Here are a few of the proposed "reboots" found in a recent Time Out New York magazine that my girlfriend was reading: Spider Man (with a 3D option this time), Superman (but directed by the Batman Begins team to make it a little darkerbecause we all know how dark Superman is supposed to be), Daredevil, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and a few others I forgot.
To be fair I don't remember the entire list and whether or not these were actually green-lit projects or just rumorsbut regardless of what the future might be, the idea of a Hollywood "do-over" looks to be a phenomenon that's here to stay.
My gut reaction to this is negative and from what I gather, a lot of us feel the same way. It's easy to complain so I'm not going to bother. We've all heard heated "why can't Hollywood get it right the first time?" arguments from all our friends, so I'm not going to waste any more of your time. Instead, let's detach ourselves emotionally from this and try to see it from all angles. I'm looking for some good feedback here so feel free to chime in if I miss something.
Here's a quick list of pros and cons for a few different sides of this issue as I see it:
COMICS AS A WHOLE
As far as industry and money is concerned, reboots are probably beneficial. It brings in more buzz, more readers (assuming we take proper advantage) and might produce more jobs. Movies are a successful medium and the more we link ourselves to them, the better comics could surviveeven if it requires rebooting poorly done "first attempts" it still might be good. Plus it reaches younger viewers who weren't around for the first launch. Entertaining children has always been a booming business because there will always be 7-year-olds who bug their parents to see Spider Man. And a new trilogy can be done every 7 years.
Hell, if comics aren't bringing in children these days, then maybe "reboots" will.
But even though it brings in business, we might be cheapening comics in the eyes of the public. My fear is that the casual observer will see the second Hulk and say "didn't they just make that movie a few years ago?" and then think "oh well, it's only superheroes" and then shrug. I might be reaching on that one, but the idea of outsiders thinking "comics are dumb" seems reinforced when Hollywood doesn't take comics seriously enough to get a movie right the first time.
As an artist I consider myself a defender of what I take to be "art" in all formseven movies. To varying degrees, I think we all are. We all might butt heads over the details, but our hearts are usually in the right place. And we all have our favorite movies where plot, script, arc, action, dialog, cutting, music, sfx, and acting collide. And if enough of these factors are off, we call BULLSHIT. And we then consider it POORLY DONE ART (then assault it with Tweets and blogs). Sure, reboots might bring in more work for the average comic book, storyboard, and concept artistbut the idea of Hollywood going "Oops! Oh well, we'll just try again HARDY HAR HAR!" is a little offensive to our artistic sensibilities.
But on the positive side, more buzz for comic book properties means more work, so maybe it's worth the trade-off.
As a "sometimes" writer, reboots offends me the most. And I think it should offend most writers on an artistic level because usually the problem with comic book movies is the writing. If you're old school about your writing, then you probably think that a good script doesn't need CGI, name actors, excessive marketing PR, licensing, Danny Elfman, and a hundred people at Paramount adding their two cents to a script. But the things I've just mentioned aren't anything new in the last 20 years. The reboot marks a new trend. If it wasn't bad enough that suits and corporations have been systematically stripping artistic integrity away from "event" movies ever since Lucas made a mint on Star Wars toys, now they've given us the rebootthe shame-free solution to a multi-million dollar misstep.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Back in the 80s they tried to make a Fantastic Four movie but it was so awful that they tried not releasing it. Not only that, the product was so bad that the producers were shamed into not attempting another try. They just buried their heads in the sand out of (what I would call) shame. The movie franchise for the Fantastic Four was wounded for years. But what would happen now? No shame is felt because now they can quickly move onto making the reboot and have all the merchandise to go along with it. Without the shame, I feel that producers are less likely to take their time with a movie to get it right the first time.
Don't tear down the Hulk statue at Univeral in LA! We'll just reboot the Hulk with Norton and save the trouble of filling in the hole.
I'm having a hard time coming up with a positive impact of reboots for writers. Unless, of course, you're one of the 20 writers Paramount hires to work on version 16 of a bad script.
WRAPPING IT UP
On one hand, it doesn't really matter what we think because Hollywood will do as it pleases. On the other hand, Hollywood is paying some attention to us now because of the digital influence we have on each other. We as a community probably killed a Daredevil sequel because we got online and RAKED that movie and fewer people saw it, thus costing Hollywood money. We stole from them and now they listen more.
If something is bad then don't the people deserve to have it redone so that they can finally have the movie they deserve? I think so, but there is a point when we call BULLSHIT for whatever reasons. And is they anything fundamentally wrong with redoing a movie? I don't think so, just like there's nothing wrong with a musician doing a cover of a song. For me, I think it comes down to intent.
People are always trying to make a good product, and sometimes they fuck it up. And sometimes it makes sense for the next guy to come along and remake that product, thus filling the public's demand. With reboots my only concern is that the designers aren't taking their jobs (or us) seriously because in the back of their minds they know they can always shamelessly try again.
Listening to: Passing trains