Last week Lando listed the Essential Seven franchise reboots that worked. Today we look at the flip side of the coin and sift through the Essential Seven reboots that failed miserably. Some things are better left alone. But when it comes to Hollywood A LOT of things are better left alone.
7. Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
I really had high hopes for this one. The original series was fun, it never took itself too seriously, but the writers and actors cared about the characters (and the car) so we did too. I feel like the movie didn’t take itself seriously enough for a feature length project, and they were more about just showing up with the car and expecting laughs and good times without any real effort.
6. Godzilla (1998)
What a terrible movie this was. Fresh off of the success of Independence Day, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin promised to wow audiences with their take on Godzilla. They were masters of cinematic destruction, so everyone was ready to blown away. I’m not going to say ID4 had amazing plausibility, but suspension of disbelief was pretty easy. I never did get on board with Godzilla (nor did a lot of the audience) because of how absolutely stupid it was. There was too much borrowing from Jurassic Park. Here’s the real clincher though… Japanese Godzilla movies were wonderfully fun and campy, I feel like Emmerich and Devlin really blew it with their “epic” failure.
5. Knight Rider 2000 (1991)
I loved Knight Rider as a kid, I mean who didn’t? I’ve watched most of the shows recently on DVD, and though it’s clearly trapped in the 80s, the entertainment value still holds strong. There was a chain of reboots and reimaginings of the Knight Rider franchise, this was the first. The supplanted KITT into a red car, killed Devon, and tried too hard to comment on social issues. It was a mess and not at all fun to watch, the real key behind Knight Rider, was that it was a real fun show to watch.
4. Psycho (1998)
Psycho is on this list because it should never have been revisited, and if you were going to revisit it, there is an opportunity to really get creative and bring something new to the table. The shot for shot remake really just feels like laziness instead of reverence.
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
No no no no no. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) is such a classic, it’s hard for me to imagine a good way to update it. It was also apparently very hard for Tim Burton to imagine also. It felt conceived because it was an “appropriate” outlet for Burton’s “wacky” styling. I thought it would have been OK if there had never been the 70s version (I can’t conceive my childhood without it though). But you can’t ignore the 70s version, and I felt like this one was spitting on it.
2. AvP (2004)
The Alien series is one of my favorite collections of films. Say what you will about 3 or 4, but I think they work together as different themes based on a common set of characters. After 4 forcefully closed the book on the franchise, some “brilliant” assholes tried to reboot the franchise by mixing in the Predator. This gets the number two spot for a few reasons. A) They mixed two very unequal properties. I like Predator 1 & 2, but they’re not in the same league as Alien or Aliens and it’s an insult to the legacy. B) This could have been a really cool movie. I actually thought it would have been harder to make a bad movie with these two properties. Epic fumble. C) That scene where the Predator makes the universal symbol for “explosion” and he and the human run away in slow motion. I have seen animals take shits that have more artistic integrity than that scene.
1. Planet of the Apes (2001)
I shouldn’t even have to point this out. The original 1967 Planet of the Apes is a brilliant movie. It’s scary and prophetic, and as prolific as it is good pop culture. Sure the visual effects and technology are a bit dated, but it told an amazing story of humanity and it’s destiny. I believe Tim Burton was handed a mountain of cash, he ate it, and proceeded to vomit on his keyboard. They filmed that, and called it Planet of the Apes. The reason I hate this movie so, so much is that not only did it spit on the POTA legacy, really preventing people from wanting to experience the original, it was harder to watch than Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Do you understand what I just wrote? I said it was harder to watch than Battle for the Planet of the Apes. POTA 5 is so terribly put together and acted, and written, and conceived, that one thought it was possibly the least enjoyable cinematic experience in the history of human endeavors. I was wrong.