2012: the Year of Reboots

If you’ve been paying attention to the trailer circuit lately, you might have noticed some new previews making the rounds. A few weeks ago, it was the trailer for the reboot of Spider-Man, this time with the prefix “The Amazing”. Shortly thereafter, a new trailer came out previewing the relaunch of the 1990 movie Total Recall, this time starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale. And now, there’s a third trailer making the rounds. This last one previews a relaunch of the 1994 Judge Dredd, the one-time Stallone vehicle that will star sci-fi/fantasy veteran Karl Urban and Lena Headey, who’s fame is exploding due to her role as Cersei in Game of Thrones.

What do all these movies have in common? Well, for one, they are relaunches of relatively recent movies. Second, all these movies are scheduled for relaunch in 2012. That means for anyone old enough to have seen the originals, this summer is going to be jammed packed with remakes of movies they’ve already seen… I’m thinking Hollywood needs to just come out and admit that they have no new ideas left!

Now to be fair, some of these movies can get away with being remade. The original Total Recall came out 22 years ago, but for most people in my generation, it was a hit while we were tweens. I can’t imagine many people are going to be seeing it for more than the nostalgic appeal, even if it is packed with headliners. And you can just tell that casting it with Ferrell, Biel and Beckinsale and pitching it as a big FX romp was done to ensure it has a big draw. Still, expect people to comparing it endlessly to the Schwarzenegger original!

Dredd is even more recent, with most fans of the comic being the age of majority when it came out. But a relaunch of this movie seems good given that the last one was such a disappointment. But judging by the trailers, it seems like just another excuse to shoot something in 3D. The storyline also looks pretty contained, focusing on a single mission rather than the larger picture of Mega City One, the Judges and the irony of trusting quasi-fascists to bring order to a chaotic society.

And Spider-Man? Hell, the third movie in that trilogy aired just five years ago! And the original was produced when, in 2002? That’s just a ten year gap between this new one and the first of the originals! Isn’t there a statute of limitations on this kind of thing? Why does this movie even need to be remade, and now of all times? The others featured perfectly good CGI effects and good story lines, and was ably acted by Toby McGuire and Kirsten Dunst. And of course, most people seeing this one already saw all the others.

So really, what possible reason is there for making this version? I have heard some people speculate that it’s because they want to include Spider-Man in the next Avengers movie. So… what happened to Toby McGuire? Is he too old? Was he not returning the studios calls? Did he say there was no POSSIBLE way he’d ever do a Spider-Man movie again? Is that why they’re doing this, so people won’t be surprised when a new guy shows up to play Spidey in Avengers 2? That seems silly!

Oh Hollywood. When did you lose your way? Was it the money, the phoniness, the mountains and mountains of blow? Yeah, I’m betting somewhere between the money and the nose candy, you all just went a little batty and stopped being able to come up with new ideas. So here’s a few ideas. Hire some new people. Pitch to new writers. Try making something though-provoking and avant-garde. Do something other than throw up the same old formulaic crap and rebooting old concepts!

And before you make the excuse that audiences are stupid and won’t buy into something half-way decent and brainy, might I remind that you guys pioneered those low expectations in the first place? Were it not for you constantly trying to appeal to the lowest-common denominator, you wouldn’t be in this creative tailspin. You might say this trend is the end result of underestimating the intelligence of the average person for so very long. Them chickens roosting in your backyard seem to have brought a batch of avian flu with them! In short, Hollywood, back your shit up, get your shit together, and then get your shit off our floor!

Sorry, that got a little rant-y towards the end there. But for me, this is just the straw that broke the camels back. I’d like to see some better movies, and these guys are the one making it hard for independent producers and studios simply because they suck up so much money and produce so much PR. Still, I might see one of these movies. During Prometheus, my wife was more than impressed by the preview for Total Recall, so we’ll see. If I seem stupider once I get back, blame Hollywood!

12 thoughts on “2012: the Year of Reboots

  1. I was talking to someone the other day about all the remakes that are coming out, and our mutual disappointment that the big-wigs in Hollywood don’t seem to have anything better up their sleeves to produce.

    One of the theories that came out has to do with risk-taking given the current economy – I guess it could be considered the “safe” route to just remake movies that did well before and ideally to launch them for another generation. I still think it’s crap, mind you. And like you said, it’s irritating because there are some awesome indie films out there that are being WAY more creative but can’t get in the spotlight.

  2. Friends and I have been complaining about remakes for a good decade. Maybe we are in the century of the remakes. I think the line-up for Total Recall is terrible. I’m stull not sure I want to see it. Dredd was a disappointment. And I love Karl Urban. I will definately see that. As they are changing the backstory to Spiderman, they can;t really go with the same accorts. As the back story has been changed a few times in the past, in the comic world, I guess I can live with it. I think it looks good and will go it too.

  3. As someone who is genuinely excited for The Amazing Spider-Man, though considerably less so for the other two (I was younger than you when Judge Dredd and Total Recall came out and don’t remember them well enough to be nostalgic for them), I can safely say that the revamp of Spider-Man is mostly a business decision. While Marvel Studios (and by extension, Disney) will get a cut of the revenue, Spider-Man’s film rights are owned by Columbia/Sony. Due to some wierd statute of limitations issues, if projects aren’t in development constantly for Spider-Man, the rights revert back to Marvel and Sony loses a huge potential payday.

    I think this version happened to have the right script and get the right people attached quickly enough to be made. And Tobey McGuire did say no to making more after the awful third film, as did Raimi and Dunst was already out of the equation (they were gearing up to replace her with Bryce Dallas Howard’s Gwen Stacy in the fourth installment anyway) and I am glad for that. McGuire didn’t have the build or the charisma to play the character as I know and love him, the agile and funny 90s version, and was more suited to play the less dynamic 60s Spider-Man.

    Expect to see Fox continue making X-Men blockbusters for the forseeable future as they don’t want to lose the rights to that franchise. Ideally, more of the rights would revert back to Marvel so we could have more of the crossover magic that was made in The Avengers.

    1. “Due to some wierd statute of limitations issues, if projects aren’t in development constantly for Spider-Man, the rights revert back to Marvel and Sony loses a huge potential payday”

      That’s probably in the contract (not a statute of limitations thing), and a smart move on Marvel’s part. That way Sony can’t get the rights and sit on them i.e. never make a movie and never let anyone else make one either.

      1. Well; I think it is a question of what could make them the most money. Rebooting Spider-Man; you’re guaranteed an enormous paycheck even if you’re just the guy that says “hey lets reboot Spider-Man” and the resulting movie sucks. Aliens is more difficult since the prime theatre demographics are changing. They havent seen Alien or Aliens and didn’t get why Prometheus (love it or hate it) was a big deal. I would love to see more movies in that franchise but the studios know they can make more money off musclemen in spandex.

  4. There are an awful lot of fairytales they could be making films of, if they’ve run out of ideas. Or science fiction. I’m a bit over superheroes. Esp ones that have just been ‘done’ as you point out.

  5. I am so looking forward to the new Spider-Man. I didn’t like Toby Maguire because he has this thing about talking: he doesn’t move his lips! It’s like he’s a ventriloquist or something.

    On the other hand, I took a great liking to Andrew Garfield after watching “The Social Network.” I think he is, indeed, going to be an amazing Spiderman.

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