What I’m referring to is the seemingly ceaseless stream of reimagined classics intended to revive flagging franchises. Movie studios aim to introduce new, unsullied audiences to TV shows and motion pictures belonging to a previous generation.
Some work, some don’t. It depends entirely on personal likes and dislikes. Purists lamented the desexed Starbuck, but I applauded the makeover Battlestar Galactica underwent, even when it went off-track like a bad Lost episode. Christian Bale ably pulled off the roles of both a reinvented Bruce Wayne and John Connor, jumpstarting the stalled Batman and Terminator adventures. Neither was Star Trek immune from such treatment, which successfully rescued the series from stagnation by breathing new life into old friends. Even video games can’t escape the trend. Bionic Commando and Diddy Kong Racing are prime examples.
But the risk of failure lurks in the long shadow cast by the original. Tim Burton’s resurrected Planet of the Apes, while a box office success, generally received a lukewarm reception from film critics. So too was Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla widely, and in my opinion unjustly, panned. The vote is split on others. Personally no fan of a blonde James Bond, Daniel Craig does bring a controversial grittier element to the world’s foremost spy. Don’t forget abortive movie adaptations of television programmes perhaps better left in their 80’s heyday: The Dukes of Hazzard, Miami Vice, The A Team, to highlight but a dismal few.
The list of upcoming remakes reads like a Who’s Who of fictional infamy: Robocop, Conan, Highlander, Judge Dredd, and Freddy Kruegerare all poised to make comebacks. Venerable films such as The Dam Busters (even Peter Jackson isn’t impervious to the temptation, but King Kong proved that he is more than equal to the task)and Fright Night aren’t excluded either.
It appears that Hollywood has been sucked dry of all originality. Here’s a thought. Maybe movie executives in need of fresh ideas should pick up a good book occasionally. There are plenty of quality novels out there boasting engaging stories begging to be filmed. The Lord of the Rings was long considered an impossibility to adapt to the big screen. It took an innovative fellow Kiwi of mine to take the gamble. And we all know what a success story that turned out to be.
Come on then, Tinsel Town. Stop playing it safe. Take a leaf out of James Cameron’s book and produce another Avatar.