This is not breaking news exactly, and had been rumored for some time, but I just can’t let it go without comment. For me, the revelation and subsequent confirmation that Bryan Singer, director of such films as X-Men, The Usual Suspects and Superman Returns, is now attached to direct a Battlestar Galactica movie for Universal comes directly from the ‘WTF?’ department.
Just in case you don’t know what’s happening, yesterday, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Singer signed on the line that is dotted and will direct and produce a “re-imagining” of the classic series created by Glen Larson. I’m just curious what makes him think the best use of his time is to direct a completely new Battlestar Galactica movie?
Before I go on, let me just say that I was a fan of Glen Larson and Universal’s answer to Star Wars when it first hit the air. Heck, I even gave them another chance after the first BSG series was canceled and watched Galactica 1980. That’s how far I go back. Sure, the shows were cheesy and campy, but as a kid I didn’t really care. But now, they seem extremely dated and lightweight — especially when compared to the updated SyFy series.
I’m also a fan of Singer and many of his films — The Usual Suspects and X2 in particular. His work shows a great deal of maturity and polish and he usually knows how to tell a story — especially one that’s written by the very talented Christopher McQuarrie. However, I was also looking far more forward to Singer taking on an updated version of Logan’s Run or even getting back in the chair for another go at X-Men or a Wolverine sequel than to him doing a BSG movie.
Given that, I just don’t understand his decision to do a film based on a property that just completed its very well received run as a television series. A series that many believe was one of the finest ever produced. No matter how “different” his take will be with the film, it can’t possibly come close to what Ron Moore and company did with the property — “angels” notwithstanding. Doesn’t Universal realize what they are getting into? Apparently not.
It would take a monumental amount of effort and creativity for any Battlestar movie not related to the SyFy series to be embraced by fans. I’m sure Universal hopes that Singer will be able to do for BSG what J.J. Abrams and company did for Star Trek. I’m sure they want a new franchise for themselves that appeals to established fans as well as brings new ones into the fold. Sorry to break it to you Universal, but as talented as he may be, Bryan Singer is no J.J. Abrams — at least when it comes to making big screen adaptations of old tv shows.
Not only that, but he won’t have the assistance of screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci who were able to write a fantastic and intelligent Star Trek script and make it appeal to old and new fans alike. Why Glen Larson and Ron Moore can’t just get together and make a Battlestar movie that will blow everyone away is beyond me. Sadly, that’s just not the way it works in Hollywood most of the time.
The truth is it will be at least two years before we actually see a movie from Bryan Singer based on Battlestar Galactica. People have short memories, and even shorter attention spans, so its possible this will be all but forgotten until the PR machine cranks up to promote Singer’s “vision’ for Battlestar Galactica sometime in 2011.
Its also possible Singer will come up with something amazing that will be the ultimate big-screen treatment of BSG. Its possible he may surprise everyone and his movie will be so good we will wonder what all the fuss was about. Sure, pretty much anything is possible. I just won’t hold my breath waiting for it.