The Peter Jackson version

Saw “Guardians of the Galaxy” this evening — a big goofy puppy dog of a superhero film. It’s the kind of movie that comes right up and happily licks your face. A totally enjoyable experience, if you remember to leave any trace of seriousness at the door.

The highlight of the pre-film previews was the promo for the next installment of “The Hobbit”. Not because it was good, but because it was bad in such a peculiar way.

Those of you who live in the real world might recall that Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” was a charming little children’s story, filled with goofy adventures and sly offhanded humor.

Peter Jackson, from what I can see, does not live anywhere near that world.

His new Hobbit movie seems to be even more grandiose and portentous than the first one (that was the one where Sherlock Holmes, playing a dragon, nearly ate Watson). Tonight’s preview had lots of slow motion, shots of serious looking actors in gleaming profile, and leisurely pans across rows upon rows of archers grimly facing the Apocalypse. All very very important.

During the self-serious immensity of it all, my mind started to wander, and I found myself wondering whether you could do this with any source material.

Could we, for example, split “Peter Rabbit” into a three part epic, with all human virtues and vices represented metaphorically by the larger-than-life travails of Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail?

Or what about “The Cat in the Hat”, done in the style of Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”, with the cruel fate of the well-meaning fish standing in for the darkness of the human soul and the terrible injustice that implicates us all?

All of which would need to be told as an epic saga, in gorgeous 70mm, with each installment clocking in at about a hundred and forty minutes. Of course the characters of “Thing One” and “Thing Two” would need to be cut from the screenplay. After all, would you include Tom Bombadil in a movie about the Fellowship of the Ring?

But what I’m really holding out for is the forthcoming epic miniseries — in ten successive two hour installments, shot and presented in glorious stereoscopic iMax, with music composed by John Williams and conducted by the London Symphony Orchestra with accompanying vocals by the Vienna Boy’s Choir.

I’m speaking, of course, about “Captain Underpants: The Peter Jackson version.”

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