It’s official: ‘Reboot’ is the new ‘New’.
As with anything good in life, when we like it and we love it, we want some more of it (unless ‘it’ has been recast with Ashton Kutcher).
In Hollywood the same principals hold true, except that even when something is making us nauseous, the big wigs (that nickname arising from the wearing of very large hair pieces by entertainment execs) continue to clog the airwaves with educational nuggets such as the Real Housewives of OC. How that show hatched other similarly themed shows like the Real Housewives of Disneyland AND managed to outlive the geeky nirvana that was NBC’s Chuck, is just one of those things that motivates Steven Hawking to continue his search for intelligent life throughout the vast reaches of Southern California.
These days, ‘reboot’ is the hot ‘it’ word in the entertainment industry. As already known by many fellow ‘neeks’ (easier than typing nerds & geeks all the time), when a franchise gets rebooted it’s just an expensive way of saying forget everything you know about your favorite character and his life up to this point. This allows all the loyal followers to reinvest their IRA retirement funds into young sexy actors and actresses with all-new adventures!
Which brings us to the main question: Should every piece of our entertainment pop cultural be given a reboot makeover every so often – which in a Hollywood timeline equals approximately seven days. (I’m talking morally here, as dollar bills will always win out at some point.)
Come to think of it, has there been anything popular over the course of human history – popular meaning two fans or more – that has NOT been remade, retooled, recycled, re-3D’d or re-screwed-up in an attempt to squeeze our officially licensed R2D2 piggy banks until he robot screams at us in agony.
I’m sorry but this NEVER gets old!
I don’t want to give you the wrong idea about myself though – I’m a business guy and believe in the basic fundamentals of supply and demand. I have no issue with companies making money as long as its done fairly and with as few people getting killed or maimed as possible. Although admittedly, the only Econ chart I managed to memorize in college was the seating chart I made to show where all the hot girls in Econ 101 resided.
Nevertheless, if there is a desire for something, there is bound to be someone out there willing to supply it financial and creative incentives. The creative aspect refers to how to get someone to part with their hard-earned money in such a way that I won’t notice I’ve flushed away my life savings on 4,021 variants of the same Bumblebee figure. (Low ball estimate).
The reboot trend has recently proved successful, both monetarily and creatively, for some of our most beloved characters. Some of the more notable on the list are Batman, 007 and my favorite crime-fighting group of reptiles ever, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The latter mentioned half-shell ninjas having been given the KFC treatment and condensed to simply TMNT in order to help it appeal to a wider audience outside of three-year olds and those that get their source of daily news from SpongeBob Squarepants.
I’m leaving the Hulk out since that character seems to have been reimagined more times than I’ve changed my underwear in the past few years. (I just realized that joke can be taken in several different ways.) Unfortunately, the ‘Man of Steel‘ could to be headed towards that same infinite loop unless the ship is righted this next go around.
In my own honest and entirely factual opinion, one of the biggest successes of ‘retooling’ a franchise was that of the latest Star Trek movie by JJ Abrams. (Are you reading this HNG?) I hesitate to use the word ‘reboot’ because the movie itself was designed more as a prequel, giving us looks into the lives of Kirk and crew as they rose from diapers to helming a space ship the approximate size of Michael Moore’s current ground transportation. Not only was the movie entertaining on its own merits, but the story was so well done that it allowed for the series to be reborn so new actors could take over the helm of the originally loved characters, allow them to go on all new future adventures, and push everyone involved into a higher tax bracket.
One thing to note on many of the above-mentioned franchise rebirths is that most undertook a more serious tone. While some humor is kept intact, many of the series mentioned above were either already too campy or taking on campiness at an alarming rate.
Still, with the string of current successes, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the quick movie franchise reboot of my all-time favorite superhero, your friendly neighborhood Spiderman. While number two of the Maguire series was by far the best (and quite possibly one of the best superhero movies ever), I didn’t think 3 was so god-awful that everything needed to be blown up and forgotten. I loved the introduction of Venom and was hoping the next installment brought us his little bundle of joy, Carnage. (Who makes Venom look like Mother Teresa’s mother.)
As an avid reader of all 167 different versions of Spiderman’s comics, I always viewed Spidey as a slightly more quirky and light-hearted hero. However, if the new trailer is any hint, the newest installment looks to be taking our web-slinger down a darker, more brooding path in hopes of repeating the success of other recent remakes. While it worked for The Dark Knight, I have some uncertainties applying too much of that dark seriousness to Spidey. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t that one of the things people complained about with 3? In any event, there is no doubt I will be there opening night along with my handful of reservations mixed with an entire box of Raisinettes.
“Too soon?” Those words don’t exist in Tinsel Town.
While on the Spidey subject, if there is one thing I ask, please, please, please don’t let the new Peter Parker develop the voice of a 50-year smoker the second he puts his suit on (ala Christian Bale’s Batman). Maybe the rubber armor suit was crushing his adams apple or something, but for the life of me I could barely make out a word Bale said as it sounded like he was going to hack up a lung every time his mouth opened.
Of course, I can’t talk about this subject without mentioning my most-loved movie franchise ever. The inter-webs have been a buzz about a third Ghostbusters movie since 2 never lived up to the expectations of the original (while true, I still enjoy it just fine, thank you very much). With the very latest pointing to Bill Murray being out for a third helping of slime – despite everyone else being in – the great debate is now raised on how to proceed. Do you resume without him, recast Venkman, reboot with a brand new young cast, or rebury the project to the depths of hiatus hell. This topic is a whole other blog for a whole other day… you can be sure of that my fellow geeky ghostheads.
Being a fan in the general advances of technology, I’m always intrigued to see what the latest in computer wizardry can do to give our favorite heroes better ‘physical dimensions’ (female dept for me), more lifelike toys and the realistic creation of unknown worlds on screens that are growing so large will be sitting on them soon. However, unless the story and characters are advancing along with that tech, the end result will usually look like the end product of Jar Jar Binks after an all-you-can eat Cajun buffet.
Right about now you might be asking yourself, “so what the hell is your point?” To be honest, I’m not entirely sure myself. I guess my deeper rooted question to everyone is: Do you like seeing all of the things you enjoyed from when you grew up – and in certain cases, from last year – completely redone to the point where you forgot what the hell you liked about the original to begin with? Does a reboot excite you for new things to come, or ruin your devotion and positive memories of the things you loved as a kid? In a Hollywood that makes its living on franchises and sequels, should the words “leave well enough alone” even exist? Is anything sacred anymore?
At this rate, being this is ALREADY my third blog posting, it looks like Geek Outlaw is long over do for it’s own reboot. Hope they pick someone decent for my replacement…