There’s a lot to a film’s title. We’ve been taught from an early age not to judge a book by its cover, but a good title can truly make or break a film, while a great title can add whole new dimensions of meaning to a story. But what about a project that still finds itself in that uncomfortable, inevitable “untitled” phase? In film, they’re usually they’re just given generic identifiers like “Untitled Remezcla Musical Comedy” (not actually a thing) until something more snazzy can be dreamed up. But the latest announced project from The Book of Life director Jorge Gutiérrez gives us living proof that even a lack of title can turn a few heads and start generating buzz long before cameras start rolling. If you’re not going to take my word for it, take a moment to read the following: “Untitled Kung Fu Space Western.”
Admit it, you’re intrigued. What the Mexico City-born director could possibly have in mind with such a flagrantly transgressive genre mashup will be a question for philosophers and poets until Gutiérrez and the Dallas-based Reel FX Animation Studios give us something a little more concrete to work with. What we do know is that the film will follow the charming leader of a ragtag band of space rebels as he tries to save the universe from a bad guy. So far this could be any one of 5000 movies that have already been made, but its Gutiérrez’s predilection for “‘90s Kung Fu films, Spaghetti Westerns of the ‘60s, and the epic Space Adventures of the ‘70s, ‘80s and today,” and his rather insane desire to throw them all in a pot and see what comes out, that could set this project apart.
When it hit theaters last year, the Guillermo del Toro-produced The Book of Life garnered significant critical praise for it’s lush, groundbreaking 3-D animation, and brought the rich world of Latino and Mexican folklore to mainstream American movie screens like never before. Gutiérrez subsequently signed a multi-picture deal with Reel FX, the up-and-coming animation studio behind The Book of Life, and has expressed interest in releasing an entire trilogy of films based around the animated feature. This latest may not be so heavy on the Latino folklore, but I’m sure sure “Untitled Kung Fu Space Western” will be enough hold us over until his next “Untitled Día de los Muertos Animated Musical Adventure” is announced.
Photo Credit: Concept painting by Paul Sullivan for Jorge Gutierrez’s “Untitled Kung Fu Space Western.”