I'm done being surprised when it is announced that Robert Zemeckis will make a 3D motion-capture adaptation of (insert beloved property here). Zemeckis has blazed the trail for this technology with his last three films. He believes it is the future of filmmaking, and I agree to a certain extent -- if practical filmmaking is insurmountable to the artistic vision of the film(e.g. the Na'vi in James Cameron's Avatar).
I didn't get my computer generated underwear in a twist with his previous films, and I was more puzzled than shocked when he hopped on The Beatles bandwagon and decided to remake Yellow Submarine -- pssst, in 3D motion capture... Sssh but don't tell anyone, cuz it's not a secret. But I believe that the line was crossed, my eyes glazed over and the numbness began when he declared he would be using his favorite set of tools on the live-action characters in the sequel to his beloved 1988 classic, Roger Rabbit. The film was already groundbreaking in its day, and due to the world in which the story is told, still holds up PERFECTLY. Like Venkman wrote in his article, and as 100% of the commenters echoed, the magic of that film is the coexistence of the live-action and 2D characters. Not 3D animated characters and 2D animated characters. REAL, living, breathing, get arrested if you touch them inappropriately... people.
If you looked me in the eye, and told me, "Robert Zemeckis is going to make a 3D motion-capture animated film about a homeless man taking a dump on the side walk." I would believe every word of it. I may ask, "Is that all the film is about? Yes? Ok, that sounds about right." I'd also probably inquire if he was gonna use the uncanny physical and emotional capabilities of Doug Jones(Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) to bring to the fecal matter to life -- if someone could do it, it'd be him(I mean that in the most respectful way).
So it doesn't pain me, and it will most likely not surprise you(imagine me pointing at you), that Zemeckis has his sights set on satisfying both his Christmas and motion-capture fetishes with an adaptation of The Nutcracker. Zemeckis knows the Christmas movies are practically sure bets. His latest, the adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Chrismas Carol, isn't fully raking it in at the box-office, but as Pajiba points out: Christmas movies tend to have a lot of box-office legs (last year’s Four Christmases debuted with a similar $31 million opening weekend and went on to gross $120 million — and it didn’t open until Thanksgiving).
Zemeckis' take would not be an adaptation of the popular Tchaikovsky ballet -- even with the ballet dancing, it still scared me as a tot -- but rather a more faithful adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original novel, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The film will be a period piece, set in 19th century Russia, which will explore how the cursed Nutcracker character came to be and the battle between the dolls and the mice.
If all goes through, this will not be the first big-screen adaptation of The Nutcracker. Back in 1979, there was the stop-motion version called Nutcracker Fantasy, starring Christopher Lee. In 1990 there was a traditional animated versioncalled The Nutcracker Prince, featuring Kiefer Sutherland. Neither of those come close to the $200 million budget that Zemeckis' Nutcracker is sure to have. As intrigued as I am with this news, my mind is occupied with who Zemeckis will get in the motion capture suit, to portray the homeless man taking a dump.