Tsk, will these studios never learn? If you have a good idea – and you think it is a really good idea – don’t curse it. Don’t go announce to everyone what a great idea you’ve had. Because now chances are it won’t be a good idea at all.
Point in case: Pirates of the Caribbean. Nobody even thought that would be a hit. It was a film based on a theme-park ride, using Johnny Depp when he was still known more as being a weirdo than a super box-office draw, and going for one of the most unsuccessful genres in movie history, namely the pirate film.
Then it surprised us all, at least partly because expectations were low.
But to now compare your next project to your last surprise hit? Bad mojo, man. Not only that, but you go and pick a project that is already tainted with nasty vibrations.
I’m talking about Don Quixote, the infamous Spanish noble who tried to revive the age of knights by attacking windmills. The two volume work is legendary and one of the foundations of modern literature. It features Quixote, a noble who goes crazy after reading too many romantic novels and decides to right the world by being a knight. As he is delusional, he sees all kinds of evil, including dragons where there are actually only windmills. The real star, though, is not Don, but his ‘squire’ Sancho Panza, a lowly farmer roped into Quixote’s mission, but never left short of a wry comment or observation.
There have not been a lot of film adaptations of Don Quixote, pretty much only a handful. The most famous was Man of La Mancha starring Peter O’Toole. The most infamous was Terry Gilliam’s attempts at making The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a project filled with so many disasters it instead led to a documentary about the experience. This has made the curse of Don Quixote a legend among film geeks.
Gilliam is finally finishing his project, but clearly Disney is gunning much higher.
Now to be fair, Disney hasn’t announced any of this. It’s mainly rumour, but it does come from a good source. The Hollywood Reporter wrote:
Sources say the plan is to adapt the work in a tone the recalls the madcap and fantastical nature of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies, which took a popular Disney theme park ride and married supernatural fantasy elements, creating a billion-dollar franchise in the process.
You would also think that after the unbelievable disaster that was The Lone Ranger (which is actually not a bad movie – it’s definitely no Wild Wild West), people would avoid comparisons to Pirates.
(Fortunately also no base for accusations of white-washing – nobody will care that non-Spanish people are playing Spanish characters. Still, Antonio Banderas’ agent should give them a call. He’d make an awesome Quixote in a swashbuckler film.)
Then again, despite Disney’s great success recently, there is nothing else it can reference. This is not an animated movie, nor a comic book movie, nor a remake or jump-starting the heart of a beloved franchise. It’s actually a stab at making an original blockbuster franchise.
Well, even if it all comes to nothing, now I feel I really should find and read the book.
Last Updated: October 14, 2016