Today: February 23, 2024

By – Nadia Attia – As this month’s The Amazing Spider-Man proves, aside from the fashion world, the movie industry is the most prolific at pressing Ctrl Alt Del on its product and rebooting for the ‘modern age’.

ByNadia Attia

As this month’s The Amazing Spider-Man (Main Picture) proves, aside from the fashion
world, the movie industry is the most prolific at pressing Ctrl Alt Del on its
product and rebooting for the ‘modern age’.

With so many reboots in recent times it surely begs the questions ‘where have
all the new ideas gone’? And, perhaps more importantly, ‘what was wrong with
the original’?

The reboot is not a
re-interpretation of a popular story (for example Snow White And The Huntsman), nor is it a simple remake (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). The
reboot, from what we understand, is basically a brand refresh – a
back-to-the-drawing-board moment that attempts to bring a familiar character or
franchise in line with contemporary tastes. From a cynical perspective: it’s
the result of studios wringing more money out of a proven format until, either
it’s lifeless and limp, or audiences have clawed their own faces off in
boredom. They probably wouldn’t even stop at the latter.

That’s not to say that some reboots
don’t get it right – look at what Christopher
n did for the Batman
franchise and what Joss Whedon has
just done with The Avengers (OK, not
really a reboot, but he’s spawned the best Hulk
yet). Superheroes are perhaps the best example of the reboot phenomenon – as
figureheads for the Age, they go from upbeat and pantomime to gritty and
realistic – and back – in the swoosh of a cape. They also come from the
ever-expanding comic book universes, which provide plenty of tricks and cameos
to sweeten tired old stories.

It’s been ten years since Spiderman
first crawled across our movie screens as Spider-Man, and Sam Raimi’s film still holds up well. Sure, the franchise lost its
way by Spider-Man 3 – as soon as Maguire started mincing down the street
to James Brown – but it’s still regarded warmly by many. However, 2012’s, The
Amazing Spiderman seems like a timely move, and here’s why. The 3D technology
is readily available and there’s no superhero better able to render
multi-dimensionally than one who spends a lot of time flying or falling through
the city. It feels like time to revisit the superhero’s comic book roots with
an injection of fun and quirkiness – something Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker has coming out of his pores. And
with the introduction of a supervillain, that was overlooked by the Raimi
trilogy, this reboot seems fresh.

Modern audiences, it is hoped, are
too fickle to simply accept a reboot because it has a younger/sexier/more
American cast – that’s the lazy route and they see through the dollar signs.
The execs need to understand that the characters they are messing with are
childhood heroes who’ve been with us through thick and thin, through bedtime
stories, break ups and escapist daydreams. They’re legends – ideals that need
to be treated with respect and integrity. But to achieve longevity, and be able
to show our kids, grandkids and great grandkids these legendary figures without
them laughing us out of the room, the reboot needs to provide a way to keep the
story alive. It’s like a folk tale sang across a flickering campfire – except
that here the flames are replaced by 1’s and 0’s and Dolby surround.

Yet no-one can deny that poor
Superman has been through the wringer, as has The Hulk, and still the studios
can’t let them go until they’ve cracked the formula for worldwide box office
domination – you can almost hear the words ‘we’ve paid for the rights and will
darn well get our money’s worth’ echo across the boardroom. Other iconic
characters are facing the same fate – Judge
Dredd, Lara Croft, Freddie Krueger, The Crow
. It’s said that once you’ve
really understood and mastered the rules only then can you break them. This should
be the edict of the reboot too – if you don’t understand or appreciate the
origins, you should leave well alone.

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