Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Great (film) Debates vol. 80

Everybody need a mulligan sometimes.

What movie needs a reboot?

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Immediately jumping to my mind is Lincoln by Steven Spielberg. The sooner the better, please. Also, the remake stinker version of The Manchurian Candidate. I have a simple fix for that one, though. Burn all existing copies including digital versions, and replace them with the wonderful original starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Angela Lansbury.

Panelist: ScottDS

I'd love to see Get Smart given another shot by someone who is actually familiar with the series (and comedy for that matter). I have my own wishlist of things I'd like to see but I'll spare you! I Am Legend also deserves another shot. The Will Smith movie was a colossal disappointment. Fourth time's the charm?

Panelist: T-Rav

I don’t like the idea of reboots on principle. All Hollywood does nowadays is make endless sequels; reboots just encourage them. But if I have to go with one, I would say The Hulk. The Eric Bana one was so bad, and they’ve changed actors I don’t know how many times, so why not? Especially given that character’s renewed popularity since The Avengers, I don’t see how they could possibly do worse.

Panelist: BevfromNYC

I am not sure there are many movies outside the Science Fiction that actually NEED a robot except… oh, you meant REBOOT. Silly me. But more importantly why does the Hollywood brain trust feel the need to “reboot” classic movies? Mildred Pierce was just fine as is. True Grit? Please! Who could do it better than John Wayne?

Panelist: AndrewPrice

I suppose the obvious choice is Star Wars, but they'll probably ruin it. Personally, I'd love to see them do Prometheus again, but this time do it as the story of the engineer they wake up.

Comments? Thoughts?


Outlaw13 said...

Starship Troopers. As a fan of the book, the movie completely missed the point.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, Good call. I'd like to see that one done right!

Floyd R. Turbo said...

I'd like a new third act to The Matrix: Reloaded and then a reboot of Matrix: Revolutions. The "brothers" -- much like George Lucas needed some screenwriting help.

Sticking with sci-fi, I think there's a brilliant movie buried in the pretty good Event Horizon.

Ditto Prometheus which I liked better than most.

Superhero... I liked Daredevil better than most, but there's a Batman-esque story to be told there.

Ditto Hulk.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Agreed. The Matrix II and III had potential and had some good stuff in them, but needed a lot of help.

Event Horizon as well had tremendous potential, including a great idea and a strong cast, but as with so many Paul Anderson films, it just didn't deliver on its promise. Anderson's whole catalog feels that way to me -- tremendous ideas, which are never quite executed right.

T-Rav said...

Yeah, good point. Matrix sequels that actually make sense would be nice.

I suppose I should have gone with The Great Gatsby, too; that way I would look like a freakin' psychic right now.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, The critics are ripping that one apart so badly right now that I'm starting to wonder if there isn't something political/personal about the film they don't like. I would say it can't be that bad... but then, I know better.

shawn said...

"Dune". I enjoyed elements of Lynch's movie, but there were scenes that were needlessly graphic. I did like the voice-overs as the book is full of internal dialog, but I understand that I'm in the minority on that. The Sci-fi mini-series was pretty good, but it's small budget did show. Plus they never pronounced any of the family names correctly and they failed to incorporate any of the internal dialog in some fashion.

And let me second Outlaw13's call for a "Starship Troopers" movie that doesn't mock the source material.

K said...

Starship Troopers.

Third the motion. Not only could they finally do Heinlein's version, but doing powered armored suit SFX now would be trivial.

The only downside being innumerable arguments in the entertainment press about how fascistic the world of the book is.

I'd like to see Red Dawn remade - meaningfully this time and a lot closer to the Milius version - except the main enemy would be Washington commies elected via massive vote fraud and supported by invited Red Chinese "UN Peacekeepers".

Anonymous said...

You could name any movie that was didn't live up to its potential for a possible reboot, though you'd have to take into account a potential audience so that it makes money.

First to mind is the Star Wars prequels and the Matrix sequels, they were two of the biggest disappointing movie events that I can think of.

They recently rebooted Arnolds Total Recall which was ok, but I'd rather they do The Running Man using the Bachman book instead of the movie. It would, if done right be very good, though that is a big if.

Saying all that there should be a law that no universally acclaimed classics should be rebooted. They can whore out the crap, leave the good stuff alone.


Anonymous said...

Jed -

You really don't like Spielberg's Lincoln! :-)

I finally saw it a few weeks ago. I liked it - it was very good but not great and certainly not up there with Schindler's List as far as Serious Spielberg Movies (TM) go.

Daniel Day-Lewis was excellent as per usual but Sally Field's performance reeked of "Oscar!" (not the whole performance, just a few scenes).

Tech stuff was top-notch but I felt there were some tonal issues and that the movie seemed to be following a pattern at times (Lincoln at home, Lincoln at work, Lincoln tells a story, repeat).

tryanmax said...

I really think Gone with the Wind could use a do-over. Just kidding, Bev! #@*% Ow! Ouch! I said I was just kidding!

In light of Film Friday's convo, I think Looper needs a reboot, now that yours truly has worked out all the kinks.

Also, Cabin in the Woods was a neat concept, but I feel like it could have been taken further and the downer ending feels like the writers put themselves into a corner and said, screw it.

T-Rav said...

Should we put tryanmax into Witness Protection? He's not a witness, but he's definitely in danger.

Also, don't spoil Cabin in the Woods for me. I haven't seen it yet.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, it's on Netflix: no excuses!

Tennessee Jed said...

an interesting question: "why do a reboot at all?" I was struck by Scott Anonymous' point that you could call for a reboot of any movie that disappointed you. Well, I won't dispute that, nor dispute the comment of leaving classics alone ..... and yet ..... after a discussion on the Bond blog, I think a good case can be made for rebooting classics in order to introduce a great story and/pr characters to a new generation. And, when you do this, it is permitted to update things so the new age group can relate. As long as they keep true to the essential character and story. As far as Spielberg's Lincoln, I don't want him near history. Nor do I want Doris Kearns Goodwin anywhere near Lincoln. Historian and partisan are two words that don't belong in the same person.

BevfromNYC said...

Okay, I just want to point out that Tryanmax was the one to mention GWTW for which he has been properly kindly asked to refrain with out any harsh physical components. {{{Stop flinching!}}}

Actually The Great Gatsby would be a great film to try and get right. But then maybe it is one of those books that just does not translate well to film. Like Stephen King novels...yeah I compared Fitzgerald to King, so sue me.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, I like Dune a lot, but I prefer the longer version. Not only do I like the added footage, but I think that having them speak the thoughts (and the different inflections they bring with the lines) improves the flow a lot.

I didn't like the miniseries at all.

AndrewPrice said...

K, There was a miniseries like that in the 1980s. I think it was called Amerika, but I'm not sure. They broke up the country into five countries and the Russians were running the peacekeepers. It wasn't a good miniseries though and it really p*ssed a lot of people off.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That would be a pretty decent law.

I agree about the Star Wars prequels and the Matrix sequels. They really are crying out to be fixed. That could be HUGE money too if Disney is smart.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I haven't seen Lincoln yet and I'm in no hurry. It strikes me from what I've seen that it's going to be rather dull.

Besides, I understand Spielberg downplays the vampire hunting parts, and I prefer my films to be historically accurate, dammit!

AndrewPrice said...

"Looper: The Tryanmax Paradox"

Sounds good to me! Actually, I like your ideas on the paradox and I'd like to see someone run with those in a better way.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, There's nothing to spoil in Cabin in the Woods. Dude rents a cabin... turns out it's in the woods. Film ends. Not much more to it, really. I hear the sequel will be called Apartment in the City.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree with your Lincoln point.

On reboots, I think that introducing a new generation is a good reason. Personally, I like the idea of rebooting films that had tremendous potential but never lived up to it as a way to see if you can make something potentially great actually great. I wouldn't bother with the mediocre.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It is noted that tryanmax mentioned GWTW. :)

I haven't seen the new Gatsby, but it's possible that it's one of those books that just can't be brought to film. I think Dune is probably like that, as are most King novels.

K said...

I think it was called Amerika.

Yep. It was ABC's (I think) attempt to make up for "The Day After" which pissed off even more people. As I recall, it was rancid and Krissstoffferson(sp) was horrible in it.

What "Red Dawn" did was to look at the invasion from a worm's eye view - a bunch of high school student partisans, instead of the olympian top down view of "Amerika". Far more effective and inspiring and the way it should be handled now.

Anonymous said...

I'm not concerned with the "reboot"/"remake" semantics but we're at the point where people see one and they don't even know an "original" version exists.

I mentioned to someone how awesome the original Taking of Pelham One-Two-Three was and the reply was, "There was another one?"

Perhaps a future question could be "What movie are you surprised hasn't been rebooted/remade?"

For example, even though it had two sequels and a prequel, I'm surprised The Exorcist hasn't been remade. And I keep hearing rumors of a Poltergeist remake which we all know will suck. ;-)

And you wanna know something? I went to the San Diego Comic-Con back in 2006 and they were handing out promotional teaser posters for a Howard Stern-produced remake of Revenge of the Nerds. This movie was never made.

BevfromNYC said...

But then there are reboots that are truly catastrophic - Swept Away that went from beautiful Italian love story to a horror film. Unfaithful from tragic French movie about the consequences of cheating in marriage that ended up becoming an unsympathetic semi-crime of passion drama.

T-Rav said...

Bev, it actually occurred to me the other day that Gatsby may fail on film for the same reason a lot of King novels do. A lot of the important turning points in his stories depend on the characters' inner thoughts, and a lot of Gatsby depends on Nick Carraway's narration. Neither of those translate to the screen very well. Great minds, huh?

Anonymous said...

Bev -

That reminds me. Re: True Grit, I'm no Coen Brothers fanboy but I wholeheartedly recommend their version of it.

The best compliment I can pay it is to say that it's wonderfully "old school." It plays everything straight - it doesn't try to make any kind of ironic comment on the genre. Jeff Bridges isn't John Wayne, nor should we want him to be, but he's great, as is little Hailee Steinfeld.

I was impressed and I'm glad I watched it.

AndrewPrice said...

K, It was pretty rancid. I remember expecting it would involve Americans fighting back, but they didn't. That really ticked me off. Though, seeing Congress get shot was kind of satisfying.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, We can do that in a future question.

It's kind of rare for a reboot to wipe out an original in my opinion. And even though the one you mention does get a lot of airplay, so does the original.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Sadly, I think worse-then-the-original reboots tend to be the norm.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I think that inner thoughts can be handled well, but complex inner thoughts are more of a problem. Even worse (like in the case of King) are things he only vague describes: "an evil presence." It's impossible to put something like that on screen and satisfy people.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's an instance, where I think both movies work well and independently of each other... there's no need to prefer one to the other.

Anonymous said...

Should we differentiate between a remake and a reboot? They are different things.

For instance Star Trek was a reboot but True Grit was a remake.


AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I would distinguish between the two. A remake is basically a repeat of a particular film done slightly differently. Whereas I see a reboot as involving taking some part of the concept and doing something new with it.

Anonymous said...

Scott and Andrew -

You guys are, of course, correct. I simply chose not to differentiate between the two for my comment. :-)

Dave Olson said...

To be accurate, a reboot is an attempt to start a movie/TV franchise over in a new universe. The ultimate retcon, one might say. Superman Returns was not a reboot since it purported to be a sequel to Superman II. (And the less said about Supermans III and IV, the better.) Next month's release of The Man of Steel IS a reboot, as they're going with a clean slate.

That said, I think Hollywood has gone reboot happy. It's as if "reboot" is more politically correct than "remake". It's also (and stop me if you've heard this complaint before) as if there are no new ideas anymore, so they just look at what worked in the past and say "Let's do that over, but for a modern audience."

This is compounded further by something else that has been pointed out before: Hollywood is teeming with flaming liberals. Nothing that has a different outlook is likely to get made, so the range, style, scope, and worldview of what we see on our multiplex screens is gradually going stale.

But who am I to talk? One of the only TV shows I watch is "Bates Motel", a reboot of Psycho. And the Superman movie I mentioned before looks great and I can't wait to see it.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Perhaps you will know better next time! ;P

Anonymous said...

I'm not disagreeing with you but when it comes to movies with a different outlook, fear probably plays just as big a part as politics, if not bigger.

No one wants to lose their job - and even small romantic comedies cost an arm and a leg to make nowadays - that they simply play it safe. Between that mentality, the influence of the foreign market (especially China), the need to focus group and test market everything, and that many of the filmmakers working today were influenced - wait for it - by other films... it's a miracle we get good movies at all!

(They're out there - one simply needs to work to find them.) :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, I don't think Hollywood's reboot issue is about liberalism at all, it's about risk-aversion. They want as little risk as possible on their investments while getting a maximum return. Sequels, remakes, reboots fit that goal perfectly.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It's no miracle. It's a miracle that good films get made.

But in truth, almost all of those are independent films anyway these days.

5minutes said...

I liked the Dune miniseries, but Children of Dune was far better.

I'd like to see "Wanted" and "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" redone. Both are so far removed from the original source material that neither adaptation could be considered an actual adaptation.

AndrewPrice said...

5minutes, I liked both Wanted and League, but then I never read the source material. In both cases, I thought they were entertaining films with some clever moments, though they weren't more than just entertainment.

Dave Olson said...

Instead of the new series of Star Wars sequels, why not tell the backstory? I'd love to know how Darth Vader started out as Obi Wan's BFF and then got turned to the Dark Side. (Cookies?) I've heard rumors that some fly-by-night "filmmaker" slapped together some low-budget indie movies about a dozen years ago, but surely that couldn't have been a serious endeavor. I mean, they tell me that this assclown put all sorts of stupid, non-Star Warsy stuff in there like some bratty kid and a cartoon rabbit that steps in the poopie.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, I've heard rumors of that too, but I've never seen any proof of three prequels actually being made.

rlaWTX said...

I like Dav'e idea (since he beat me to it)

Another BAD remake/reboot idea: "The Women"
The original is an amazing look at women supporting and backbiting and at divorce and infidelity and at pride and compromise. The "new" one - .

Good reboot/remake ideas: Anything that Asimov wrote that they have tried making a movie of. This time they should be required to have READ the book. Actually, that;s a good requirement for all redos based on books - READ THE &*#%@&@#$% BOOK!!!!!!

rlaWTX said...


Anonymous said...

Reboots or remakes are appropriate when the original has been forgotten, or was unnecessarily bad in the first place: Capricorn One was a fine movie, but seems to have been forgotten. It could be remade. Rollerball, with James Caan, should have been much better to begin with. Considering today's government/corporate conditions, it could be interesting if remade properly. Royal Flash was an attempt to bring Flashman to the screen, but another effort is warranted, and it needs to be done right this time.

Completely un-needed are remakes of movies like The Bad News Bears, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Get Carter and the Manchurian Candidate. The originals were good, and have not been so forgotten that a remake is warranted.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I take it you don't like any of the "Asimov" films? What more do you want though? They kept the titles! ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I don't see the point in remaking really good films either. I guess the point is money, but beyond that obvious point, I don't think great films need reboots. Personally, I think there's a great case for films that should have been better, but never quite lived up to their potential.

5minutes said...


Wanted, in the movie, is about an office worker who gets sucked into a league of assassins headed up by Morgan Freeman who falsely uses a loom to get people he wants eliminated dead. In the comic, you have an office worker who gets sucked into a league of super villains (all the superheroes are either dead or mental) headed up by a mad scientist who's at war with another league of super villains headed up by a guy who is pure id and pure evil. It's absolutely unrelenting in its view and depiction of evil and in its deconstruction of the superhero myth.

LXG, as a movie, was about a bunch of literary character badass good guys led by Sean Connery off to defeat Dorian Gray and Moriarty. The first volume of the comics is about a truly Victorian Mina Murray being ordered to round up a team that includes a frightened Dr. Jekyll, an absolutely lecherous Invisible Man, the mad anarchist Captain Nemo, and the opium-addled Allan Quartermain to stop a Chinese crime lord for their mysterious commander.

Of the two, I HIGHLY recommend the League (at the very least, the first 2 volumes - Alan Moore, nowadays, is more interested in sex and nudity than in good storytelling). Wanted is more take-it-or-leave-it.

PikeBishop said...

Ok, I have to ask this question on the subject: Am I the only movie lover out there who sat in a theater and watched the previews in 2012 and said the following, "Spiderman? The origin story again?! For Christ sakes its only been ten years since the Maguire version. Is brain dead Hollywood so god damn out of original ideas?"

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, Nope. I had the same thought. I thought there was some minimum time they waited before a reboot, but I guess not.

AndrewPrice said...

5minutes, Thanks. I didn't know that about the source material. I just saw the films. I thought Wanted was ok and I enjoyed League more than I expected.

Anonymous said...

On the subject. I was looking on the net to get the name of Jason Statham to find out that he is now filming a remake (not a reboot) of Heat.

I loved Heat, it hasn't aged and there is really no need to remake it, but I suppose someone sees a profit from it.


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