Werner Herzog’s Requiem for a Steamboat

“Steamboat Willie” has been in the public domain for less than a week, but it seems that Werner Herzog is already eyeing a very dark remake.


In the desolate, dystopian future, our world has descended into utter chaos. Humanity teeters on the precipice of annihilation, overwhelmed by another pandemic that has transformed most into ravenous creatures. The merciless beauty that once was now inspires terror.


At the heart of this nightmarish and merciless panoramalies the remnants of a once-thriving Gulf Coast, now a desolate haven for survivors. Here we find Mickey Mouse, hardened by the harsh realities of this new world and piloting a decrepit steam river sidewheeler. Life continues to be a ceaseless struggle against the chaos that surrounds us.


As Mickey navigates the treacherous waters, his cheerful whistle provides a stark contrast to the grim realities that surround him. The boat’s three haunting toots serve as a chilling reminder of the dangers that lurk in the shadows. Those silent predators of our existence, patiently waiting to pounce upon the unsuspecting. They are the unsung terrors that shape our fears and fuel our nightmares, hidden from the light of day.


Captain Pete, a former politician who rules with ruthless, iron-fisted authority, emerges from the abyss, imposing his fascist rule on the desperate survivors aboard the vessel. He orders Mickey off the bridge, but our hero, seasoned by years of struggle, retaliates with a defiant gaze, refusing to bow before Pete’s oppressive regime.


Mickey, much like a dormant volcano of dreams and desires, is driven by the indomitable human spirit, determined to conquer and endure. He believes that by confronting this darkness, we can grapple with the very essence of our existence and gaze into the abyss of the unknown.


Pete’s attempt to exert his dominance takes a sinister turn when he tries to eliminate Mickey as a threat. In a harrowing skirmish, a primal dance of chaos and desperation where the boundaries of humanity and savagery blur, Mickey narrowly evades Pete’s attack.


But in the process, Pete accidentally injures himself. The incident fuels Pete’s anger and intensifies his thirst for power. For anger, like a relentless tempest, can consume the soul and distort one’s perception of reality and create a wellspring of destructive impulses.


Below deck, the remnants of a shattered society lie in tatters, a grim reflection of the world that once was. Mickey falls into a bucket of water, mirroring the depths of despair that have consumed humanity. The bucket is a yawning chasm that swallows the hopes and dreams of civilizations with a relentless undertow that threatens to pull us into the void.


A parrot, a relic of a forgotten world, mocks Mickey’s plight, a cruel reminder of the world that has been lost. In a burst of fury, Mickey hurls the bucket, but it’s the world itself that remains unyielding. Failure is a relentless companion on the journey of life, a shadow that walks beside us, often unnoticed until it looms large.


Captain Pete, a despot with unchecked authority, assumes control of the steamboat. His cruel habits persist, symbolized by a chew of tobacco and a malicious spit into the unforgiving wind. But in this harsh world, even the skies turn against him, and his frustration only deepens. Captain Pete fails to realize that frustration is the wilderness of the mind, an unforgiving terrain where our ambitions often wander lost, searching for elusive trails to success.


The steamboat docks at Podunk Landing, a forsaken outpost where desperation and danger await. Mickey’s struggle to secure a reluctant cow echoes the constant battle for resources that defines this new world. This cow, with its innocent gaze and endearing presence, emerges as a gentle sentinel amidst this existence. Its placid demeanor serves as a poignant reminder that even in the bleakest of times, there exist pockets of pure, untainted beauty. In this creature, we find a fleeting respite from the relentless struggle of life, a momentary escape into the sublime.


Amidst the ruins, Minnie Mouse emerges, her motives obscured by a shroud of secrecy. She races against time, seeking refuge on the boat, her desperation hidden beneath a veneer of hope. Mickey’s failure to see her arrival until the last moment is a testament to the mistrust that defines those living in this dystopian existence. It is an affliction born of despair, a gnawing suspicion that lingers in the air like a storm cloud. There is no Dubble Bubble gum in this world. In this barren landscape, the absence of that innocent, sugary delight serves as a haunting metaphor for the erosion of our collective innocence.


As the boat sails into the never-ending darkness, Minnie reveals a ukulele and sheet of music, remnants of a bygone era. However, a starving goat has other plans, and eats the sheet music. The goat has mischievous eyes and a sprightly demeanor. It emerges as a whimsical enigma. It is in the goat’s unassuming charm, its playful prancing, that we find a unique allure. Unlike the serene innocence of the cow, the goat is a paradox of curiosity and caprice.


In the depths of the night, Captain Pete’s authoritarian rule becomes unbearable. He condemns Mickey to a relentless punishment – peeling potatoes. Potatoes, humble and unassuming, are the silent witnesses to the human condition. They sprout from the earth, gnarled and unadorned. Yet, beneath their unremarkable exterior, potatoes are a manifestation of resilience, an emblem of sustenance found even in the harshest of environments. They mirror the enduring human spirit, thriving in adversity. They carry the weight of our history, our triumphs, and our struggles.


Within the potato bin, the parrot reappears, a harbinger of betrayal that will plunge the survivors into further despair. Mickey, pushed to the brink, hurls a half-peeled potato at it. This parrot, a seemingly inconsequential creature, is a poignant metaphor for the human spirit’s indomitable yearning for freedom and autonomy. In this act of defiance, we confront the absurdity of our existence, challenging not just the parrot, but the very confines of this world.


We hear Mickey’s laughter, a bitter echo of a world that once knew joy, reverberate through the haunted corridors of the steamboat. It serves as a defiant reminder that even in the darkest of times, our spirits can endure.


A spirit that endures is a testament to the profound tenacity of the human soul. Yet, in the face of such endurance, there exists the enigmatic allure of Black Forest cake. It is a decadent indulgence, a fleeting pleasure that momentarily eclipses the stoic perseverance of the human spirit. Black Forest cake is the ephemeral delight that reminds us of the fragility of our desires, offering a temporary respite from the unyielding pains of life. I now find myself in a state of hunger.