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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sequel, Remake, Adaptation, FAIL FAIL FAIL

Hollywood seems content with destroying everything. Let’s see, in the past few years we have seen nearly every television show made into a movie, a thousand crappy sequels, and total remakes of franchises that ridiculously trash the original’s memory and/or simply have no business being remade.

We had Transformers the movie come out and it had a sequel, which quite frankly, compared to the original animated movie, these two might as well been called Challenge of the GoBots Parts One and Two. Last year we had a big screen adaptation of G.I. Joe which was an embarrassment and unfortunately, since it made $300 million worldwide, expect a sequel. Another cartoon, Johnny Quest, is maybe getting a live action flogging. The cartoon aired back in 1964, which was more my father’s generation, but my older brother and I saw it rerun, on television, during our childhood. The live action version supposedly has Zac Efron attached as Johnny Quest and Dwayne Johnson as Race Bannon. Now, if Hollywood gets on the stick, expect Dev Patel to be in talks to play Hadji. I’m just saying. If Zac Efron is already 22 and going to play Johnny Quest, who is only supposed to be 11 years old, then it would be totally in the scope of the evil empire of Hollywood to go after Dev Patel who is only 3 years Zac’s junior as Johnny’s friend, who is also 11.

Also we’ve got The A-Team coming out with Liam Neeson as Hannibal and Bradley Cooper as Faceman. I just watched the trailer and I feel a little dirty for getting into it whenever I would hear the original theme song teased. Still, as a friend put it, “Who from our age group is telling them that is ok?” To which I say, I don’t know but I want them to stop it.

On the sequel front, it was just revealed that Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire are out for Spider-Man 4 and that Sony helped put them there by requiring Sam to deliver a 2011 film which would have been in his mind, inferior in terms of integrity and quality. Hollywood’s answer to everything, just reboot it. (See below) Yeah, because that worked for Batman….but not The Incredible Hulk. I mean, come on, the franchise is only seven years old and respectable enough in its three films. Why monkey with it? Oh, yeah that’s right, Hollywood can’t stand to wait for quality. Or perhaps they suffer from Blue Screen of Death syndrome and figure rebooting will solve the problem. I don't know, maybe they just want an assembly line of movies being churned out. Maybe they figure that if they put enough crap on the wall, something will stick and make them money.

Remember Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Dull? Yeah, that was a case of, “We gotta make this or we’ll all be too old.” Now, I spent a few years reconciling with the Last Crusade as a fitting ending to the series. It is. I had the same problem with Return of the Jedi because the Empire was beaten by Ewoks. Still, that film has gone on to be a great ending to the original trilogy. That was until George Lucas went back and put Hayden Christiansen in place of Sebastian Shaw at the end. I mean he went back and remade a sequel. That’s like double epic fail. He monkeyed with something that was already a great film and then ruined it by changing the ending which made no sense. It didn’t. Don’t you sit there and say, “Well, the ghost of Anakin was when he was still a Jedi.” Bullshit. When he turned back to the light side and shot put Palpatine over the railing of the Death Star, he came full circle and the image of Shaw as Anakin was a perfect coda to the redemption of Anakin Skywalker. “But But, if that were so, then he should have been limbless and scarred all to hell as a ghost.” Um, and Obi Wan should be standing there holding his head at his side since Darth Vader decapitated him in A New Hope. No dice on that theory my young padawans.

I’ve gone off topic or as my wife likes to say, “I’ve gone to Erie.” She thinks I’m long winded. This is true. Anyway, the only sequel I’m actually looking forward to this year is Tron Legacy. Why? Why not? I just hope it doesn’t suck. I hope that the same brilliance that went into the design and parallels between a computer world and the real one on the first one can be captured again and by all accounts, from the footage seen at Comic-Con last year, we should be in for a treat.

Reboots and remakes are never a good idea. I don’t care how much blood you think is still in a stone. Once it’s done, it’s done. To date I can only see two reboots that have truly worked and those were done very recently with Star Trek and the Batman franchise. On the 80s front, The Karate Kid is getting a reboot with Jaden Smith and Hackie Chan. Honestly, leave it well enough alone. First of all, the film is called The Karate Kid and it is set in China. Fail number one.

Fail Number Two: Clash of the Titans is getting remade and this is beyond fail for me because it has no Harryhausen stop motion animation. Granted after Star Wars, this was the height of cheesiness in 1981, but still made the original movie a cult classic even though it totally disregards a lot of established Greek Mythology. And wait a second…Liam Nesson is set to score a fail hat trick. He’s in an adaptation (A-Team), remake (Clash of the Titans) and a sequel (The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader.) Ok, well, we’ll give him a two out of three fail on that since The Chronicles of Narnia aren’t that bad of a film series and it’s still kind of relevant.

Fail Number Three hasn’t officially happened yet, but it looks as if there is talks of a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off remake. *bang* head hits desk, gray matter everywhere.

Now, I do have to waffle a bit on probably the most anticipated remake in 2010. My partner in pop culture crime, and very good friend, is against the Burtonized Alice in Wonderland whereas I am willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Well, maybe she’s not totally against it but is very jaded against it. Quite frankly, after Syfy totally destroyed Alice in Wonderland last year anything would be better. They didn’t do a half bad adaptation with Tin Man, but this was beyond awful and I feel bad for Matt Frewer and Tim Curry. They’ve really gone far off the radar of getting good parts.

However, as much as I’d like to say that I was on board with Burton’s adaption/remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because it was closer to the book than Willy Wonka was in 1971, I’m still for the Gene Wilder version which was not liked, oddly enough, by Roald Dahl. Here, you are messing with classic literature and I’m willing to give Burton a chance, although I would have liked to have seen if American McGee could have pulled of his movie version of Alice with Sarah Michelle Gellar but that looks to be not happening, at least with Gellar. Still, by the looks of the trailer, I’ll be happy and it’s all about me, right?

*sigh* I wish someone would just stop this madness. The depths to which Hollywood will sink to make a buck knows no bounds. Hell, they’re probably pissed that Hamlet 2 was a play within the movie by the same name and they couldn’t option it for a real film. But, just wait, they’ll remake it in five years and get their wish.

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