Sorry for the poor quality video, but do you how much trouble it took me to even FIND a posting of this opening that was embeddable? Thanks for nothing, YouTubers! Seriously, all the good videos had the embedding disabled. ALL OF THEM!
But the question that really gets me upset today is “how the hell do you make this edgy”?
Ask the Weinstein Company. Writer and director Cory Edwards, currently working on a movie adaptation of Jim Henson’s kids show Fraggle Rock, recently went to his blog to inform Fraggle fans that there may be a hitch in the works.
Fraggle fans, I am trying to keep the torch lit for all of you. But we are going to have to weather a few more storms. There are some dark days ahead, my friends. Not to be too alarmist, but I am struggling to stay in control of my own movie at this point. The Weinstein Company gives me no confidence these days. Why?
For starters, they have begun the search for a new writer, presumably to rewrite my entire script from scratch. Now I’m a big boy — I can take the blow if my skills are not up to the high, high standards of the Weinstein Company (he said with too much sarcasm in his voice). But this is happening behind my back, without consulting me or even asking my opinion. I enjoy working with other writers and have no doubt that the RIGHT person could help make any script better. But to not even ask me? Adding insult to injury, the search is basically an open assignment. This means the net has been cast wide, virtually posting in the “classifieds” of the movie business. The Fraggles do not deserve such treatment.
Look, if the movie company wants a new writer, fine. I really don’t know what the etiquette or protocol are in this situation. Maybe a different writer is needed, and they felt that Edwards wasn’t up to the task of writing a movie based on a property that still targets 7-9 year olds via DVD and comics, plus the series upcoming return thanks to The Hub (the reformat of Discovery Kids in October).
The only overall note coming from the studio is this: “Not edgy enough.”“EDGY.” That’s the note. That’s what they are trying to do to the Fraggle Rock movie. EDGE it up! Let me say right now that “edgy” is one of my least favorite words. Since my earliest days in the client video business, “edgy” has been a sign of someone who doesn’t know what they want. Not only is “edgy” a nebulous, abstract word that means something different to everyone, but it chases the immediate whims of pop culture. WHAT is edgy?? Faster edits? Rock music for the score? Boober wearing some gangsta bling? I have no idea. What I DO know is that the word “edgy” should not be anywhere near this movie.
Good question. Fraggle Rock was about exploring the world around them and seeing the wonder in the world and in everyone else. It was fun, occasionally adventurous, musical, and colorful. It wasn’t dark, it wasn’t gritty, and it sure as h e double Doozer sticks wasn’t “edgy” or “hardcore” or whatever term Hollywood producers love to throw out to prove they have their fingers on the pulse of America. (Box office figures and ratings often tell a different story.)
Edwards later linked to this video, reported to him by a fan.
You’ll want to go to the last few minutes, and realize that would have sucked. Woody was a jerk, closer to a villain than someone you felt sorry for about being replaced as Andy’s #1 toy. Not only is it NOT what we’ve come to love about Pixar films, but it’s just terrible. There’s even a supposed punk rock cover that loses none of the innocence and fun of the Fraggle Rock theme song. “Edgy” as described in the above video is nothing close to Henson’s vision.
See, Hollywood has been screwing up nostalgia properties left and right, but the kids properties have been suffering even more. Heck, Transformers and Scooby-Doo are STILL kid targeted, and look at those films. Revenge of the Fallen was all sex, explosions, and more explosions. In the original draft of Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and Scooby were druggies and Velma was an open lesbian. As it is, we still get Daphnie the Vampire Slayer (complete with Sarah Michelle Geller) and evil Scrappy-Doo (because the adult fans hate him).
I don’t need the all-knowing Trash Heap (nyeah) to tell me that a kids show should be for KIDS!
I also want to give a shout-down to Robert Haffeman at Heavy.com, the site I first heard about this. In his article, he both defended Edward’s position and took a swipe at him.
It’s hard to figure out whose side to take on this one. On the one hand, really Mr. Weinstein, you want the puppet movie to be more edgy? But, on the other hand, Corey’s blog post is the whiniest, most self-pitying, melodramatic drivel you’ll read today. So let’s start by picking on the bigger kid: who was running things at The Weinstein Company when they bought the rights to Fraggle Rock looking for something edgy? Fraggle Rock was on HBO, so maybe the Weinsteins were expecting the singing puppets to be in a story more like Rome or True Blood? Were they disappointed there was no reverse-cowgirl Mokey-Boober sex scene? Hung is doing pretty well, but do we really need a Fraggle gigolo? Actually, I bet this Toy Story/The Wire mashup is exactly what they’re looking for. (Coincidence they axed Edwards right after that video came out? I think not.)
In the next paragraph, he even claims Edwards needs to “grow a pair” and rags on him for creating a Christian music video show, oh the horror. And calling him “emo”? This is emo.
Or at least a comical exaggeration of emo, but nowhere close to defending a kids show against the anti-kids show mentality that turned Land of the Lost into a Will Ferrel movie, Transformers into something that probably shouldn’t be watched by the target audience of the toys, and don’t get me started on former family-friendly works like The Dukes of Hazzard or Battlestar Galactica.
Maturity doesn’t come with growing up. I’ve seen more mature kids shows than some grown-up shows.