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Is the world ready for Akiva Goldsman rehab?


Geoff Boucher at the LA Times does a good job convincing people that screenwriter/director/producer Akiva Goldsman, given his other, more recent achievements, should be forgiven for writing the script to BATMAN & ROBIN — a movie so wretched it singlehandedly made Hollywood realize that if they kept making superhero movies this bad, the planet would crumble into barbarian chaos.

He recently directed the season premiere of the Fox series “Fringe” and is now lining up his feature-film directorial debut. And despite having written what is perhaps the most reviled comic-book movie adaptation of all time, he’s aggressively pursuing his childhood love of superheroes as the producer of five movies based on Marvel or DC comic books.

The article contains much info on Goldsman’s love of comics, his strong work with JJ Abrams, and plans for such movies as THE LOSERS and JONAH HEX. But then there’s this:

Goldsman won’t exactly apologize for the film [B&R], but he comes pretty close. He said he is proud of the effort put into it and weary of the conversations about its merit. He did learn a lesson from the film. “What got lost in ‘Batman & Robin’ is the emotions aren’t real,” Goldsman said, picking his words carefully. “The worst thing to do with a serious comic book is to make it a cartoon. I’m still answering for that movie with some people.”

And there, in a nutshell is why there can be no rehab for you in the hearts of fan boys, Akiva! Sometimes you leave a turd behind you. And the best thing to do is to say “Oh crap, that was a turd! What was I thinking! Ha ha, good thing I’m a grown up, and am totally continent now.”

  1. Goldsman isn’t solely to blame for BATMAN & ROBIN being cartoonish. The Wikipedia entry for the movie describes director Joel Schumacher as repeatedly reminding the cast, “Remember everyone, this is a cartoon.”

    Ii have a tough time taking youthful sidekicks seriously. If the hero’s exploits are supposed to be dramatic, then the teenager will be repeatedly thrust into situations that he’s not emotionally or intellectually mature enough to handle. Making him an intellectual freak or old before his time clashes with his youthfulness. If the main motivation for writing the sidekick is that the hero is cold, distant, aloof, etc., and needs someone to talk to, then the rational solution is to find an adult confidant. The absence of realism in the superhero-sidekick relationship is probably why some people see homosexuality in Batman & Robin and why other people prefer campiness.

    Suspension of disbelief is necessary for enjoying a fantasy, but caricatures aren’t routine elements in fantasies.


  2. I don’t think Goldsman’s rep can be rehabilitated because he keeps writing lousy movies. A Beautiful Mind…I have no idea what the Academy Awards were thinking but if that’s the best we can do to tell a story about schizophrenia and the life of John Nash, we’re in deep trouble. It was intellectually insulting, emotionally manipulative pablum. It did well because Ron Howard somehow makes that kind of crap seem wholesome. And don’t get me started on I am Legend and I, Robot…

  3. I find it amusing that “Batman & Robin” is almost always cited as the nadir of Akiva Goldsman’s writing when his scripts for “Batman Forever”, “Lost in Space”, “Practical Magic”, “I Am Legend”, and “I, Robot” are just as bad, if not worse. The fact that he won an ACADEMY AWARD for that cinematic abortion “A Beautiful Mind” actually gives the whole of Hollywood a bad name. Think about that statement for a moment. HE gives HOLLYWOOD a bad name. HOLLYWOOD.

  4. Goldsmith’s work on Fringe isn’t enough to redeem him either. I’m not sure what happens with that show – I love Fringe but it was co-created by the two guys who co-wrote both Transformers movies. In fact I made myself watch the first Transformers movie (in spite of all of the warnings I’d been given and my general feelings of unease towards anything I’d glimpsed about the movie previously) based on my love of Fringe and my enjoyment of the new Star Trek movie. It seems to me like Fringe succeeds in spite of some of the creators involved rather than because of.

  5. Just checked IMDB… he’s involved with an “I am Legend” prequel.

    Wasn’t that covered in the movie?

    Reading the book synopsis on Wikipedia, this version is pretty awful. I felt cheated after watching it in Imax.

    As for “I, Robot”, Harlan Ellison’s script would have made a better movie.

  6. While Batman & Robin was indeed a horrible film, I can kinda see how it might have seemed cool on paper. I mean, imagine just reading the screenplay. You’ve got Mr. Freeze! Poison Ivy! Bane! Plus Batgirl and Robin! You would think, “I can make a movie out of this.” But unfortunately Schumacher directed, and I think the movie is more his fault than anyone else’s. Plus it was poorly cast. I mean, really…Ah-nold as Mr. Freeze?

    Of course, I say this without actually having read the screenplay. It’s possible it’s even worse than the finished product, I suppose.

  7. Yeah, I don’t hold him totally responsible for the horrible B&R. And reading from some others who worked on that film, after all the terribleness was written about it, and they still were proud of their work on that film. I think Joel had more of a hand in it than he, but who knows…

    In any case, working on a movie is hard. Everyone just tries their best, tries to get along and get it made under unique circumstances, sometimes it works, sometimes it comes out like the crap that is Batman & Robin. c’est la vie!

    btw, LOVE Feige’s quote on that article, LOL!! :D

  8. Lost in Space. I, Robot. I Am Legend. A Beautiful Mind (it was shit). Practical Magic. The Da Vinci Code. Angels & Demons.

    Fuck him.

  9. Funny, Batman Mask of the Phantam and the animated series were cartoons, but they were ten to a thousand times better films and Batman adaptations than Batman and Robin. Maybe I’m nitpicking on the term ‘cartoon’, but I’m sick of Hollywod types using the term so negatively, especially when trying to cover their asses.

    Really, Batman and Robin was so far off the mark, I still can’t trust the guy. Yeah, he wasn’t solely to blame, but I’d say he and Shumacher take the major blame. I still don’t get how you can be that out of touch with what you’re working on. This is one movie that needs to be put.. “in the coolah”.

    And yeah, he’s also got Lost in Space, I, Robot, I Am Legend, Constantine and another of turds also on his list. Plus the whole controversy over the white washing of characters in his Oscar winnder A Beautiful Mind. Nope, still not trusting the guy. I might have to not avoid his stuff because he sometimes get to work with people with better ideas, but I still don’t like seeing his name. Like watching Fringe and seeing his name, I do still have a little urge to turn it off. Yet other creative forces are on it and he might not totally mess up characters I like this time.

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