Why, not? I’m a glutton for punishment.
Because of what I do, I’m probably plugged into fandom at least a bit more than the average Joe or Jane Human. This, along with following social media, allows me to see fan reaction to various genre news in as close to real time as is reasonable or even healthy for anyone who’s not in whatever room where and when the decision is made to pursue “rebooting” a film or TV property.
This week, we had news and rumors on a couple of fronts with respect to “reboots,” which used to just be called “remakes” and for a time carried the moniker “re-imaginings” before enough of us looked at the pretentious dicks using that term and they went back to “reboots.” As expected, the fan community was its usual passive, accepting, open-minded self upon receiving said news and rumors, which is to say that a pretty decent number of people comprising that community lost their goddamned minds.
In one corner, we learned that the oft-rumored Ghostbusters remake appears to be moving ahead. Rather than being a direct sequel to the two previous films–the most recent of which was released 26 years ago–it instead looks as if it will be a fresh take on the idea that will feature an all-female cast. That’s right: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon will attempt to pick up the proton packs left behind by Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson. Murray himself has said he thinks the idea has potential, and even name-checked Wiig and McCarthy months ago when asked about which actresses might make a great all-lady Ghostbusters squad.
Over in another corner, the first teaser trailer for a new take on the long-running Fantastic Four comic series dropped, prompting a variety of reactions from fandom. You know, the usual gamut of feigned disinterest to apoplectic seizures laced with accusations of childhood raping, and so on and so forth.
The one that really seemed to get some people’s undies bunched, though, was the rumor floated about Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) possibly donning a particularly famous fedora, leather jacket and bullwhip for a new round of Indiana Jones adventures. This bit of gossip follows an earlier thread from last year, when talk began circulating that Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) was being considered for the role.
What was my reaction to these bits of news and other, unsubstantiated jibber-jabber?
Ghostbusters: I’m okay with a new take on the franchise. Last year was the 30th anniversary of the original film, which Kevin and I proved (much to my wife’s horror) that we’re still able to quote line for line from start to finish even without the aid of subtitles or other prompts, and it remains a favorite. That said…it’s been 30 years, man. A redo isn’t such a crazy idea after all this time.
Fantastic Four: I was never a reader of the comics, thought the most recent attempts to bring it to film were decent (first movie) and “meh” (second movie), and therefore am all “Whatever, dudes,” so far as a new version goes.
Indiana Jones: I love Harrison Ford and always will. Raiders of the Lost Ark is an unqualified classic, and I’ll never not want to watch it. If Ford announced he was up for another go at the role, I’d be there opening day, because Indiana Fucking Jones, people. But, it was never a question of if Hollywood would ever see fit to restart the Indy franchise but when, and if it’s gonna happen then I think a guy like Chris Pratt might just pull it off.
My only real observation, if anybody’s listening, is that I don’t think any new Indy movies need to be a “reboot” in the sense of starting over with the character. Just have new adventures set in the 1920s and 1930s and even beyond, assuming the films are successful and Pratt (or whoever) sticks with the role, and maintain the continuity established by the Ford movies. As for Pratt, I knew almost nothing about him until Guardians, and now I’ll be watching him in Jurassic World (speaking of restarting franchises) with an eye toward how he might do as Indy.
“Fortune and glory, turd blossoms!”
In general, I tend not to get too wrapped around the axle when something is remade or rebooted. Stories get retold and reinterpreted for new generations all the time, and it’s been happening since the beginning (example: “Bible, The,” et al.). Remakes, reboots, prequels, and sequels don’t fail just because they’re remakes, reboots, prequels, or sequels. It’s all in the execution. For example, they rebooted one of my favorite franchises a few years ago (Planet of the Apes), and not only was the redo good, the second film in this new sequence, last year’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, was my favorite flick of 2014.
Of course, last year also saw an attempt to restart Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character with Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. While not a total blowout, it did underperform, which means we’re probably not going to get another one anytime soon. That’s too bad, as I’d have gone to see another Ryan movie with Chris Pine.
And don’t even get me started on the rebooted RoboCop.
Which brings me to my one real quibble when it comes to these sorts of films: When the people behind the project either don’t really know why they’re doing it (aside from money, that is), or how they plan to distinguish themselves from what’s come before. I also admit that I get leery whenever I hear a director say “I was a huge fan of _____ when I was a kid, so this is a dream project for me,” and then the finished movie arrives and it’s a lump of shit possessing little or none of the fun, heart, and soul of whatever it was that made the original so beloved. Granted, this is a subjective reaction on my part and I’m not speaking for anyone but myself. Still, that sort of thing tends to bug me.
Even with all of that, I’m generally okay with the notion of a new take on a story. Just entertain me, is all I’m askin’. It’s the same expectation I’ve levied for each new incarnation of Star Trek, Star Wars, James Bond, Superman, Batman, and on and on and on. If I dig it, then great! Everybody’s a winner. If I end up not liking what you give me, there are always all those other stories to revisit. Don’t worry about me; I’ll be fine. Besides, there are also plenty of other non-reboot/non-remake/non-prequel/non-sequel stories out there to read and watch. I’ve got plenty of choices.
What say you? Where do you stand on this stuff?