I’ve been pretty open about my lenient policy towards reboots. Basically, my view is that reboots can be cynical, unoriginal moneygrabs, but so can original movies. As long as a movie’s good, I don’t much care whether it’s a completely new story or the 500th take on Spider-Man.
That said, Hollywood does have an originality problem (or rather a lack-of-originality problem), and though I would say reboots are a symptom of that, not a cause, I understand the frustration whenever a new version of Sister Act or Big Trouble in Little China is announced (The Rock, though). Why is Hollywood always rebooting movies that are already good?! (Answer: Because brand recognition and money.) Why not give a second chance to movies that should have been good, only someone fucked up along the way? (Answer: Because risk aversion and money.) Someone needs to get their asses to work rebooting…
The Golden Compass
The film adaptation of the first book in Philip Pullman’s much-loved His Dark Materials trilogy was fighting an uphill battle even before it came out, with religious groups slamming the film for being atheist propaganda. (To be fair, Pullman’s an atheist, and His Dark Materials is very critical of organized religion, but it also has a lot to say about spirituality, and aw fuck I don’t want to go into this now.) In the end, parent groups didn’t have to worry about scores of ickle babies streaming out of the theater chanting “DEATH TO GOD,” because no one saw The Golden Compass.* Because The Golden Compass sucked.
Fans of the book hated how its elements critical of religion were watered down, plus there was the small matter of the original ending being chopped off so the movie wouldn’t be such a downer. The ending in question—“Whoops, Lyra, your best friend died and your dad is evil!”—were going to be moved to the second movie… which never happened. Asked about it today, the best thing most people have to say about The Golden Compass is “Well, Ian McKellen made a good polar bear.”
*Domestically, that is. It did pretty well overseas.
The Last Airbender
I’m pretty sure that fans of Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender still have low-grade PTSD stemming from the 2010 movie version (for good reason). Bring up the idea of another movie, and you’ll probably see a lot of shaking and gibbering. But Avatar still deserves a good movie, God dammit! Just keep Shyamalan far, far away from it, and don’t cast white people this time.
Yeah, it doesn’t come out for another three and a half months, but I’m calling it. Just start another movie now—one with holograms and secret identities so that it bears even a passing resemblance to the original source material. Molly Ringwald can stay.
Titanic sucks. I will die on this hill. (Or, rather, go down with this ship.) I rewatched it again recently to be sure my hate didn’t stem from irrational bitterness over it making more money than Star Wars. Which it did. Because 1997 me wasn’t fucking around. But Titanic is still shit. The script is shit. The performances are shit. James Cameron has no clue what to do with actors. What’s very much not shit is the chunk of the film devoted to the film sinking, which was masterfully done on Cameron’s part. I want a Titanic movie that’s just that, with none of the hackneyed romance bullshit. Attica! Attica!
The Avengers (no, not that one)
One of the most infamously horrible TV-to-movie adaptations of all time, 1998’s The Avengers could really use a 21st century update where superspy Emma Peel, played in the ’60s show by Diana Rigg, is played by Rigg’s Game of Thrones granddaughter Natalie Dormer. Genetics demands that it be so:
Tentative honorable mention goes to the Percy Jackson movies. I’ve never seen them, but I understand that the fans of the books (which I also have not read) regard them as a huge disappointment. Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.
(In before “But Rebecca, Hollywood should devote their resources to original movies instead of spending millions on things that have already been done!”—yeah, good luck with that. I just want a good Avatar movie. Thank you and goodbye.)