Captain America has existed on celluloid in many forms. It was adapted to a 1944 serial, then a 1979 made for tv movie and finally a feature film in 1990. Now it’s back to the silver screen for the Cap, slated for a 2011 release. But what ever happened to that ill received 1990 version? It was recently the #1 video on Hulu! (Watch It Here) This free to view release is obviously a way to get Captain America back into the minds of the masses, but what does its acclaimed b-movie director Albert Pyun think about his film’s new found glory? “The film is not being well received nor was it when it was first released. This is another of those films that had some painful financing issues (or lack thereof) and was eventually taken away from me in post and re-edited. I’ve tried for years to get Tri-Star to allow me to release my version which I have in my possession on original 35mm picture and 35mm mag soundtrack. Now I’ll have to petition Paramount to allow my director’s cut version, which is very different than the released version, to be posted online for free.“, says Pyun.
-THE OLD AND THE UGLY-
Even though the poster says “Coming Spring 1990 To Theaters Everywhere” it never happened. In fact it took the movie two years before it was released in 1992 on home video. The reason? Test audiences absolutely hated the film, with good reason.
The movie was made on absolutely no budget. According to Pyun, “We had enough to shoot the opening of the picture in a proper fashion. The rest of the picture was hit and miss as there was literally no reliable cash flow.“. That’s a pretty standard issue with b-movies. Then again perhaps it was simply a product of its time. Have you recently tried to rewatch Tim Burton’s original Batman film? The dialogue and acting are so cheesy it’s hard to get through without a few chuckles. Imagine that film made on a shoe-string budget, without Burton’s trademark art/set design it would have been unwatchable. Perhaps it is easier to relate Pyun’s Captain America to the Roger Corman produced 1994 version of The Fantastic Four. If you do that though, you have to take into account not just the fact that these films have the same look and feel, but that Corman had around a $1.5 million budget. Doesn’t that make Pyun’s work seem not all that bad?
-HIT THE RESET SWITCH-
Hollywood has had success with many reboots in the last decade. From Batman Begins, Fantastic Four, Fast & Furious, and Star Trek it’s easy to see why studios want to hit the reset button on most any franchise they have. If you’re questioning if reboots are smart business, just ask James Bond. Sony is rebooting Spider-Man due to issues with the script, but ultimately that makes the new film cheaper and it still has the same built-in audience that Spider-Man 4 would have had. Not to mention no one thinks Spider-Man 3 or 2 are better than the original.
What chance does this new Captain America have? I think we’ll find out when casting is announced within the next few weeks. Of course they have a real budget this time and have already hired Joe Johnston to direct, who I believe to be completely capable of taking this movie to the next level. I think the truth behind reboots is that beginnings are always better than endings. In other words, when the going gets tough, just start over.
Albert Pyun Quotes Sourced From: