Thursday, June 20, 2024

There’s No “Spider Man” Without Julie Taymor; It’s Her Vision


No one wants to stand up for Julie Taymor. “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark” has played 100 previews, and mostly received poor reviews for its book– or lack of one. But if Taymor exits the show–as has been suggested today–it would be a terrible mistake. “Spider Man” is her show. Anyone who comes in will have to face that fact. The flying, the costumes. the sets, the 3D comic book life of the show-all belong to her. The tragedy in this is that Taymor, like most creative geniuses, may¬† have gotten lost along the way. She needs a collaborator–an editor, really– to shorten the first act, create a cliffhanger, and rearrange TV Carpio’s wonderful Arachne so she joins the plot organically and isn’t a speed bump in Act One. Can “Spider Man” be saved? Yes, easily. But in its transformation I wouldn’t want to lose the flying, the breezy fun of Green Goblin, or the Sinister Six beauty pageant. The best of the latter is the scientist who turns himself into a giant lizard. The great fun of “Spider Man” is still in Taymor’s vision. Lose that now and the show’s main purpose will be gone too. One more thing: I am a big U2 fan and have great respect for Bono and The Edge. But let’s not forget, when “Spider Man” debuted in November, they were on tour. It’s almost not fair to come in at this late date and blame Taymor for the show’s inefficiencies.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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