Greetings, Geek Cinema Enthusiasts!
This week I’d like to opine on the reboot trend in Hollywood these days. When most nerds hear that one of their favorite old films are getting the “modern treatment” most get on the the internet and list their grievances with the proposed project the minute the news hits the streets before a director or cast is announced, while others remain optimistic that the re-birth of Classic Nerd franchise might revive the public’s interest in something they hold dear and lead to more of what they crave, such as action figures, comic book tie-ins and T-shirts.
With the recent reboot of Total Recall not exactly getting a lot of love from fans or critics, it’s a fine opportunity to get into the sticky subject of SHAPPY’S RULES OF THE REBOOT!
RULE #1 STOP WASTING GOOD VILLAINS!
This is something that has bugging me since the Joker fell off the Gotham Cathedral in Tim Burton’s first Batman movie. Why kill off Batman’s most awesome foe in the first movie? I get it, these are fictional characters, but wouldn’t it have been cooler to keep the idea that the Joker might return in a future Burton-helmed Batman sequel? Isn’t it obvious that Burton had more fun with the Joker than Batman in that film?
This applies to a lot of superhero films where the director feels the need to kill off villains for “dramatic impact”. They killed Green Goblin in the first Spider-Man but that kinda makes more sense if you are familiar with the Spidey universe. But, why bother putting a Gwen Stacy character in Spider-Man 3 when you already used the Spidey vs. Goblin on the bridge scenario (in which Gwen plummets to her death) in the first film? Why didn’t this summer’s Spider Man re-boot bring the Green Goblin into the mix? It is a re-boot after all! I guess the logic was to bring another classic Spidey villain to get fans into seats, but why not do the Gwen Stacy story right from the get-go? I heard that recently Marvel got the rights back for Galactus and Silver Surfer from Fox so they might keep the rights to make another Fantastic Four sequel. Praise Kirby that went down because I can’t think of a bigger waste of a villain than turning Galactus in a cosmic dust-cloud!
RULE #2: STOP “MODERNIZING” THE HERO’S COSTUME!
With the exception of Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy can you even stand to look at any of the ’90s Bat-Suits? And why does Superman need a costume upgrade? Part of the reason Chris Reeves’ Superman stands the test of time is because he’s wearing blue tights and not some b.s., shiny polymer. The more you “modernize” a classic superhero costume, the more you are making that costume tied to the year or decade that movie is released. The Green Lantern costume already looks like a Schumacher nightmare! Stick with the tights, I say!
RULE #3: WHY NOT GIVE THE WHOLE FILM MORE OF AN “OLD SCHOOL” LOOK?
I know that once a “property” or “franchise” is given to a director that the director wants to put his take on the big screen but, more often than not the vision of the director is to entirely change everything that made us love the original in the first place. For example, Burton’s Planet of the Apes not failed to capture the charm of the original films by overdoing the whole “modern dark” look and ignoring the “groovy retro” look of the original. One of the reasons Rise of the Planet of the Apes did so well, in my opinion, is because it actually fits into the original films. Not only that, it is full of Apes “easter eggs” and nods to the original series. It’s one of the few reboots that actually respects the fan base that made the originals so successful in the first place.
Another film that pulled this off in a winning fashion is J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, which really set the bar for reaching out to the multi-generational fanbase of Star Trek. Both of these films had a “old school” feel to them because they took such great care in doing more than just throwing the fans a bone, they gave the fans an entire skeleton to examine! I also think that TRON: Legacy would have made more sense if they had kept the Beta version from the original more in place.
RULE #4: WHY RE-TELL THE ORIGIN STORY?
Why did we have to wait an hour before seeing Spidey in action in a re-boot? We all know by now how Spidey got his powers, why go through the whole process again? At least don’t take as much time telling us something we already know. Yeah, yeah, you gotta establish character, etc., but at this point even 3-year-olds know how Spider-Man came to be!
RULE #5: WHY SO SERIOUS?
The biggest complaint I’m hearing about the Total Recall reboot is that it’s too dark and has none of the fun elements of the original. Why take on a property known for it’s fun action and humor and sap all of the fun out of it? The same could be said for Clash of the Titans, that took a fun mythological romp and turned it into a CGI barf stain. How dare they throw Bubo the Owl into a trash heap! I don’t understand the need to take out the lighter elements in these re-boots. Is it because of the general mood of the country these days? Why does everything have to be so dark and gritty in sci/fi and action films these days?
That’s all this old nerd has to say for now, but I welcome all of you to offer up your own opinions on the re-booting of your personal favorite films and properties because this train is gonna keep on rolling! Get your ass to Mars!
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