What worries me about Raimi's take on this material is not so much that it looks a bit like Burton's Alice in Wonderland (as puzzling as it may be that one of Burton's less engaging movies made a billion dollars worldwide, it's even more puzzling to me that a movie I'd call, at worst, minor and harmless inspires such frothing hatred), but more that Raimi's big inspiration was apparently the 1939, ultra-famous version of The Wizard of Oz, rather than the 13 other Frank Baum Wizard of Oz books, which seems like a missed opportunity. Baum's work isn't all gold—in fact, the back half of the series was written largely under duress, as the other books he wanted to write wouldn't sell. But there's a rich vein of weird fantasy stuff that could be adapted into new movies; Disney themselves tried once before, with 1985's grim, somewhat tedious, but visually striking Return to Oz. Given all of the other sources, borrowing the iconography from a beloved classic movie to which Raimi doesn't even have the rights seems like a fool's errand. But Raimi's had fun on fools' errands before, so maybe this will have that Spider-Man craft.
There's something to be said for this level of perfectionism, but I wonder what Tarantino would make of someone like Michel Gondry, whose level of productivity hasn't quite reached Steven Soderbergh levels, but certainly doesn't seem precious about potential imperfections. In the 12 years or so of his big-screen career, Gondry has directed seven fiction features (The We and the I is his sixth, with his his seventh, Mood Indigo, coming out in Europe in a few weeks, and hopefully in the US later this year); two feature documentaries; and continued the music video work that got him noticed in the first place. Compare this to Spike Jonze, who has done plenty of videos and shorts but over a slightly longer feature-directing career will have made four movies, assuming Her gets released this year. So far, Jonze has basically made three great movies; his batting average probably exceeds Gondry's. But Gondry has the funding or the drive or the restlessness, whatever it is, to give us a new movie every couple years, sometimes even more often.
Obviously, prolific guys like Gondry and Soderbergh aren't really what Tarantino's talking about—but even more puzzling, he's talking, implicitly, about guys like Spielberg or Scorsese or Woody Allen, ok, probably also Francis Ford Coppola. But Spielberg and Scorsese have done extraordinary late-career work (and Woody has had his moments), and I'd hate for Tarantino to deny us similar work from himself because of some weird self-imposed statute of limitations on his talent. I don't think Michel Gondry is in danger of taking advice from Quentin Tarantino, but I'd like to take the release of The We and the I as opportunity to say I love it when directors keep working, both in volume and over a long period of time, even if not everything they produce is an extra-special event (and for me, a Gondry movie, even if it's the first of two this year, kind of is anyway).