I doubt 2016 turned out the way Will Smith hoped (“SAME,” shouts the rest of the world). Suicide Squad proved to be as derided as Superhero Face Punch, and Collateral Beauty was totally insane and didn’t make much of an impression at the box office, either. This following a 2015 in which Focus was a dumb movie and Concussion also failed to set the world on fire. And before that it was 2014, when he starred in Winter’s Tale, a breathtakingly bad movie. Before that was After Earth and, well, you see where this is going, yes?
Will Smith doesn’t make good decisions. Not professionally, that is. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that the formula that worked for him in the Nineties doesn’t work anymore. Smith made a deliberate decision back then to primarily make broad, crowd-pleasing films like Hitch—as opposed to less commercial but more impressive work such as Six Degrees of Separation—and it worked at first, making him one of the biggest stars in the world. But Smith either has really bad luck or bad taste, or both, because over the last decade, his strategy of picking crowd-pleasers has led to some really bad Will Smith movies.
He’s going to try his luck next with Disney and their live action Dumbo remake directed by Tim Burton. I know that sentence doesn’t make any sense at first, but if you just read it seventeen more times you will eventually begin to understand. Disney has turned making live action reboots of their classic cartoons into a cottage industry, and, drunk on power, they’ve decided that Dumbo is their next victim. Tim Burton, of course, was body-snatched years ago but Pod Person Burton is trying so hard, it’s best to just let him keeping trying to emulate the real Tim Burton. You know, the guy who made Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood.
I’m sure they’ll go the Jungle Book/Beauty and the Beast route and use motion capture and animation to “play” the elephants and other circus animals but who Will Smith is playing—Geppetto? Jiminy Cricket? DUMBO? Will Smith IN a Dumbo movie is nonsensical enough. Will Smith IS Dumbo is almost as insane as anything else that has happened so far in 2017.