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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Keanu Reeves is Spike Spiegel

Is this the beginning of "Cowboy Beebop's" slaughter? Last July it was announced that 20th Century Fox had aquired the rights for "Cowboy Beebop" and that Erwin Stoff was producing.

He sounded pretty sincere in creating a film that was true to the original creators' vision. That sincerity is only elevated with the recent news that the series' creators and writers, Kenji Uchida, Shinichiro Watanabe and Keiko Nobumoto are involved with the films' production. But that doesn't erase the fact that Fox hasn't made a decent flick in the last few years. Do we really want them adapting a legendary anime such as "Cowboy Beebop?" They're adapting "Dragonball" and as dumb fun as it looks I can't see it being any more than just that: Dumb fun.

Will Fox rape "Beebop" in to an over-explosive, under-dramatic extravaganza of mediocrity like "X-Men: The Last Stand," "Fantastic Four," "Alien vs. Predator," "Babylon A.D." "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and "X-Files: I Want to Believe?" (See? I didn't even mean for that list to be so long-- I consider that the short list of Fox's bad flicks.)

Worries about "Beebop" aside, lets focus on Reeves as Spike for a moment. First I want to mention I do not hate Keanu Reeves like so many out there. I don't fully understand why he's hated. He's no Oscar winner, but I can think of far worse talents than he. The man has plenty of screen presence and a dramatic voice (albeit, comical out of context) that works for most of his roles.

That said I'm not sure if I can see him as Spike Spiegel. A part of me sees where Stoff is going with this, but Spike isn't always a low talking downer. He talks big sometimes. He's even a little cocky. Envisioning Reeves spitting out some of the lines Spike utters in the anime is just... painful.

With only announcements beginning to surface for the film, it's clear that it's too early to tell whether or not it will be worth the sweat off my brow. "Cowboy Beebop" is one of the greatest animated achievements I can think of. If Fox fails at this, it seems the closest we'll get to a great live action "Beebop" will be Joss Whedon's "Firefly" and "Serenity."

Full speed ahead Fox.

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