Giving Reboots The Boot: The Amazing Spider-Man

“Gimme that popcorn …. NOW!”

Just like the critics say Andrew Garfield as Spiderman and Emma Stone as love interest Gwen Stacey cook up some good old-fashioned chemistry. The A-list cast (Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary) acquit themselves admirably, two time Oscar winner Alvin  Sargent (Ordinary People, Julia ), Steve Kloves (of The Fabulous Baker Boys) fame) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) have crafted an intelligent screenplay and director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) dishes up some gee whiz f/x without losing track of the human drama.

Still, I have to ask myself if the big studios are so bereft of new ideas that they have to fall back on established brands? I mean, the whole Spderman thing has already been done, three times, if you count the sequels.

Maybe I’m old school but I still prefer Tobey Maguire’s nerdy teenager /reluctant superhero.

“They’re doing Spiderman again? You’ve got to be kidding!”

In 21 Jump Street Jonah Hill and the gang poke fun at  flicks in which the stars are clearly too old to be in high school. (Channing Tatum can barely fit in his desk.)

In The Amazing Spider Man the filmmakers seriously want us to believe Garfield is in high school. (This brought a knowing snicker from younger members of the audience at the screening I attended.)   I could buy Garfield and his classmates as university frosh, perhaps, but high school kids? Even I am not that gullible.

It is not hard to imagine Maguire’s character  being nerdy, romantically insecure and vulnerable. But Garfield, with his hunky good looks really has to work at it.

“Honest! I’m only in Grade 11!”

Next month we’ll have a remake,uh, excuse me, reboot of the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Sharon Stone sci-fi actioner Total Recall with Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel.

Later this year, there will be a “reboot” of Judge Dredd. Sly Stallone flopped big time with his adaptation of the comic book creation. Not to worry. Brit helmer Pete Travis (Endgame) has cast Karl Urban in the title role in Dredd 3D

Another reboot? I Dredd the Thought

Coming up next summer is Zack Snyder’s  “reboot” of the Superman legend with British actor Henry Cavill playing the title role in Man of Steel.  (Conventional wisdom has it that viewers like Batman because he is moody and conflicted, reflecting the age we live in.  The argement goes that the traditonal Superman played by Christopher Reeve and – more recently – Brandon Routh is too squeaky clean for our troubled era. Using that logic, then, we expect the retooled Superman as played by Cavill will be darker and edgier. )

Poster for upcoming Superman “reboot”

What worries me is that, judging from the megabuck box office success of the Spiderman “reboot”, there will be more remakes, uh excuse me, “reboots” in the works.

Some cynics have even suggested  the Twilight series will be “rebooted” in a few years to cater to a whole new demographic too young to see the films in theatres and rediscovering the books. Who knows? There may be a new Bella and Edward right now, frolicking in the playground (or appearing in a babyfood commercial.)  

And, of course, in a few years, the Harry Potter series may be due for a “reboot”.

The more money these rebooted films make, the better the chances are for more remakes of fan favorites for younger audiences.

After all, with advances in online technology, it may become harder to lure younger viewers into theatres.

Too bad. There was a time when studios had room for original new product by young imaginative writers and directors.

Now, however with budgets rising, the studios are all about business and with millions of dollars ar stake, producers have elected to play it safe with new spins of tried and true titles (brands?) rather than risking it all on untried new product. And, of course, any new premise that manages to slip in under the radar and become a surprise hit will be sequelled to death.

One can only hope independent filmmakers can continue to get financing for films with a quirky, original and highly personal vision. (From what I hear, it is becomingly increasingly challenging to raise money for these kind of films.)




Author: rixbitz

media gadfly

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