Your Kids Don’t Know About MARMADUKE or THE BERENSTAIN BARES But Here’s Movies for Both of Them

     November 3, 2009

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Still mining for the flakes of properties with name recognition, the 55-year-old comic strip “Marmaduke” and the 47-year-old “Berenstain Bears” children books are getting movies.  Like everything that kids find interesting, parents or grandparents will have to sit their children or grandchildren down and use the introduction that holds every child’s attention, “Back in my day…”  Hit the jump to go beyond nostalgia and slam into old-person crabbiness.

THR reports that Owen Wilson (your grandparents don’t know who that is) will provide the voice of Marmaduke, “the rascally Great Dane… a slobbery pooch who creates chaos wherever he goes.”  I assume that when they said “chaos”, THR meant “comic mayhem” since “chaos” would imply the terrifying existentialism of uncertainty.  If that’s the direction the live-action/CG movie is headed, then I take back my skepticism.  Joining Wilson are Judy Greer, Lee Pace and William H. Macy as Marmaduke’s human family, while Fergie, Emma Stone, George Lopez, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Steve Coogan, Damon Wayans, Marlon Wayans supply the voices of the characters.  I know all of them grew up with “Marmaduke” in that these people grew up around newspapers which contained the “Marmaduke” comic strip.

But if anthropomorphic pets aren’t your cup of tea, may I interest you in anthropomorphic bears?  USA Today reports that Shawn Levy, a director who couldn’t find imagination with two hands and a flashlight, is producing a feature film based on the “Berenstain Bears” children’s books.  Like “Marmaduke”, the film will also be a live-action/CG hybrid because completely live-action would be delightfully horrifying and completely CG would make too much sense.

Says Levy, “To stand that kind of test of time is pretty formidable.  People read them as kids and can now read them to their kids. Any piece of culture that proves that enduring has something special in its DNA.”  And now those parents won’t have to read those books to their kids because it will be a movie.

“Marmaduke” is set for a June 2010 release while “Berenstain Bears” is being fast-tracked to hit theaters in late 2011.  Hopefully, your elders will be too busy playing pinochle to notice.

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