Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
“By the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes.”
A few hours ago I was re-linking my movies in iTunes (for some reason iTunes linkages break sometime, though I have suspicions why it happens) when I noticed Jack Clayton’s movie of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.
There’s talk about it being rebooted, and if any movie warranted such treatment, it’s this one. Jack Clayton’s version wasn’t in any way bad, but Bradbury’s novel–it’s been quite awhile since I last read it–was about innocence, loss and young people longing to become adults, without understanding all that such a transition entails.
Which isn’t to say that the movie didn’t touch on those themes, though it did so hesitantly, instead of going for the jugular, so to speak.
Like The Black Hole, Something Wicked This Way Comes was caught in the odd space Disney occupied for quite awhile, when as a viewer you weren’t quite sure who they were making them for. They were oddly schizophrenic, playing a bit too intense for children, yet not serious enough for older viewers.
And speaking of older viewers, Jack Clayton was not the first choice to direct. For awhile there was talk of Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Osterman Weekend, The Killer Elite, Convoy, etc) helming, which would have been a very, very interesting choice mainly because he was accustomed to dealing with violence, more so than Clayton.
Though that doesn’t mean that Jack Clayton’s movie was pretty entertaining, though the idealized world depicted in the movie wasn’t one that I was terribly familiar with.
Hopefully the reboot will have a greater sense of universality about it (and hopefully take place in times closer to our own) though that might have a lot to do with the nature of the novel itself, in that anytime you’re working with a medium based upon imagination, how you envision things is very much a partnership between the reader and the writer.