The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Last year, it was reported that The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie is in the works. So much to consider here. First, there's the punchline of Hollywood endlessly, butterfingeredly remaking things. In-name-only remakes that capitalize on fuzzy memories and brand recognition, while actively tossing out any element from the original that was good. Updated to current times, attitude, dim-witted humor. Other better movies, sitcoms, comic books, toys, anything the public is pre-comfortable with is lumber for the Hollywood remake factory. In recent memory, there was the abomination of the Owen Wilson / Eddie Murphy I Spy, a movie so stupid that I can't remember anything but a dull ache and then the lights of the emergency room. There was the movie no one was asking for, Get Smart, a flat mediocrity elevated slightly by the good sportsmanship of Steve Carell. And there is the other end of the spectrum, franchise relaunches that aim to de-cheese the source material, adding layers of grim mythology and violence, and don't you dare leave out the plodding origin arcs! Endless first-appearance-of, how-they-met, et cetera. Sometimes it works, like Batman Begins and Casino Royale, but mostly it's a chore, like Tron: Legacy. And there is the Steven Soderbergh factor. Attached to direct U.N.C.L.E, Soderbergh has a light and stylized touch that might be the perfect match. It was also revealed that TMFU will be a period piece that takes the concept back to the first-season roots, where the plots were a little less Adam West-era Batman Camp. (Nothing wrong with Bat Camp)...

Of the few details we know, the 1960s setting is the fact that is most interesting, and heartening for me and I imagine many fans of the show. You just can't do the same kind of spying in the iPhone era, and we don't need another series about terrorism. Bring on the tape recorders and the microfilm, the cold war (by proxy through Thrush) was good enough for Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, and it's good enough for me. Something I feel neutral about is the rumored casting of Soderbergh go-to George Clooney, who is overcast and brings an unwavering Clooneyness to his rolls. He's a genuine star but he's never not Clooney, and he might be a decade too old for the role of Napoleon Solo. As much as I hate to say that, as I'm not a fan of casting only with 24-year-olds, it's true. I wonder if George Clooney and Bradd Pitt were a way to get the studio to sign off on the period aspect. If that was the trade, I'll guess I'll take it. But who else could pull it off? Jon Hamm and Chris Pine? That was my first thought. Jon's a decade fresher than Clooney. He might not want to put another period project on his resume, but I'm sure he'd like a starring feature. Chris has the youthy appeal, proven capable in that Trek relaunch. Anyway, it would be a treat if a Man From U.N.C.L.E. flick came out and it was halfway good and not marketed to "the kids" and by kids I mean dumb action movie consumers under the age of 30 who don't remember this show. There's not a big track record for movies of this type working well. I just hope that choppy extreme action is not featured, and a 60s directorial style is used.

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