berenstain_bears_covers

It is as if each successive news item along these lines was a more challenging trial. Seriously, considering a rash of these recent cash-in film announcements is like staring down a gauntlet that would make a pack of Vikings cry. First there’s the Mattel stuff: Battleship (which I’ve heard talk could be a lot better than anyone expects, but I remain skeptical) and Barbie. Then we get Owen Wilson cast as Marmaduke, the dog that doesn’t talk except when he’s in a big, pointless movie. And now this: my favorite director, Night at the Museum‘s Shawn Levy, is producing a movie about bears that dress like people.

Walden Media picked up the rights to make a film based on the Berenstain Bears books, and has tapped Shawn Levy to help make the live-action and CGI hybrid movie. “It’s a warm-hearted comedy about family, and a different kind of family,” he says.

OK, Mr. Levy, here’s your plot: A group of furries is at a party at Dragon*Con when their human pyramid (built for simple fun, not as any sexual thing, you pervert) collapses on top of a couple of bear cosplayers. Struck with amnesia, they stagger out into the mean streets of Atlanta, clutching three child-size stuffed bear cubs. They know they’re different, but just accept it, and wonder why everyone else can’t just live their own lives. It’s Where the Wild Things Are with all the crying replaced by Calvin and Hobbes-like interaction between the adults and their imaginary kids. You’d just have to adapt the two stories pictured above.

But, no, that’s probably not how it will go. Levy tells USA Today that he wants the movie to be like Elf, with earnest heroes surrounded by the cynical everyday. “I think the movie will be witty but never sarcastic,” Levy tells the paper.

Walden Media CEO Michael Bostick says the bears will get “a slight makeover to bring it into the three-dimensional style, but we’ll embrace the core design elements. It’ll be a slightly modern spin on their look.”

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