatable present-day hero flung into the future."
Sure, we love the Resident Evil saga, which the director both wrote and (in some cases) directed — but Buck Rogers isn't material that can be neatly translated with first person shooter montages where Rogers flies over stars to power up his weapons. Yes, Death Race, we all know you were a video game disguised as a movie.
First, Buck Rogers has taken on many, many forms. From the comic strip, books, radio, the films, comic book reboots to the TV series, Buck has been through a lot. It would take a wealth of knowledge to adapt this character in a respectful manner, and no we're not just talking about throwing in a shameful Twiki reference here and there. And while we think Anderson has a flair for a great action scene, we're not sure how dedicated he truly is to respecting his source material, after AVP and Death Race. Rather, he seems more willing to take the germ of an idea and just go completely left-field with it.
But also, how do you adapt a character that's grounded in the idea that space is infinite, new and full of wonder and mystery? That's old hat now, thanks to Farscape (probably the most Buck-inspired piece of television that isn't a remake), Star Trek, and Star Wars. But Buck Rogers was one of the first characters to help break down those doors. Pair that with the American Imperialism and manifest destiny themes that waft about Buck's world, and you've got the heart of our square-jawed hero. And that just doesn't fly anymore. Those characters are caricatures, swapped out for more realistically complex people, like Captain Mal from Firefly.
As much as I enjoy an exciting romp into the underbelly of Umbrella Corp with Alice, I'm just not convinced that Anderson can reboot this character without it turning into something that barely resembles the original, or getting tangled up in the thorny issues of updating a character who has so much weird baggage, like the "Yellow Peril" thing of naming his alien enemies the "Mongols," not to mention the bizarre sexism. Can it even be done?
But look on the bright side, at least it's not Frank Miller.