To Reboot or Not to Reboot?
We’ve only just entered 2015 and already it looks like the beginning of another year of box office smashes. We continue our Marvel journey with The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the next chapter of the Divergent series with Insurgent, and most people, myself included, are expecting massive things from Disney’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens to name but a few.
Now the movies mentioned are part of an ongoing story. Sequels that continue our cinematic journeys with characters that we know, which help to draw you into the whole experience and make you want… need to find out what will happen next.
But there is another type of movie that has become very frequent over the last few years, and one that I feel needs addressing… the Reboot. Over the last few years it seems that we can’t get through a calendar year without the cinematic audience being bombarded with yet another movie from the past being remade, and it seems like 2015 will be no different with The Fantastic Four and Ghostbusters in the pipeline. Now I’m all for recycling, however is it all getting a little bit too carried away?
Now I’m sure that a lot of you by now are ready to get the pitchforks out and run me out of town, burn me at the stake, or maybe just do something more modern and write me a strongly worded tweet. But before you do that let me make my case.
I’m going to mention two perfect examples of why reboots should be carefully considered and not done to just fill a gap. Firstly let’s talk Robocop. The original, which was made in 1987, starred Peter Weller (recently of Sons of Anarchy) and Kurtwood Smith (That 70’s show). The remake from last year starred unknown Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight series) and Michael Keaton. Set in a corrupt and crime ridden Detroit city, Officer Alex Murphy suffers a terrible accident, which leads him to becoming a part man, part machine crime stopper. Now while some of the story follows a similar line, the differences drive a huge wedge between the two versions, splitting them as two separate movies and this is where the problems begin for me. Much was changed in the new film, which for myself and others that I’ve spoken to, it turned what was a potentially exciting remake into nothing more than a cheap rip-off. A standalone production that while having excellent effects and a good enough cast of A-list stars, lacked in any soul. Even my 15 year old, who I encouraged to watch the original first, agreed that the reboot didn’t hold a candle to Wellers’ version.
Now for my second example, Total Recall. I am a massive Arnold Schwarzenegger fan, my dad practically raised me on his films including Twins, Running Man and of course The Terminator. This film was about Doug Quaid who, after having an artificial memory placed in his head using a company called Recall, started to remember things from his past which lead him to the planet Mars and conspiracies affecting the colony there. It had great action, good special effects for the year 1990 and cheesy one liners which were a given with any Arnie film. Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale starred in the reboot from 2012 and, as with Robocop, some basic elements were kept the same. But it was when they started to think the film was big enough to walk on his own two feet the problems began. For me Farrell wasn’t a strong actor to take the character of Doug Quaid and make it his own and in the words of a friend, only Beckinsale stopped the film from being terrible. Again, huge special effects were in this effort but they only acted as supports to prevent a movie collapse. I could list more things with both of these film which ate away at my memories of the originals but I will leave it there so you can digest what’s been said. I’m sure that any one of you could think of a film, animation or TV series that you could relate to the point I am making.
Now you may not agree with what I’ve said, that’s the great thing about this, it’s just an opinion. These films may have made it as average new concepts, but since they jumped on the backs of their predecessors to try and get ahead, they needed more momentum for when they tried to walk for themselves instead of stumbling along. Now I’m all for giving modern audiences a taste of some of the best films that have come about in the history of cinema, in fact I encourage it, but what’s wrong with watching an original classic that was made back in the day? I know that the older films may not have jaw dropping special effects that can blow your mind, stunt scenes than are choreographed with unbelievable precision and I’ll admit the acting wasn’t always the best, but that’s part of what made them great! Let’s face it, where would we be without films like Back to the Future, with hover boards and a flying Delorean. The slow moving animatronics of the iconic Star Wars films, or the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters.
I’m not against all reboots, far from it, especially when well planned. I just believe there should be a certain amount of time before the Phoenix can rise from the ashes. The Dark Knight was a great example of how something can be done right if it is given the time and care that is required and it’s the best Batman since Keaton’s, repairing the damage caused by the efforts from Kilmer and Clooney.
Now if you’ve stuck with me till now, maybe you understand exactly what I’m saying and I thank you. But if not, I hope that you enjoy dancing along with Fame, or maybe even enjoying the Lindsay Lohan classic Herbie.