Don’t you think it’s time that Hollywood rebooted Back to the Future?
Reboots. They’re all the rage these days. As soon as a movie franchise starts to slip from public perception, some bright spark in Hollywood pitches a “new, grittier” version to some studio execs who dutifully wheels out a truck full of money. A year or so later and we’re watching Uncle Ben die for the 12th time – with added grit.
We’re now approaching the “grittier reboot of the gritty reboot” stage of this cycle with films so covered in grit that they’re becoming unwatchable (see The Legend of Tarzan or Batman Vs Superman). It’s Grit-ageddon & I love it.
I love watching Hollywood pick through what remains of my childhood/teen memories in search of anything even remotely nostalgic that they can leverage to desperately tempt me to the cinema. There are plans to reboot Scarface with a present day Los Angeles setting. Because of course there is. Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes are looking to reboot Hitchcock’s classic thriller The Birds. There’s talk of a Timecop reboot that’s “gritty, more grounded, with the sci-fi in the background”. How exactly you put the “sci-fi in the background” of a film about a time traveling crime fighter is anyone’s guess. Plans are afoot for a reboot of Big Trouble in Little China with Dwayne Johnson as the star. Will The Rock’s bulky muscle mass even fit in Little China? They’re even trying to reboot Charlies Angels. As if 2 cringe worthy movies wasn’t enough…
But I don’t think Hollywood has gone far enough. After turning all the toys and cartoons I enjoyed as a child into “grounded, gritty movies” – Transformers, GI Joe, Turtles – and turning a few of my 80’s guilty pleasures in to current displeasure’s – Point Break & 2011’s Arthur – I think Hollywood need to step it up and tackle the classics. It needs to take a stab at those films that inspired a generation of filmmakers. Here are 5 classic movie reboots that the world absolutely deserves.
1). The Godfather Trilogy
Cinema goer’s just don’t want nuanced conversation, masterful cinematography and character driven drama anymore. Want proof? The Transformers movie series – films about talking robots hitting other talking robots with dialogue so hammy that even a pig turns its snout up at it – has topped $3,773,861,624 at the box office. And how about The Godfather Trilogy? A paltry $574.8 million. A sixth of the amount that Michael Bay’s toy selling giant has made.
The Godfather Trilogy is ripe for a reboot. It could be set in modern day and needn’t stretch out into 3 films. It could be streamlined into an action comedy starring Chris Pratt as Vito Corleone and Chris Pratt in a fat suit and a tonne of make-up as the older Vito Corleone. Michael Cera could play Michael Corleone. Jonah Hill could play Tom Hagen. Or even better, why not reboot the entire series and only cast women. “The Godmother”. Sounds great, right?
2). Home Alone
This Christmas classic doesn’t contain anywhere near enough grit (apart from Old Man Tomanič’s grit bin) for my tastes. What if, in a gritty reboot, Kevin was an avid teenage gamer/black metal blogger who chooses to stay at home to play Call of Duty instead of going on a family holiday? And the “Wet Bandits” get caught up in a horror house of lethal traps? Get rid of the slap stick comedy and replace it with R Rated blood splatter.
3). Citizen Kane
What better way to give Generation Z their own “Citizen Kane Moment” than rebooting Citizen Kane itself! It could star Tom Hardy as Jedediah Leland, investigating the last Tweet posted by Kane, naturally played by Jack Black. A modern day re-imagining, Leland would trawl through Facebook pictures and WhatsApp Kane’s relatives while sat in a Starbucks to uncover hints as to what “Rosebud” meant.
4). Back to The Future
Now that the events of Back to The Future are actually in the past, it’s time Marty and the Doc were re-cast and rebooted. Replace the Delorean with a Fiat Panda complete with a flux capacitor. Johnny Depp could play Doc Brown and Dakota Fanning can play Martina McFly. Take it to 141.622 kilometers per hour (because who measures in miles anymore, amirite?) and fly off to the Future where the disembodied head-in-a-jar of Donald Trump is the Grand Chancellor of the First Galactic Empire. Hoverboards still won’t exist.
5). NONE OF THESE THINGS YOU DUMDUMS
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m being incredibly sarcastic. Probably too sarcastic. Today I read a piece by Den of geek called “120 Movie Reboots and Remakes Currently In the Works” and my head nearly exploded. I just started angrily typing and here we are. I can taste tin in my mouth and my fingers hurt.
Death Wish starring Bruce “I’m direct to DVD now” Willis? Live action Dumbo by Tim Burton? A reboot of The Fly? *Another* English version of The Grudge? Of the 120 films on the list, I scoffed at around 100 of them.
The issue with Reboots and Remakes for me is that they should always aim be improved upon the original or correct mistakes. For some franchises, that works. Take the in-talks reboot of Cliffhanger for example. Sylvester Stallone did an admirable job in the 1993 version but it’s a film that could be vastly improved with modern day CGI and cinematography. It’s heavy on the action and visuals and those are aspects that have generally improved in the past 20 years. It’s a remake/reboot worth exploring. Or Dimension Films’ attempt to reboot Short Circuit – a series that has aged particularly poorly given the technological advancements in the past 20 years. Worth a go, right?
Now take the proposed remake of Memento, being bankrolled by AMBI Pictures without the involvement of Christopher Nolan. Or Universal’s attempt to reboot Scarface. Or the threeboot of The Thomas Crown Affair. Or the live action remake of Lion King. Or the proposed spin-off of The Naked Gun?
Do any of these directors, writers and studios think they can improve upon the originals? Do they think they can make these films better by re-doing them over with added “grit” or by moving them to the modern day? No. Of course they don’t. They’re taking a name, a story/concept and just redoing it to make money – and Hollywood are running out of aging/mediocre originals to reboot.
How long do you think it’ll be before they come for the classics? How long do you think it’ll be before someone in the movie business utters the words “Godfather” and “reboot” in the same sentence? Maybe it has already happened in hushed circles. Maybe there’s a writer and a director out there that thinks they can improve upon Citizen Kane and fancy giving it a modern day treatment.
The movie business is currently reboot/remake crazy and we’re going to see more than 100 released in the next 12 months. That’s around 95 more than anyone asked for and the fatigue is already setting in. Nu-Ghostbuster performing far worse than expected, Ghost in the Shell being DOA, The Legend of Tarzan failing to find its feet and Ben-Hur bombing should spell it out for the movie moguls. Stop the reboots/remakes and find some originality or continue to watch your big spends flop – and do it soon before someone thinks a new Back to The Future is a good idea.