September 1, 2009

Hollywood's Obsession with "Reboots" Officially Out of Control

As a movie fan, it's been alarming for quite a long time now how obsessed Hollywood has become with remakes and "reboots" of movies. The term reboot is essentially marketing speak for "remake." Kind of like when you buy a DVD from Blockbuster, it's not used, it's "previously enjoyed."
"Reboots" have been particularly common in the horror genre with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street all recently heading that route. There have been some massive success stories; The Dark Knight and the James Bond reboot Casino Royale were both terrific movies. Success, in Hollywood, always breads imitation, so studio heads had staffers raid the vaults looking for old properties that can be "re-imagined" for a new audience.

It's distressing that instead of having filmmakers tell new stories, they've been pre-occupied remaking perfectly good movies. It wasn't long ago, people were complaining about the studios recycling old television shows as films. Now they've moved past that to recycling films ... as films. For awhile, my major issue was the fact that they seemed to be mining the 80's so heavily, and it seemed to me, that was too recent to already be remaking so many flicks from that era. But today in Variety I read something that officially signals the "reboot" era jumping the shark.

The Fantastic Four series - which started shittily in 2005 and saw a shitty sequel released in 2007 - is being rebooted by 20th Century Fox. There's already recent precedent for this, too. Ang Lee's 2003 film The Hulk was followed, in 2008, by The Incredible Hulk, (both attempts failed, in large part, because the title character in both interpretations was computer generated, soulless and boring.) So this is where we are at. Studio heads are so lazy and so paralyzed by fear of actually trying to create new properties that audiences care about, that they are recycling films - and lousy films at that - from just a few years ago. This does not bode well.

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