Robin Hood is being rebooted AGAIN this week, along with the recent news that Shrek, of all franchises, is recieving the reboot treatment… So in honour (Or dishonour), let’s take a look over the intellectual properties we wish the bigwig corporations would just stop rebooting.
You know what sort of reboots need to stop? Recreations of 80’s films.
Seriously, think about it; has it ever actually worked out? No-one cares about 2014’s Robocop; 2012’s Total Recall was a complete disaster; 2016’s Ghostbusters was about as funny as accidentally pissing yourself in public…
I get why it’s happening though. We’re currently living in a period of 80’s nostalgia, similar to how we sort of had a thing for the 70’s last decade, or indeed how the 70’s had a thing for the 50’s. And nostalgia, when harnessed right, can work well – Classic video game consoles and Stranger Things, for example, are both pretty popular. But do you know what both have in common? They aren’t taking something pre-existing and changing it – It’s either exactly what it was, or it is its own thing entirely.
And that makes sense. You really can’t take a pre-existing property, remake it, and expect to cash in on its old brand recognition whilst hoping to make something new. Especially if the original property is a staple of pop culture. The original will always loom in the background, and the redo will always be compared to it.
But you know how you can get around that? By making the desired property not a reboot, but a sequel. That way you can cash in but still do something new, too. Star Wars, Blade Runner…the follow-ups have been going strong and accepted by the public because it doesn’t challenge beloved memories, but works to create new ones. Continue the story! Unless that story is Baywatch – No-one gives a shit about Baywatch.
Personally, I think the biggest offence of reboot culture is…. Ta-dah! The DCEU!
To explain; the DCEU came when Warner Brothers and DC realised the MCU was making absolute bank and that the superhero blockbuster was at the peak of its’ popularity, yet they hadn’t any plans to cash in. So, they found Man of Steel, a mediocre-at-best Superman movie, lying behind the couch and decided this would be the basis around which they build their millions. One soft reboot later and here we are: it’s shite and it’s making the general public get bored of everything DC. There could have been some brilliant standalone, say, Flash or Wonder Woman movies (In fact, the only reason ‘Wonder Woman’ is any good is because it has fuck all to do with the rest of the franchise), but instead we’re stuck with this.
But what does this have to do with reboots? Well, I think reboot culture is a symptom of a larger problem, and it’s obvious when you think about it – Entertainment properties have become so stagnant as a result of risk-averse businessmen who want to put all their eggs in one basket and make trillions, that we’re now at a stage where if something could exist longer – could be extended further, or rebooted, or adapted – then it has to happen. It’s not even a question.
If ‘Citizen Kane’ was made today, we’d have a Citizen Kane cinematic universe, culminating in a crossover movie with Casablanca and It’s a Wonderful Life… Because it’s not reboots that cause the problem with reboot culture – It’s the false sense of necessity those in charge of the licences feel towards the art form and the exploitation thereof.
My problem isn’t with ALL reboots but with one little subsection of them. All female reboots. Why this needs to be a thing baffles me… I’m all for women in leading roles but maybe just maybe you could also write a new story that doesn’t desperately leech off of something great. It just comes across like your cast of professional female actors need a crutch to hold themselves up. I mean come on, Ocean’s 8 for example is more or less a shot for shot remake of Ocean’s 11, but the cast? Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham FUCKING Carter?! It’s a sea of faces that can hold their own in ANY film. Women don’t need to be in remakes of male led films. Get some fresh ideas for them to really show their talent!
Okay so I can’t think of a rebooted film I have a particular gripe with. However…. I have heard they are planning on rebooting the Pirates of the Caribbean… Is this needed? I don’t know about you but I really feel they’ve been decreasing the quality slowly over the years… I just can’t see how it’s going to be any good…. Don’t get me wrong I love the films but I think it’s going to take a lot and need to be different enough to hold up!