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April 27, 2009
Twenty Film Franchises in Need of a Reboot
Posted by Turk182 in Lists, Features

Movie sequels and remakes have been almost universally decried as being creatively corrupt, yet audiences and critics alike seem infinitely more forgiving of the franchise "reboot." Most notably, Batman Begins injected new life into the masked corpse left by Joel Schumacher and Casino Royale completely re-imagined the Bond franchise. (And Ed Norton's The Incredible Hulk reboot was marginally less disappointing than Ang Lee's Hulk.) This summer, Star Trek and Terminator: Salvation will attempt to work that reboot magic again on two legendary franchises that had grown seriously stale.

 
 

Of course, a trend is a natural starting point for a wish list. If Star Trek and Terminator make a truckload of money this summer, every studio head is going to be searching through their back catalogs looking for the next franchise to dust off and "reimagine." Some will truly suck. (Probably even some from this list if they’re done wrong.) But where might the next Casino Royale or Batman Begins come from? There are dozens of franchises that once had significant shelf life and pop culture cred, but are now laying dormant waiting for someone like J.J. Abrams or McG to bring them back to life. Since this is bound to happen eventually, let us suggest twenty of our own picks for franchises needing rebooting, ranked in order of how much we'd like to see them return.

- Brian Tallerico

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20. The Karate Kid

Hilary Swank killed the franchise fifteen years ago, but this one seems like a no-brainer to me. Men punching and kicking other men has arguably never been more popular. There's a movie called Fighting for God's sake and the "David vs. Goliath" angle of The Karate Kid could easily be hipped up for modern times. (This one is actually has a pretty good chance of happening. Allegedly, Will Smith's son Jayden will be toplining a KK remake – with Jackie Chan in the Mr. Myagi role, no less – although there's a stupid recent rumor that the franchise might be retitled "The Kung-Fu Kid," so, really, let's not believe anything until it starts production.) I'm not necessarily saying a Karate Kid remake is going to be good, which is why it's in the 20 spot, but if this was a "most likely to happen" list, this one would be much closer to the top.

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19. Jurassic Park

Can we PLEASE stop talking about Jurassic Park IV and just go back to the beginning? No one wants to see Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum wandering around the woods again. (And ABSOLUTELY no one wants to see a JP4 with genetically-altered dinosaurs running around with guns. Don't laugh. That was seriously the direction the next JP movie was going a few years ago.) This franchise needs to hit restart. Go back to a world that doesn't know JP exists and start fresh with modern CGI technology. The first Jurassic Park shattered expectations with its amazing special effects and a restart twenty years later could do exactly the same thing. Imagine a 3D Jurassic Park reboot in IMAX.

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18. Scream

A Scream reboot would be more of a brand name and a return of a style of horror writing than a precise remake. All this is meant to suggest is that we need a return to clever, tongue-in-cheek horror like Kevin Williamson and Wes Craven mastered in one of the best horror movies of the 1990s. Seriously, does everything in modern horror have to be about gore, puzzles, or last-minute twists? What the years since Scream have proven is that what was accomplished in that film – a blend of humor and horror – is a LOT harder than it looks. Otherwise, someone would have done it again since.

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17. Tremors

Stop rolling your eyes. The first Tremors movie is a hell of a lot of fun. Yes, what came after that first movie is cinematic torture, but it doesn't change the fact that this is a franchise that has unlimited B-movie fun potential. Small-town heroes fighting giant sand worms is simply a timeless concept.

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16. An American Werewolf in London

You could replace this reboot suggestion with The Howling and get mostly the same result. The point merely is that we need a werewolf franchise and our confidence level in Joe Johnston's upcoming Wolf Man remake is low. I'm tired of vampires and the zombie trend of the early and mid-2000s appears to have gone silent. Bring back the hairy man-beast. And the relatively negative opinion of Americans around the world could make an American Werewolf in any foreign city a clever, tongue-in-cheek dissection of international relations through the lens of fur-covered horror.

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15. Back to the Future

It's difficult to suggest that a Back to the Future movie could be made without Michael J. Fox, but I also never thought anyone could step into the shoes of Jack Nicholson as The Joker or even Leonard Nimoy as Spock. The concept of Back to the Future has too much potential to shut it down completely. And the development in special effects in the two-decades-plus since Robert Zemeckis' great film could make for a really interesting sci-fi comedy, which is not exactly a common genre in the current marketplace. We know this is going to lead to major hate mail, but here's an idea that would make a truckload of cash – Zac Efron in a Back to the Future reboot. Yeah, it might be the sign of apocalypse but it would also be a license to print money.

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14. Superman

Can we all just forget that Superman Returns ever happened? Please. I mean that movie had its problems when it was released but have you seen it lately? It's held up awfully. The only reason Superman the franchise isn't higher on the reboot list is because we still need time to get over what happened with Singer's film. It was eight years between Batman & Robin and Batman Begins. Maybe in 2014, we'll get a reboot of Clark, Lois, and Lex. The wounds should have healed by then.

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13. The Matrix

Does everyone remember that energy that greeted the arrival of The Matrix Reloaded? It was one of the most anticipated movies of not just that year but also several before. Who knew that by the time that year was over that this franchise would be completely dead? But is it really? There's so much storytelling potential in the world of Neo, Morpheus, Trilogy, Agent Smith, and the rest of the world created by the Wachowski brothers that it is simply hard to believe that there are no more stories to tell in this universe. Actually, this one most reminds us of Star Trek. Pull away the dialogue-heavy mumbo-jumbo of the last few films and turn a Matrix reboot into a big summer event. How about the second weekend in May 2011? Get to it.

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12. Star Wars

There are probably two responses going on out there in MovieRetriever reader's minds right now. One –  "This guy is an idiot. The Star Wars universe is alive and well. Has he seen Clone Wars? It ruled. I love Ziro the Hutt!" Two – "This guy is an idiot. Let the original trilogy be. Quit pillaging my childhood with awful prequels, sequels, reboots, and general crap." Admittedly, this is kind of a tough sell. It's one of the first franchises that I think people would love to see reinvigorated and brought back to life. Can you imagine a future without another Star Wars movie? It's probably not going to happen. But what should it be? Should it be parts 7-9 of the legendary story? Something altogether new? Another origin story? Star Wars Origins: Han Solo? You tell us. But it's going to happen eventually, so it has to be on the list.

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11. Gremlins

In the nearly twenty years since the last Gremlins movie, there have been several rumors of a remake/reboot/sequel. What's the hold-up? Like several of the franchises on this list, Gremlins could really benefit from modern special effects. And, with so many of today's filmmakers and studio heads having grown up on the movies of the 1980s, this could be a true passion project for the right director (like Star Trek is for Abrams). In other words, don't make this for the money. Find someone who grew up admiring Joe Dante, someone who loves 1980s movies, and let them remake this for a new generation.

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10. Ghostbusters

Let's face it – the dream of a third Ghostbusters movie, that rumor that keeps coming up every few years about the original cast coming back to the franchise, is pretty much dead. They can't even get the damn video game out on time. Forget all that noise about Office writers and Judd Apatow producing – I don't think an actual sequel is ever going to happen. And, to be blunt, the advancing age of the leads is starting to make it into something that shouldn't happen. Pretty soon, it would look more like a Space Cowboys reboot than a Ghostbusters movie. So, start over. Like Gremlins, find one of the many filmmakers influenced by the original and put some serious cash and star power behind it. This could anchor a summer season.

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9. The Crow

A reboot of The Crow would be more about saving the reputation of what became of this franchise after the first film. Have you seen The Crow: City of Angels? Don't. And it's best if we just forget that those stupid straight-to-DVD sequels ever happened. Goth is as big as it was when the original came out. Get My Chemical Romance to score the film and go real dark. Darker even than the original. We're talking Rob Zombie-dark. Vengeance tales – Last House on the Left, Taken – are big money right now and that's essentially what The Crow is – a vengeance tale from beyond the grave.

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8. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider always felt like the video-game-to-screen franchise with the most long-term potential and not just for Lara's short shorts. You won't see any suggestion of rebooting the Doom franchise on this list (or anywhere else) and we wish the Resident Evil franchise would just go away. But the action/adventure of the Tomb Raider franchise was always more cinematic than most video games. It was about lush settings, complex mysteries, and gripping action sequences. Why does it have to die with what was arguably a better sequel than original (The Cradle of Life)? Of course, Angelina's too busy making "serious" movies, but there are plenty of starlets willing to take on Lara Croft and plenty of fans dying to see it.

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7. Evil Dead

Like Ghostbusters, this is another franchise that has had a rumored sequel somewhere in pre-production for years. I love Bruce Campbell, but have you seen him lately? He's doing great work on Burn Notice, but My Name is Bruce proved that his tongue-in-cheek Ash years are probably best left behind him. So, yes, like Back to the Future, I'm suggesting something that will be sacrilegious to many people – recasting an iconic character. Go ahead. Send your hate mail. Yes, the character of Ash was largely what Bruce and Sam (Raimi) brought to it, but I think that another team of horror-loving actor/directors could bring a similar spark to a reboot of the franchise. Give Campbell and Ted Raimi a cameo. It would be a blast.

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6. Hellraiser

I sometimes feel like the accomplishments of Clive Barker's excellent original film have been sullied by the horrendous sequels that followed. Let's pretend those never happened and go back to the beginning. The problem with the Hellraiser sequels was that they turned Pinhead into a star. Yes, Pinhead is super-cool, but he shouldn't be the HERO of the film. He should be the villain. Hellraiser needs to return to its roots – a story about greed, sex, violence, and pure evil. So many young filmmakers have been inspired by Clive Barker. One of them needs to bring his most iconic franchise back from the other side.

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5. Alien

No, the Alien vs. Predator movies do NOT count. For anything. We need a straight-up Alien reboot. And, yes, if that means recasting Ripley, so be it. I too dreamed that a fifth Sigourney movie would restore the reputation of this franchise after audiences went off on Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection, but that train has left the station. It's time to pull the Alien franchise from the twisted claw of Paul W.S. Anderson and bring it back to the glory of the first two beloved films.

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4. Mad Max

The recasting heresy continues. Hey, did you ever think you'd see someone else but Shatner play Captain Kirk? So, quit being such a purist. Someone else could play Marty McFly, Lara Croft, Ripley, Ash, and, yes, even Mad Max. Because none of us want to see Mel Gibson do it again, although an old Mad Max might be more interesting than you think. Both a sequel ("Mad Max Beyond Viagra"?) and a straight-up reboot have tons of dramatic potential.

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3. Poltergeist

Every other 1980s horror movie franchise is being rebooted, why not this one? The massive success of Ghost Hunters proves that a lot of people still think there's something to this whole "visitors from the other side" thing, and the excitement over the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street reboots proves that 1980s horror holds a special spot in fan's hearts. Please, please, please take this one seriously. No one wants to see another lazy remake like When a Stranger Calls or Prom Night. Get an A-level cast. Get a good director. Find people, from actors to key grips, who aren't doing it just for the money but for their love of the original.

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2. The Muppets

Who doesn't love The Muppets? Honestly, if you can't find something entertaining about Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal, and the rest of the gang, then your funny bone just isn't in the right place. The last Muppet movie was ten years ago (Muppets from Space) and the franchise has been somewhat floundering since Jim Henson died. I feel like there has to be another great Muppet movie for the next generation somewhere out there. (Maybe it's the Jason Segel Muppet movie that's supposedly in pre-production. Let's all hope is.) I can't believe that the Muppet legacy ends with Space and a few mediocre TV movies. Kermit and Jim Henson deserve a better fate and this franchise deserves another life.

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1. RoboCop

If McG can take an iconic universe like that of The Terminator and breathe life into it with a reboot, why can't someone do the same for RoboCop? Let's face it. Times are tough out there with increased desperation, unemployment, and crime levels due to the economic crisis. Detroit practically looks like the vision in Verhoeven's original film. It's a perfect time for a RoboCop reboot. Heck, let Verhoeven do it. As anyone who's seen Black Book can tell you, he's still got the directorial chops to make a big splash. A sequel, especially after the train wreck of Robocop 3, would be a horrible idea, but something like RoboCop Begins, a film that completely ignores the existence of the original to remake/reboot the concept with new special effects and playing off modern national fears would be a HUGE adult summer hit. And the reboot we're most dying to see.

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What do you think? Did we miss any franchises that really deserve a reboot? Are you hungry for "Stakeout Begins," "Weekend at Bernie's Reloaded," or "Daredevil Salvation"?

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Posted by Turk182 in Lists, Features - April 27, 2009 at 12:04 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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