My day was going along fine until I saw that my childhood nightmare Barney is coming to the big screen.
And Daniel Kaluuya – of ‘Get Out’ and ‘Black Panther‘ fame – is behind the scenes.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Kaluuya’s new production company, 59%, and Mattel Films will be bringing the big purple dinosaur out of retirement. It is the latest addition to the toy company’s feature treatment, previously giving the go-ahead to ‘Barbie’ and ‘Hot Wheels’ projects.
In a statement, Kaluuya says the project hopes to bring back this childhood figure who “disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood” (hmm… ok?)
We’re excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of ‘I love you, you love me’ can stand the test of time.
Sounds cute, and honestly, it’s a message that the world kinda needs right now. But I’m still confused.
Mattel Films exec Robbie Brenner hasn’t relieved my confusion or concern, saying the project will be a “completely new approach to Barney that will surprise audiences and subvert expectations.”
How do you subvert an imaginary dinosaur? It sounds like the start of a gritty origin story to me.
Actually, if the movie is about a weary Barney training Daniel Kaluuya to become the new Barney, I will watch that
— Chris EvangelistAHHH!!! (@cevangelista413) October 18, 2019
And we’re talking dark. Like, super dark.
But I’m not the only one with concerns.
Someone needs to tell Daniel Kaluuya that the only way to subvert expectations with a kids/family franchise reboot these days is *not* to subvert expectations. Just play Barney as Barney, man. We don’t need a wise-cracking and/or gritty mo-cap Barney or whatever
— Andrew Todds And Monsters (@mistertodd) October 18, 2019
Is this destined to join “Cats” on some future Double Bill from Hell? https://t.co/6B5m2UgR23
— Gregg Kilday (@gkilday) October 18, 2019
It’s the latest reboot Mattel is putting out, joining the list behind ‘Barbie’ – starring Margot Robbie, with Greta Gerwig, and Noah Baumbach – and a live-action ‘Hot Wheels’ movie.
And, yeah, it might be nice to have the nostalgia of the ‘good old times’, but it’s also really exhausting. Whatever happened to original concepts? Characters? Story-lines?
Unfortunately, though, we’re stuck in a contemporary cinema culture of remakes. Where we’re sticking with the sagas’ we know have worked before. Where the cartoons of our childhood are becoming live-action, and the magic of the original is lost by efforts to make it ‘new’ and ‘modern’ again.
And I’m totally fine with re-making ‘Barbie’ to be a woke AF feminist project. Give me a super empowering storyline any day. But, let’s not make things ‘modern’ (and, thus, inherently politicised) for the sake of it. Because sometimes the essences of the classics lie in the ways they were problematic, and twisting and removing that can sometimes take away the original magic.
Or maybe we should stop making remakes that nod to the adults watching them seeking a hit of nostalgia. And maybe live-action remakes of our childhood faves should just be that, remakes of a kids movie.
Maybe I shouldn’t overthink it too much.
All I ask is for Barney to stay in his lane, preach compassion and kindness and friendship, do a dance, sing a song and the kids will be alright.
Image Source: The Hollywood Reporter (Twitter)