Where would Hollywood be without the humble reboot? It seems that every month brings a blast from the past, repackaged for a new generation to sink its teeth into. The film industry loves to bet on a winning formula, and the critical and commercial successes of the Batman and Bond reboots a decade or so ago has led to a deluge of similar attempts, with rather mixed results.
Some, like The Planet of the Apes, are unanimously declared to be even better than the original, garnering big profits at the box office, and spawning a gorilla-sized merchandising side-industry, from Caesar t-shirts to online slot games. But for every Apes triumph, there must be at least ten other efforts (see Steve Martin’s Pink Panther) which are best flushed down the memory hole.
Despite the mixed success of Hollywood’s ABR (Always Be Rebooting) strategy of the last decade, it seems that there is no end in sight to the stream of classic films being dug up, reanimated, and left to roam around your local multiplex. A Google search of ‘upcoming reboots’ shows some surprising titles in the pipeline. Some of these seem to us to have been pretty rubbish the first-time round. Others though are films that were great in their original format, and we are now terrified that a reboot will ruin our memories of them forever. Here are four upcoming films where we hope the reboots will be at least as good as the original.
Rights-holders Morgan Creek recently announced a shift into TV and digital platforms, with a strategy of exploiting its library of titles, including Young Guns and Ace Ventura. The current plan for the Pet Detective is for a movie leading to a TV series, with the possibility of Jim Carrey returning to pass the baton onto a new animal investigator, who might be male or female. Casting for the lead role is going to be crucial to make this remake a success. It’s hard to see who could play the role of oddball as well as Carrey did, and while there is no shortage of established and able comic actors in Hollywood today, the TV route is going to mean looking for some up-and-coming talent.
Surely one of the most unnecessary reboots imaginable, how could anyone possibly improve on Brian De Palma’s classic (itself a loose remake)? Al Pacino was at his best in 1983, producing a remarkably intense performance in arguably the best gangster movie of all time. The task of doing it better has been too much for several directors, with Antoine Fuqa and David Ayer both dropping out, but Rogue One’s Diego Luna is still pencilled in for the lead role. The script is under wraps, and all we know is that Los Angeles will stand in for Miami. The rumour is that Ayer parted company with the project after producers felt his vision was too dark. Too dark? It’s Scarface! Is Starsky & Hutch their vision of the perfect reboot?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
It is surely testament to the popularity of Jim Carrey’s off-beat, rubbery slapstick humour that no less than two of his movies are earmarked for imminent reboots. The Grinch received decidedly mixed reviews when it came out in 2000, but has aged better with time, and it is a staple of Yuletide viewing in our household. We doubt any reboot could knock Carrey’s effort off its perch, but Universal are currently developing an animated version, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the leading role. He was great as high-functioning sociopath Sherlock, and just about believable as Dr. Strange, but does Cumberbatch have the vocal talents to portray the twisted Grinch better than Carrey? I have my doubts.
An American Werewolf in London
The original is surely the greatest werewolf film of all time, combining fear, fur and the wonderful Jenny Agutter in one delightful package. This will be another hard one to better, but with Max Landis (son of John Landis, director of the 1981 version) lined up to direct it, then we should at least expect to see the same slightly lighthearted tone as the original. It was recently revealed that Landis senior did write a script for a sequel involving all the characters coming back, and it sounds a lot of fun. Maybe Max can build on that and finally make another decent werewolf movie, almost 40 years after the last?