Reimagining, Rebooting, Retelling … Revolting

Cerebus

Reboot. Reimagining. Retelling.

I’m sick of the words. Moreover, I’m sick of what they mean. They mean, simply, that the generation loved a particular movie, television show or comic book is gone. You may have liked the way the 2002 version of Spider-Man, but there will be another one. However, I realize that Spider-Man isn’t necessarily hallowed ground, though it made $821 million worldwide ($420 million stateside). But what happens when directors and studios start talking about remaking films like Godfather, Shawshank Redemption and Taxi Driver?

Oh. Wait. You mean Marty’s thinking about remaking … Taxi … Driver … ooooh.

Now, I’m the first person to step up and tell you that there are no sacred cows, especially in media. Media is a business to make money, not an art gallery or a museum. So, that Paramount wants to give you another Raiders of the Lost Ark or that Marvel wants to put out another X-Men book never surprises me. What does put a catch in my throat is how there is absolutely no credence given for a generation’s ties to the first visioning of the product.

Take Star Wars, for instance. Yes, THAT Star Wars. Episode IV. For the most part, the most recent Star Wars movies (save, perhaps, Episode III) managed to collectively vomit across the shoetops of nerds across the galaxy. You could have just as well circumcised all the males in that group with a sputtering light saber than shown them those films. The original is THE sacred cow of science-fiction filmmaking. And along comes these three hair-brained, half-cooked sequels to a drooling mob of fanboys and … well, you get the idea (And speaking of Fanboys, watch THAT. Fun!)

Now, imagine if that same group learned that George Lucas’ next gig was to remake the original? Yes, THAT original, From “Did you hear that?” to “RRRRRRRRRRRRRARWR!” at the medal ceremony. And imagine if he said he’d do it in five years? Can you hear the blood trickling from the ears of the faithful? Now, put that same mantra on the sherry drinking film snob crowd if they heard Godfather is getting a redux. You hear the Gouda curdling inside their caviar-lined, gold dusted stomachs, don’t you?

You see, what sacred cow holders want before any of that happens … is to be dead. They want to be dirtnapped for a good two decades before some Hollywood producer gets the idea to restart the “Last Starfighter” revenue stream. However, what those same ardent followers also forget is that Hollywood doesn’t care about them. Hollywood cares about the money in their wallets crossing the counters of the movie theater.

And the dead part isn’t necessarily true. For that core 18-20 percent, they want that remake to get done. Those ARE the plans they are looking for. They see it as some convuluted nerd challenge. “C’Mon Lucas, MAKE me go pay eleven bucks. MAKE me hop on my blog afterward and give you 4,500 words on the title sequences alone. MAKE ME. MAAAAAAAAKE ME!” Followed by heavy beathing and a fall into an easy chair. But either dead or challenged, this isn’t necessarily something you want to do to get the nerds riled up. I’m one of them. I know.

Comic books aren’t nearly as much of a sacred cow. We’re used to big characters dying and coming back. Comic books jerk us around better than any other medium. Even television just out-and-out disappoints viewers rather than cooking up laimbrained schemes to try and keep our attention, though few examples shine above the rest. Bruce Wayne will be back. Steve Rogers will be back. Clark Kent came back. Big properties are big properties. Follow the money. The answers are easy. At least Cerebus died like Seinfeld ended. Go Dave Sim!

And right now, there is a rash of reimagining and retelling. Which also brings the question: where’s the original stuff? Why are film studios buying up toy properties rather than dreaming up the next Micronauts for us? And we know that answer, too (it’s cheaper). So, what the hell? Reboot things that we LIKED. Reboot FIRE-FREAKING-FLY. Reboot Quark. You are rebooting Tron (hooray) and you chose to reimagine The Spirit (boo).

So, that Spider-Man coming back without Tobey Macguire or Sam Raimi isn’t a surprise any longer. And this rash of rebooting will continue.

That doesn’t mean we have to like it, dead or otherwise.

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