In the world of movies right now, the reboot – rehash, recycle, spin-off, prequel, sequel, re-sequel, re-reboot – is king. Everything that was once popular, or perhaps more aptly, familiar, is in line for a new outing in cinemas. 100s of films have been earmarked for a reinterpretation of some kind, and it seems that the phenomenon is going to continue. Space Jam 2 (Lebron does a Jordan), Matrix 4 (maybe), a Big Lebowski spin-off (really?), Indiana Jones 5 (oh, Indy), The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection (God, no), Freddy vs. The Ghostbusters (take my money now) and just about everything else you can think off is in the works.
Below we are going to pick out four rebooted movies (technically, sequels) that are in production (or heavily rumoured to have had the green light) and discuss why we feel they just won’t work out. We may be wrong, of course, but the argument is, for various reasons, that these will bomb with fans and critics:
Some might point to the recent prequel to Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal as evidence that Labyrinth can once again lead us on a magic dance. However, this “direct continuation of the first movie many years later” feels wrong. Sure, it has the talented Fede Alvarez at the helm, and that’s a positive, but Labyrinth really felt of its time. Part of the original film’s enduring charm is that it transports us back to childhood, wonky sets et al. The truth is that the acting and just about everything else is poor in Labyrinth, but, somewhat like The Princess Bride, that forms a particular part of the allure when we rewatch the movie. Moreover, we don’t have David Bowie around anymore. And, nobody can ever replace the great man in anything.
Beverly Hills Cop 4
An interesting one this, certainly in light of Eddie Murphy’s brilliant performance in Dolemite is My Name. Murphy is set to trot out sequels to Coming to America and Beverly Hills Cop. The latter series of films (certainly, the first two) were the perfect vehicles for Murphy’s edgy comedy in the 1980s, but one would argue that they were never brave enough in addressing race issues. A film with an African-American lead does not have to be about race, of course, but Murphy’s fish-out-of-water character, Axel Foley did enter a world of extreme whiteness, but one where the racial undertones were never explored fully. Will the new movie take a chance in this respect? It’s more likely it merely cashes in on some renewed nostalgia for its lead actor.
The first issue here is that the majority of protagonists died in the first film, so this is going to be based around a new cast. But remember: This is historical fiction, so it’s not as if there is a “Gladiator Extended Universe” to build on. Indeed, despite being a wonderful film, there isn’t much fandom around Gladiator – no comics or canon – and the closest we could find to some branded merchandise is the Gladiator slot at this site: https://www.casino.com/ca/casino-games/. The new film will centre around Lucius (Emperor Commodus’ nephew), but where does the movie go? And, how can it be considered a sequel? Some big names are behind the project, including Ridley Scott, but it feels about as logical as making a sequel to Gandhi or Shakespeare in Love.
Ghostbusters: After Life
Nobody really knows whether Jason Reitman can pull off a good movie here, but, as with Ghostbusters (2016), the problem is one of the audiences’ perceptions. Fans held the original Ghostbusters in the highest regard, and many of them (wrongly) saw the all-female reboot as somehow diminishing their experience of the original movie. Reitman, somewhat controversially, has played to that crowd, promising a direct sequel from the original movies. However, it feels more like a reboot, and the trailers do not suggest the tone of the original films is continued. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd et al might make a fleeting appearance, but this looks less and less like the kind of sequel fans demanded. The concept of ‘passing the torch to the next generation of Ghostbusters’ is fine, but the marketing is presenting the film as something else. Fans aren’t stupid, and one would expect some push back.