Most people know that I am not a big fan of remakes. Now, as someone commented on the site that failed to read the entire article, this issue of Hollywood remakes has many parties that are at fault. I do believe that some projects deserve remakes, while other should be left alone. Then, of course, there is the movie going public that need to spend their money doing other things than watch these films.
This is the first part of a three-part series that will talk about the remaking of everything in Hollywood and who is to blame. Before I start pointing the finger at people, I think it is essential to point out that remaking films and televisions shows can be a good idea. There are three things that warrant a remake:
1) In terms of a reboot, would the project gain from starting over?
2) Was the story limited by the imagination of the initial writers, producers, or directors?
3) How serious would the project be taken by the new writers, producers and director involved?
Now, I know the last one is far-fetched when you are dealing with movie studios that have to worry about making their investors happy, but I think you get my point. Some TV shows and films are in desperate need of a reboot or remake, and many of those movies and TV shows were successful from those remakes/reboots.
The Batman franchise was in desperate need of a reboot. The first two, which some considered classic, were passable as films but by the end were in need of going away for a while. Which it did, but Warner Bros needed to capitalize on the growing interest in comic book films. Enter Christopher Nolan and his vision for Batman.
Some people would consider Batman Begins as a ‘meh’ movie compared to The Dark Knight. True, but you couldn’t have Knight without having Begins. You couldn’t bring the people Knight, when no one was really sure that Begins would even pay off. You saw how the sequel benefited from the success of the original film, and I hope it continues into the third and Nolan’s final Batman film.
2009’s Star Trek was probably, in my opinion, the hardest reboot to do. Here is a franchise that hasn’t deviated from its cannon since its creation back in 1966. The films continued with their television cast making the jump to the silver screen. Each film following the same scenario as the previous and fans knowing that the odd number of films will suck and wait for the even numbered movies to make it to theaters.
Back in 1988, then movie producer Harve Bennett wanted to reboot the franchise and start the fifth film with Kirk and Spock in their academy days. The notion never gained traction with the studio heads and they continued with the forgettable The Final Frontier. Once reboots started to become the norm, Paramount had to figure out a way to bring their high profiled franchise back.
Entered J.J. Abrams. He, and his team, took a step back and tried to figure out how to make the new movie work without making the millions of Trek fans ask for their heads on sticks. They pulled it off beautifully. They made it where everything, most of us, grew up with happened, but an element created an alternate timeline, thus allowing them to tell old or new stories and leaves them open with new and creative ideas. Genius.
Battlestar Galactica was another one of those shows that needed a reboot. News about Universal trying to restart their long-dormant series had been in the works for a long, long time. Between failed attempts from producers like Bryan Singer and lawsuits by Glen Larson, Ronald D. Moore managed to bring the series back with a gritty new realism.
The original series lasted one season and after reworking the show because ABC found it too expensive, they created Galactica 1980, which lasted a short single season. It was cheesy and definitely deserved a reworking given the new creations in CGI and the booming business of sci-fi related stories. Using the destruction of the colonies as the back drop, and using 9/11 as an emotional connection with the audience, the writers expanded and moved it from a villain of the week series to an ongoing series about humans fighting the Cylons.
Most currently, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a perfect example of a studio trying to reboot a franchise that suffered unspeakable harm at the hands of Tim Burton. They took the insanely ludicrous story from their fourth film and reworked (i.e. modernized) the story and used that as a jumping off point. Making nods to the original, very much like Star Trek did, and made it a fun and worthwhile movie to see. Yes, it had its problems but it was a great start nonetheless.
There are enough projects out there than deserve a reboot, but there are many that don’t. I will go over those films and television series tomorrow. However, for today, I think if you get the right team behind it and a group of people that want to acknowledge their fans, you can have a pretty damn awesome chance at succeeding. Of course, we know that there are far more that failed and failed miserable.