JUSSAYIN’ Reboot Culture
A.C. “Mac” MacKenzie, Opinion Editor
April 12, 2012
Filed under Opinion
Recently, I spent some quality time with my long-neglected YouTube account checking up on the bevy of movie trailers that I’d missed during the hustle of this semester. (I still believe that Chris Nolan’s going to kill off the man behind the cowl in “The Dark Knight Rises.”) Despite my better judgement, I continue to anticipate “Snow White and the Huntsman,” and the new Guy Pearce flick “Lockout” looks a lot more fun in action than it does on paper.
However, a trait that all of these upcoming motion pictures — and so many more “coming soon” — share is that they are all a byproduct of Hollywood’s reboot culture. Reboot culture is the originality-draining movie-making machine that dictates that only sequels, re-imaginings or comically derivative features (respectively) should make it to the big screen.
The worst offender of this practice seems to be the upcoming reboot of “Total Recall,” the 1990 sci-fi Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle — an adaptation of a story by Philip K. Dick. The trailer for the Colin Farrell-led “Total Recall” Twenty-Twelve was released online last week and gave viewers a window into the future. No, not because the movie is set in futuristic America (rather than, y’know, Mars, the setting of the source material), but because this is entirely representative of the precise issues for which film critics and moviegoers of the future alike will mock our era of filmmaking for.
Remember how every action flick that came out after “The Matrix” featured obligatory sequences in bullet time? Sure, it had some cool applications down the road in “300” and “Wanted,” but for the most part, action movies from the immediate post-“Matrix” years suck because they’re riddled with poorly executed imitations of “The Matrix.”
Think about the unfortunate tropes of our era of filmmaking:
o Selectively amnesic hero? (the recent films of Leo DiCaprio) Check.
o Copious effect shots that took longer to render in CG than it did to scribe the movie’s entire script? (the Marvel catalogue) Check.
o Betrayal that would have been spoiled by the first trailer were it not already so exceptionally predictable? (Pixar’s new go-to for crafting baddies) Check.
o Sexy close combat shootout à la “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”? Check.
o Unnecessary application of bullet time to suggest super soldier combat proficiency? (see above) Check.
C’mon, you’ve got to be kidding me!
I haven’t seen any giant robots — yet — but need I remind everyone that Universal Pictures is releasing an adaptation of the Hasbro board game Battleship this summer?
Even successful studios with hitmaking track records are becoming overindulgent with this reboot fad. There’s already another “Batman” in the wings after Nolan completes his trilogy. Even the once shining bastion of originality that was the Disney/Pixar partnership crapped out a sequel to “Cars” — arguably their least-beloved venture — this past summer to unprecedentedly poor reviews.
Indeed, the other submission to this issue of The Dolphin bearing my byline is a review of a video game that is a reboot of a “franchise” (a term which is thrown around all too loosely if you ask me) that had been dormant for over 20 years! Have I mentioned that this is going to be the summer of Battleship?
There’s a stellar YouTube video out there that displays footage from the duo of “Kill Bill” films alongside the old school kung-fu flicks that inspired Quentin Tarantino. The video claims, quite truthfully, that nothing is original, that “everything is a remix.”
Sure, plenty of modern films are great — “instant classics,” even — despite being adaptations, sequels and reboots. Surely this summer’s “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” will be massive, deserving hits that I’ll nab on Blu-Ray the day they hit Best Buy. However, one can only hope for a little more originality.
Effing “Battleship.” …Jussayin’.