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Jennifer Garner’s next move should be an “Alias” movie

Hollywoodnews.com: Why not, right?

Television-to-movie adaptations are the current craze, and have been for the past few years. Hollywood is going back to the archives for “The A-Team,” celebrating present-day hits with “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and looking ahead to future big-screen stories from the “24” and (possibly) “Lost” universe. “Alias,” at the very least, belongs in the conversation.

This isn’t coming out of thin air. The idea came to me after digesting Fox’s recent Blu-ray touch-up of “Elektra” while surfing The Hollywood Reporter’s column asking if movie audiences are tiring of sequels. The answer to that age-old question is yes and no. Most of us didn’t need to see another “Shrek” film, and clearly “Sex and the City 2” ran out of gas before Liza Minelli put the finishing touches on Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies.”

But “Iron Man 2” brought plenty of story material to the table — some would argue too much, in fact — and audience members responded in kind. Sequels will always be accepted if they continue to expand on the overall story being told. Take the fourth “Die Hard,” as an example. It felt like a natural progression for Bruce Willis’ indestructible officer John McClane. A rumored fifth adventure, however, might be overdoing it. We’ll know when we see it.

Why “Alias,” though?

Well, the show (which ran from 2001-06 with a relatively unknown but perfectly cast Jennifer Garner) was nothing short of fantastic. The earliest seasons, which featured Garner’s double-agent character Sydney Bristow juggling a private life and a lethal secret life), were enormously elaborate and entertaining episodes of spy fiction. Character actors Victor Garber and Ron Rifkin chewed the right amount of scenery as Garner’s father and nemesis. And while the show got caught up in a convoluted mythology that led to the series’ ultimate demise, there’s PLENTY of material left on the table to turn Bristow into a big-screen James Bond for multiple feature-length adventures — especially while Bond, himself, languishes in MGM’s financial discontent.

Why now? For a number of reasons.

1. Bond is in limbo.
As we just mentioned, the next Bond adventure officially is TBD. A Sydney Bristow thriller could not only fill the void left by 007, it could potentially replace him on the spy food chain in ways Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt could not.

2. A TV version might be on the horizon
Rumors of an “Alias” reboot on network television are starting to swirl. And while that might not be a bad idea, I don’t think it’s the best idea. A limited budget often affected “Alias” (special effects weren’t necessarily special), and the original cast likely would command a hefty salary bump. Spend the money and do “Alias” the right way … on the big screen. That leads me to this.

3. Jennifer Garner’s a major movie star now. Bradley Cooper is, too.
You already can sell the franchise on two stars — something that couldn’t be said back in 2001 when the show started. Yes, Cooper “Alias” character, Will, largely played third banana to Garner and love interest Michael Vartan. But kill of Vartan’s vanilla Vaughn in the opening minutes, and the door is open to a rousing adventure with Garner and Cooper playing off each other and putting to use the skills they’ve picked up in the motion picture exercises. Speaking of experience …

4. Regular “Alias” directors like J.J. Abrams and Jack Bender have more experience now
Abrams, himself, has become a household name thanks to his contributions to “Lost” and his directorial efforts with “Star Trek” and the third “Mission: Impossible” (which, essentially, was “Alias” with Cruise in the title role). A studio would be more likely to sign off on an Abrams or Bender-directed “Alias” now that the talents have proven themselves in the motion-picture ring.

5. Garner could use a hit.
Yes, the once bankable actress was part of “Valentine’s Day,” which made a boatload of money. But that was an ensemble. Her recent attempts at carrying a film (or sharing the lead with a male co-star) haven’t flown as high as expected. “The Invention of Lying” made $18 million. “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” took in $55.2 million in a summer season. “The Kingdom” scored only $47M, while “Catch and Release” barely earned $15M. A return to the franchise that launched her career could give her current career-track a real boost.

I’m not saying it’s going to happen. But I am saying I want it to happen. And I hope the powers that be make it happen. Soon.

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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  • June 2, 2010 | Permalink |

    I would love an alias movie! But I don’t really see that happening. No Victor Garber? It wouldn’t be the same. And didn’t J.J. already say he was happy with how the show ended?

  • June 2, 2010 | Permalink |

    I would love to see Jennifer Garner in any action movie. Alias would be great. I love Jennifer Garner but I’m getting tired of seeing her as sweet/happy girl in the movie. I want to see Jennifer kick some ass!

  • June 2, 2010 | Permalink |

    First of all, jennifer garner has never been a big movie star… she has never opened a movie in her life. Her highest grossing film, I think, was Daredevil, which was Affleck’s thing. I think she opened 13 going on 30 decently for a romantic comedy but even that wasn’t a hit of any sort. If she was ever going to blow up, it was going to be with 13 going on 30, but it just never happened. Apparently, the 13 going on 30 character, she said, was the closest to her real self.

    Secondly, I thought Alias was way overrated – there was nothing close to reality in that thing. Just total popcorn entertainment. The show was not even a hit in terms of ratings, so I can understand why no one would want to fund a movie based on a cult TV show.

    Also: Jennifer sucks when playing a leading action heroine on screen – see Elektra, a totally uninspired and charisma-free turn. She was good in a supporting role in Daredevil, but even in The Kingdom, she was really off the mark.

    lastly, she has already said that she only works very little now (Valentine’s day took a week to shoot and butter, her latest, took a month… and that’s all she has worked in the past 2 years) because of her family. I doubt that situation is going to change.

    Anyway, she’ll be a political wife someday in the future, so it hardly matters (if anyone has ever watched Affleck on hardball, there is no question the guy is going to be a politician one day). Until then, she should stay away from rom-coms; it is a pity that she’s never offered a good role, because she is actually quite talented – maybe she should try some serious drama?

  • June 2, 2010 | Permalink |

    An “Alias” movie would be problematic for Jen, since it would have to be re-written as a pointless rom-com before she would sign on. And where would they put Jason Bateman?

  • June 7, 2010 | Permalink |

    Yes, please!!! I would love to see Alias hit the big screen.

  • June 16, 2010 | Permalink |

    ABSOLUTELY. Yes, it is true that the series’ ending is EXACTLY how it would have played given character development. But, this was undoubtedly the greatest TV show ever made. Like the Simpsons, it was just layered to the hilt and fun, thrilling and inspiring in so many different ways. If I had to sit through another Shrek, why not Alias? I think all its fans would love to see Sloan and Jack history (there is a hint why Sloan turned the way he did with the Quentin Tarantino episodes) and we’ve opened quite a can of worms with Vaughn’s father. Add Jennifer Garner and it is sure to another genius, longer episode. Even if it never comes about, for all of you who haven’t viewed Alias as episodic (more one in awhile watchers), you will not be disappointed.

  • June 16, 2010 | Permalink |

    Forgot to add, as a credit to Jennifer, what a fantastic job she did as an actress in this film-like product. Take a look at the range of emotions during the Francie eating coffee ice cream scene. The range is all there within 5 seconds. Genius.

  • July 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    PLEASE!!!! I have recently re-watched the entire series and there was some really good stuff there. I mean, it was inspiring and unfortunate that Rambaldi got too much attention. Since 24 is gone, we need another dose of another American hero. Please DO NOT LET ALIAS DIE!!!

  • July 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    I’m hoping they make an Alias movie as well. They could make it so 13-17 years have passed and Isabel (Sydney’s child) is partly grown up. Basically similar to “spy kids” but without all the childish crap. Her daughter can find out her parents were spies and by the end of the movie become one herself… setting ground for an entire new season =)

  • August 27, 2010 | Permalink |

    Alias movie, thumbs up. Jen was great in Alias.
    Would like to know what Jen and her family think of her film futures.
    Best regards to the Afflecks.

  • October 8, 2011 | Permalink |

    I am a bug fan of Jen Garner and the Alias TV show. How can we start a petition to get a n Alias movie. I’m amazed that the fans have spoken in regards to the show Arrested Developement and now not only is the show coming back in 2012 but there will also be a movie. So I would like to know how can we get the ball rolling on an Alias movie.

  • December 27, 2011 | Permalink |

    An “ALIAS” movie would be utter awesomeness! I never believed Jack Bristow was dead (we never saw him die); he could have been thrown clear or had a bad head injury. But if the Rambaldi fluid could heal Sloane, it can heal Jack! Sloane’s little flunkies Peyton & Sark are still alive, as is Isabella Rossellini’s Katya Derevko; perhaps the will dig a completely mad, immortal Sloane out of the Rambaldi tomb, to once more wreak havoc in the live of Sydney, Vaughn and their two children…
    However — and I stress this LOUDLY — if Vaughn is killed off I WILL NOT watch it!!! He is the love of Sydney’s life, her guardian angel, the keeper of her flame. He is so much more than the wimp you seem to think he is (see the episode “Ice from Season 4): He is the other half of Sydney. After all the hell they went through to be together, they deserve theirhappiness!! Long may they LOVE!!!

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