Saturday, July 21, 2018

If Chrisopher Nolan re-booted MARY POPPINS


FROM: Christopher Nolan
TO: President of Walt Disney Pictures


After watching the original 1964 movie once I know how we could improve this beloved children’s classic and make it relevant for today’s theatergoers.

The color scheme must be grey.  Most of the film will take place at night.  

It is still a period piece but we update it slightly. It now takes place during the bombing of London in World War II. Let’s take some creative historical license and blow up Big Ben and the Parliament building. We have the means to do that in a very cool way. To punctuate the moment cut to an Englishman saying “SuperFUCKINGcalifragilisticexpialidocious!” as a double decker bus almost decapitates him. We can still say two fucks and keep our PG-13.

Bert, the street performer, is a loner with a dark past. Dick Van Dyke was fine for his day but I see Steve Buscemi. He should always be an ominous presence. He himself was abused as a child and we must always be afraid when he is around children.

His fellow street people are all damaged due to the horrors of World War I. There might be some comedy in seeing them act silly as long as we understand it is because they are deeply traumatized.

There will be no singing, dancing, or animation in this new version. Anything to take us out of the reality of innocent people being slaughtered is counter-productive. Modern children don’t want fuzzy bedtime stories. They want to be scared shitless. Let’s do that for three hours.

Mary Poppins arrives. She too has a dark past. Sexual abuse and forced into prostitution has caused her mind to snap. Her sunny optimistic disposition is really psychotic repression. She thought she was applying for position of madame not nanny. but to avoid a savage beating from her pimp she takes the job. Julie Andrews was serviceable for the time. But now we need a warrior. Casting suggestion: Katee Sackhoff as Mary Poppins.

The kids take to her right away. She still has the magic bag filled with wonders that they’ve never seen. But those wonders are dildos and handcuff and cock rings. The kids play with them. We get our heart, our comedy, and our bonding. If time allows, Bert comes over and teaches them how to play doctor.

Keep some of the familiar conventions but justify them. The floating tea party is the result of the children being drugged. The dancing penguins is a bad acid trip. I have some leftover designs for the Penguin in DARK KNIGHT. We can use those.

Keep the scene where Mary takes the kids to the bank to see their disinterested banker father (who has a dark past, by the way) and it turns into chaos. But let the chaos be a bank robbery. Let the children be held hostage. Let their father learn to appreciate his children by seeing guns to their heads. Let Mary impale one of the robbers with her umbrella. Let it go right through him. This starts a gun battle. One of the children dies. That will get the dad’s attention to really love the remaining ones.  Let the dead child be his favorite.  That ups the anguish -- always a crowd pleaser. 

Eventually the family’s home is bombed so there’s no further need for a nanny. Mary moves on thus setting up the franchise for sequels. I have some ideas for how she can clash with Mr. Belvedere but I’ll save those for MP2: THE WAR OF THE APRONS.

As always, these recommendations are non-debatable. Please confirm their brilliance at your earliest convenience so I can get the wardrobe people working on Mary’s armored house dress.




Peter said...

Almost spot on except that Nolan's films are almost always completely sexless and devoid of anything resembling passion and sexuality. Asexual would best describe his films. They're well made and entertaining but as sexy as a monk's Saturday night.

E. Yarber said...

But what about the subplot where Uncle Albert (Jonathan Banks) turns out to have been a mole for the Red Brigades and has Mary kidnapped to Siberia, where she escapes from a deep septic tank into the endless tundra with no contacts or understanding of the language, yet still manages to return to London in twenty minutes only to find that the old lady who feeds the birds (Daniel Craig) has revolutionized the Chimney Sweeps into a rampaging mob who will overturn the social order unless Mary is able to mow them down by indiscriminately running over them in a lethally modified hansom cab? Don't forget we've got to pad this thing to 184 minutes in order to include every note of the Hans Zimmer score.

And after everyone in Mr. Banks' home dies, he sees Mary and Bert downing Dom Perignon on the Riviera so everything's okay.

Janet Ybarra said...

I know this is supposed to be funny, but the sad thing is how it really rings almost true. (Almost because I don't think we've reached a point children would be playing with sex toys in a family film... but, hey, give it a few years the way we are going.

Reminds me of a quote I saw recently: "When I was young and naive, I thought, 'How cool would it be to live in a cyberpunk dystopia.' Now I think, 'I live in a cyberpunk dystopia and it sucks.'"

I'm sick and tired everything has to be a reboot... which is just another word for "remake."

Where have all the original ideas gone? And I know I sound like a cranky broken record, but where have all the uplifting stories gone?

Because too much of what passes for entertainment today seems like it's gotten the Christopher Nolan treatment.

James Van Hise said...

The story goes that the 1964 film was such an enormous hit that in spite of how hated it was by Mrs. Banks, that Disney still had the right to make a sequel. But when he contacted Julie Andrews she wanted a million dollars to do the sequel, which Disney wouldn't do. Disney felt he'd gotten burned in the 1950s when he made a deal with Fess Parker to pay him a percentage of all Davy Crockett merchandise which used his likeness. Parker (and Disney) figured he might make 20 thousand dollars on the deal but Davy Crockett was the first TV show merchandise phenomenon and Fess Parker wound up making about 2 Million dollars just from his small percentage of the merchandising. Disney apparently didn't want to pay anyone that kind of money again, and he didn't in his life time.

Boomska316 said...

Was it the Titans trailer that prompted this? Or something else?

Keith Nichols said...

How do we ring the nutty old sailor guy with the cannon on his roof into this?

Anonymous said...

Sound more like Zac Snyder than Chris Nolan

Anonymous said...

You left out the detail that all of Bert's dialogue is mumbled in a raspy voice and is completely unintelligible.

Charlie said...

Surely there would be Zimmer's relentless jarring music to push us into epileptic seizures.

And then the most important actor you forgot to add - Michael Caine. What's a Nolan movie without his honor Michael "Be patient Black actors" Caine and his painful never ending monologues.

Anonymous said...

I take this Gunn-inspired blog entry as a warning for Jonathan Swift and Paul Krassner not to submit material to the Mouse Factory"The_Parts_That_Were_Left_Out_of_the_Kennedy_Book"

iamr4man said...

Regarding James Van Hise’s comment regarding Fess Parker getting rich off of his 10% merchandising cut, I believe Mr. Parker would have disagreed:

Barrier: You've mentioned that you were under personal contract to Walt. Was that a typical arrangement?
Parker: As far as I know, I was the only person he ever put under [personal] contract.
Barrier: Why did he do that, as opposed to putting you under contract to the studio?
Parker: I really don't know. And when I asked for 10 percent of the Walt Disney's Davy Crockett merchandise, he gave it to me.
Barrier: But that didn't translate into much money.
Parker: No, it did not. When I asked for more money, the late Ray Stark was my agent. So there was the contract I had with Walt, and then a new contract. Things were changed and deals were struck in my behalf that I think basically eliminated their requirement to pay me that 10 percent. I really wasn't aware of it at the time, or if I was, I can't remember it. My background in the film business was very shallow. I was playing very small parts; they were getting better, but they were small parts. I wasn't immersed in the culture.

This is from a pretty comprehensive interview with Mr. Parker done by Michael Barrier. Barrier is an animation historian and Disney Biographer. Anyone who was a Davey Crockett fan in the 50’s would find the interview fascinating I think.

Phil said...

I would love to read a similar take on the never ending Jurassic Park sequels.

And Spielberg milking so much from it as Executive Producer, would have loved to see your snarky sequel idea with Spielberg directing the next one.

Maybe a scene with Spielberg taking a dig at his fallen down enemy Harvey Weinstein.

MikeN said...

Mrs Travers approves.

Diane D. said...

You thought of almost everything, and Anonymous filled in the one thing you left out—the character who speaks in a manner that CANNOT be understood. This is one of the most hilarious posts you’ve ever written, and one of the most depressing because so close to the truth. You must have had a dark past.

Laura said...

Talking about re-boots on a slightly different topic of sequels - the 'Rush Hour' franchise (if you can call that) is set for a sequel 'Rush Hour 4'. And Brett Ratner is getting ready to direct it.

I remember your post during the Harvey Weinstein scandal, where you said all these guys will be rehabilitated because this is Hollywood. Seems true! Ratner's friends are ready to finance the movie and WB has not outright denied his involvement.

So then I guess Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey or even Harvey too will be making their comebacks pretty soon.

D McEwan said...

"James Van Hise said...
The story goes that the 1964 film was such an enormous hit that in spite of how hated it was by Mrs. Banks, that Disney still had the right to make a sequel."

Mrs. Banks was a fictional character. I assume you mean P.L. Travers. And Travers never married. Her children were adopted.

Funny piece. though I never felt Julie Andrews's Mary Poppins was sunny. She was, in fact, a pill. She would take the kids on magical excursions and then scold them for enjoying themselves. I always found the character quite insufferable. She shuts down any fun or romantic feelings Burt might have had also. I've never really much cared for Mary Poppins, though I like the score. (Don't get me started on Dick Van Dyke's "Cockney" accent. Eddie Izzard asked "Is it Australian?")

Janet Ybarra said...

Oh, but I adored Dick Van Dyke in that one and CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG.

After a time I think Dick Van Dyke became way too under-appreciated.

Kaleberg said...

The original Mary Poppins book was even weirder than all that. I'd suggest something more like what Angela Carter and Neil Jordan did with The Company of Wolves.

Brian Phillips said...

Christopher Nolan remakes an old horror movie? Big deal.

McAlvie said...

I remember reading the series when I was a kid, and being surprised that Mary Poppins wasn't quite the way Disney portrayed the character. Oh, all the bits were there, but the general tone was not so cheerful. Certainly not the only story to get Disney-fied, and I like the movie, so I'm not criticizing. If they'd stuck strictly to the book, would the movie have become so iconic?

Given the current trend toward anti-heroes, I think I'm very glad that Disney made the movie back then instead of some studio now.

Stephen Gallagher said...

I was enjoying the ludicrous until Katee Sackhoff and now I just want someone to take my money.

msdemos said...


"Modern children don’t want fuzzy bedtime stories. They want to be scared shitless. Let’s do that for three hours."

Nice.....and here is the concise, three sentences that succinctly says it all....