Sunday, May 15, 2011
Will Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld Couldn't Make a Go of "The Wild, Wild West"...But Ronald D. Moore Can??
I've heard of wishful thinking....but this is ridiculous!!
It was the summer of 1999. Will Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld (and Tomme Lee Jones) were hot off of their success from "Men in Black" from a couple years earlier. For their next project, Smith and Sonnenfeld decided to tackle a big budget remake of "The Wild, Wild West." Though Smith and Sonnenfeld are extremely talented men....they just couldn't make a go of "The Wild, Wild West." Whether it be the script or the casting, the 1999 remake of "West" just didn't catch on with audiences. I for one believe that part of the problem was that the movie took itself way too seriously regardless of the infrequent humorous moments. Though Will Smith made a great James West, he just didn't have any chemistry with his co-star, Kevin Kline.
Will Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld are a couple of the brightest and top talents working in Hollywood today, and if they couldn't make the "Wild, Wild West" work, neither will Ronald D. Moore and CBS-TV. Here's a wild notion. The "Wild, Wild West" doesn't need to be remade at all. Robert Conrad and Ross Martin were so brilliant in their roles (to the extent that both of them were born to play West and Gordon), that no one cast in those roles today would ever be able to measure up. It isn't just that. "Wild, Wild West" was made during an era in television when imagination and inspired thinking was exploding all over the television screen. It's unanimously agreed upon by media historians that the 1960s was the most creative and inspired decade in television programming. From "Star Trek"....to....."Batman".....to "The Time Tunnel.....to....."Wild, Wild West." The western was also at the top of its game. Creative environments such as this bring out the best in people inspirationally and creatively, and it also causes the best people to come along to produce television series. "Wild, Wild West" creator Michael Garrison was no exception. He came up with a brilliant idea and pitched it to CBS-TV as...."James Bond on Horseback." He inadverdently created a unique genre with his idea. The Science Fiction Western. The "Wild, Wild West" was (and is) a damn good television series both because of the brilliance of Michael Garrison, and the era in which it was made.
Part of the problem with Ronald D. Moore's career has been that he keeps being handed these "big ticket remake concepts".....and he just isn't up to the task to successfully pull them off because he lacks imagination and inspired thinking. And quite frankly, Ronald D. Moore just isn't brilliant. There is no way that Ronald D. Moore could ever pull off a successful remake of this wildly imaginative and brilliant television series on two counts: (1) Ronald D. Moore just can't compete with the brilliant series itself and (2)...Ronald D. Moore just can't compete with the era in which the series was made. As a viewer, you literally did not know what was going to happen next in these episodes because they were so well written. The producers and writers quite frankly took you on a fantastic journey in every episode. A Ronald D. Moore "Wild, Wild West" would contain all of his bad habits as a scriptwriter, and be stuffed with mundane, present day scriptwriting conventions. In other words....a Ronald D. Moore "Wild Wild West" would not delight you or pleasantly surprise you in the slightest. His only lifeline would be to rewrite all of the original episodes from the 1960s and make them worse.
Ronald D. Moore's other road block is...two men infinitely more talented than he is (Will Smith and Barry Sonnenfeld) tried to remake "The Wild, Wild West".....and failed.
Posted by Languatron at 5:09 PM