Every artist struggles with being able to top, improve upon, or even equal the work of those who have come before them. It’s fairly unique to the medium of film to have new artists (e.g. directors, writers, producers etc.) take on projects that have already been done by their forbearers. There aren’t a lot of novelists who set out to rewrite, or reboot famous books. Aside from the copyright laws that prohibit that, it just isn’t an acceptable form of innovation in the novel-writing community, but the in the movie community, it’s a different story altogether. Here is a breakdown of some of the most infamous rebooted films that were a complete disaster.
Total Recall (2012)
While Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance didn’t exactly set the world on fire in the original, Paul Verhoeven’s direction and Ronald Shusett and company did firmly place the film in the annals of classic dystopian science fiction films. Heck, it even won an academy award, which is more than I can say about the 2012 Len Wiseman remake, which couldn’t even get arrested in Hollywood. Kyle Smith, in his review from the New York Post said it best when he summed up the final showdown between Colin Farrell and Bryan Cranston:“As for a villain, you could do worse than Bryan Cranston as the evil political overlord who is trying to stamp out the resistance… But… When he goes mano a mano with Farrell, it’s not spine-tingling. It’s embarrassing, like watching a dude beat up his dad.”
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Seriously, guys. This movie was JUST rebooted less than a decade ago, and it was great, with a few exceptions. But, seriously. This was actually not a terrible film. I did enjoy it, despite the PAINFULLY corny“crane operators” scene, however, the great talent that went into making this film could have been much better served had they not spent their efforts on a re-telling of the same tired origin story and just jumped into something like“Spider-Man: Year 10” or a much older Spider-Man dealing with a changing criminal landscape in New York, or even “Spider-Man: Year 5,” or something like that. The origin story really was an anchor in the mud for this reboot and it could have gone much further without it.
The A Team (2010)
What was the elevator pitch for this film? “Hey, let’s do a big-budget blockbuster reboot of a barely remembered, cheesy T.V. show from 1983!” I don’t know to whom that was pitched, but I hope they are pushing a broom rather than a pen by now. Also, this was a weird year for Liam Neeson, who had featured roles in not one but two terrible reboots.
Clash of the Titans (2010)
Actually, not a bad idea for a reboot. The original was super cornball and was one of the last feature films to use stop-motion puppets for special effects. The 1981 “classic” didn’t set the acting, directing, or plot bar very high, so any reboot wouldn’t have a high bar at all to reach, making it an almost guaranteed success. It was a terrible failure when it came to the critical reception, but actually made over double its 125 million dollar budget back. So, just because a move stinks both times around doesn’t mean that they can’t be monetary successes. One of the many dirty open secrets of Hollywood.
Superman Returns (2006) Bryan Singer
This was a victim of its own heightened expectations. Singer isn’t a terrible director by any means and his vision behind the new Superman was solid, however, the movie was so middle of the road that it just seemed lifeless and wooden. It succeeded in bringing much of the original glory of Superman back to the big screen, but failed to add anything interesting in the process.
The Stepford Wives (2004)
This film just couldn’t decide what it wanted to be. Was it a spoof of the original? Was it a reboot into light sci-fi horror? Was it a spoof of a spoof of the original? The director, Frank Oz, certainly didn’t have any clue and by the time the film was over, neither did the audience.
The Italian Job (2003)
While far from the worst movie on this list, The Italian Job reboot failed to really top the original in terms of stakes, plot, acting, or even special effects. It did, however, do just as well. It suffered the same fate as the Singer Superman reboot: just not enough new ideas to keep it interesting.
Hulk (Ang Lee) 2003
Hulked out, mutated poodles. Need I say more? Shame on you, Ang Lee.
Sorry, Jurassic Park totally thrashed this soulless cash-grab of a “film.” Go back to the bottom of the ocean where you belong. The Godzilla franchise is so beloved by fans around the globe that the reboot should have been taken much more seriously. This was just a prime example of the wrong people in charge of what should have been a great project.
Feel free to comment and add your favorites or least favorites to the list, we would love to hear from you!
Zack Mandell is a movie enthusiast, writer of movie reviews, and owner of www.movieroomreviews.com which has great information on actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger. He writes extensively about the movie industry for sites such as Gossip Center, Yahoo, NowPublic, and Helium.