Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Ghostly Film

Stuck in development hell for many years, highly secretive at one time and constantly delayed, DreamWorks' B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations has gone full steam ahead... You could say the film was truly a ghost!

Back in 2009, B.O.O. began life as a "Super Secret Project" slated for a fall 2012 release... That was, if it got the spot. Two other films were runner ups for the holiday season of 2012: The Croods and an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Truckers. Funny how none of those films even got the spot, one came the spring after and the other... Well it's presumably dead in the water at this rate.

Later on, this film about ghosts' thoughts on humans became something different. It was about a not-so-scary ghost going back to scare school, with Boo U as the title. Seth Rogen was attached to voice the main character in the summer of 2010. Then DreamWorks' nightmare came in mid 2011, when Pixar had announced that their follow up to Monsters, Inc. was going to be set in college, a university called Monsters University! We didn't hear much about Boo U after that, until last autumn when DreamWorks unexpectedly unveiled their new upcoming slate, the film was placed in the September 2015 spot with a new title and premise that had nothing to do with a "scare school". Inevitably, it moved a months back taking the early June spot from Trolls and sending that film to the autumn of 2016.

Now, we have the official logo for the film and a plot synopsis. Melissa McCarthy is also now on board, an expected move from DreamWorks considering their tendency to cast big names.

Animation historian Jerry Beck spilled the news on IndieWire's Animation Scoop a few days ago. What's the plot? Well...

"B.O.O. (Bureau of Otherworldly Operations) is the super classified agency you've never heard of and certainly never seen. Dedicated to protecting humans from evil hauntings, the agents of B.O.O. have a secret weapon: they are ghosts themselves! When newbie agents Jackson Moss (Seth Rogen) and his odd-ball partner Watts (Melissa McCarthy) uncover a plot to destroy B.O.O. by the agency's Most Wanted Haunter, they must use every trick in their arsenal to defeat his powerful ghost army and save Earth from a ghostly fate."

While I do like the plot, it is a bit too similar to DreamWorks' own Rise of the Guardians. The whole idea of ghosts protecting humans from evil hauntings does ring a bit familiar, since the titular Guardians protected children around the world from nightmares. Not saying it's the exact same thing, but there is a slight similarity there. Other than that, the idea sounds like fun and it should make for a different offering from DreamWorks. Maybe it'll tread into some darker territory, which the studio did experiment with in both Guardians and some of their recent fare like Kung Fu Panda 2.

The film will be helmed by Igor director Tony Leondis (he also came up with the concept), written by Tom Wheeler (ABC's Empire, Puss in Boots) and produced by Maryann Garger (a DreamWorks veteran who produced Flushed Away). It's good to see it moving forward...

B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations in theaters nationwide on June 5, 2015. What is your take on this project from DreamWorks? Does it sound exciting to you? Or not? Sound off below!

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