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Suggested remake: The Incredible Shrinking Man 2010

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

by Erik J. Martin

CineVerse dares to ask the question, “what if…”

What if they attempted a modern-day remake of “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” the fondly remembered 1957 science-fiction classic based on Richard Matheson's novel? Here are my recommendations (with tongue planted firmly in cheek):

Dream Director: Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace, Small Soldiers)

Dream cast: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (as Scott Carey), Rachel McAdams (as Melinda Carey), Danny DeVito (as Dr. Arthur Bramson)

The Pitch: What happens when you throw “Twins” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” in a blender on reverse? You get the irony of manly man Dwayne Johnson as a personal fitness trainer who is exposed to gamma rays and suddenly finds himself small enough to fit in wee wife Rachel McAdams’ hand. (Arnold Schwarzenegger would be an ideal first choice for the title role, but he’s a little busy bailing out the world’s sixth largest economy in California in his role as “The Governator” right now.)

Though the original film took itself pretty seriously, the now-comy concept would have to be played largely for yuks in a 2010 remake. (Although the filmmakers would have to be careful not to repeat the mistakes ofJoel Schumacher's directorial debut, 1981's “The Incredible Shrinking Woman,” a "comedy" remake with only a few very small laughs.) Audiences would bust a gut seeing the man-who-would-be-the-Scorpion King sleeping in his daughter's doll house and playing straight-man to DeVito's "Now you know how I feel" one-liners. Plus, the Rock’s close encounters with giant spiders, blenders, lawn mowers and other household dangers would be a great excuse for some cutting-edge FX.

Director Dante knows how to mix shrinking FX and comedy: His 1987 “Fantastic Voyage” sendup “Innerspace” was one of his better films, as was “Small Soldiers.” If Dante's not available, the studio could always turn to Joe Johnston (“Jumanji,” “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”). Johnston also brings a light touch to FX-heavy fare and has the kind of box-office track record (as long as you overlook “The Rocketeer”) that could help convince Johnson and DeVito to sign on, and he’s about to earn a lot more box office cache with the 2010 release of “The Wolfman” remake he’s directing.

Deal closer: Thanks to Eddie Murphy, Hollywood has a new E-Z bake remake recipe: Take one property with name recognition and family appeal (such as “The Nutty Professor” or “Doctor Dolittle”), add tons of special effects and humor, mix liberally with fart jokes and a somewhat past-his­prime star and voila, you've got a hit. The kiddie appeal gives the film even stronger legs on video as well as added merchandising momentum. In fact, the product placements and tie-ins could make or break the deal. A realistic “Incredible Shrinking Man” would require a truly bloated budget, but if the studio could convince The Rock to sign on for points in box-office, video and merchandising, the final pricetag could be held to a doable $100 million.

Bottom line: Admit it: You’d pay $10 at your local cardboard-thin-walled multiplex to watch this with a bunch of hooting kids. Sure you would.

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