Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Remake or Reboot, Do Not Reset: Why Jurassic World is Dangerous

A Sequel to the Original
The film industry has been obsessed with producing remakes since it opened it's doors. In 1904 Siegmund Lubin remade the 1903 film The Great Train Robbery setting the precedent of rehashing old material for new movies*. A lot of people forget this fact and insist that Hollywood has no good ideas left when in reality, bad films always outnumber the good films on any given year. I personally embrace remakes and reboots, but what I'm not willing to accept is the notion of sequelizing an original, beloved film in a franchise while ignoring the missteps that came after, and that's exactly what Jurassic World does.

*In reality he was just cheap and didn't want to pay royalties, but the point still applies.

Before, if you were to make a new movie that drew on the love for a prior film, you were forced to make a sequel or start anew. Good or bad, at least it was a clear continuation or a fresh start. Now it seems we are allowing film studios to make bad sequels that they themselves are allowed to ignore. How did this change come about? We kinda have J.J. Abrams to thank for it.

A Case for Rebooting:
Well Executed Reboot
J.J. knew he was playing with fire by rebooting Star Trek as nerd's toes are delicate and easily stepped upon. However, he had no desire to work within the confines of it's previously established universe, thus, his team cracked the code. They cleverly inserted a time travel storyline from within the original universe and forged themselves an alternative timeline to play within.

This "soft-reboot" as it is known allowed the original property to exist without constraining the new one. You have to give it up, it's a pretty genius concept. However, its success appears to have given Hollywood the idea that they can just "reset" continuity anywhere without utilizing clever storytelling devices.

A Case for Remaking:
Well Executed Remake
Take Ocean's 11. Soderbergh took a film largely celebrated only out of nostalgia and forged it into a masterpiece of a modern heist movie starring the A-list talent of the day. As often happens, with it's success came Hollywood's other obsession, the sequel.

Despite showing moments of genius, Ocean's 12 was a flawed movie and gave birth the worst fucking plot device in the history of cinema (Julia Roberts playing Tess playing Julia Roberts? Barf). Thus, for 13 they reverted back to the original formula that worked so well. However, even though they retrograded to what made the original movie so special, they had enough respect to embrace the events of 12.

What is Resetting and Why is it Dangerous:
Resetting simply picks and chooses the events in a timeline that it wishes to use and throws out anything that doesn't suit it's best interest. It resurrects your positive memories while lying to your face by pretending that negatively-reviewed, past films in it's franchise don't exist. If we as an audience are willing to look the other way when a franchise puts out a bad product, then the studios lose all incentive to make a good product in the first place.

Jurassic World is guilty of this. Though no one has directly said that the events of the second two films aren't canon, you really would imagine they would have been referenced if they were. No matter how amazing the film may be and how many times it references the original movie, it purposefully avoids dealing with the fact that the second two unpopular films in the franchise were made. Are the fans of the "Jurassic Park Trilogy" supposed to forgive and forget that they were fed a series of godaweful films that did little more than cash in on the franchises name? Just remake the damn movie, it's way less insulting to the fans that have supported your product.

Down the Rabbit Hole We Go:
Alien 3-2? Alien 3B? Alien 3: What If?
Who knows.
Love Alien and Aliens but hate the other films in the franchise? Don't worry, Hollywood will have you covered with the new "Alien 3" by Neill Blomkamp. "Wait? Didn't Alien 3 come out and suck-ass?" you ask. Well the new one will reset the timeline and ignore the events of the other films entirely. That's right, he is pretending that Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection didn't happen. This is plain lazy ass storytelling. I'm truly sorry, as we all are, that Alien 3 turned out to be a horrible pile of shit, but that is the movie the studio chose to interfere with and distribute. They have made their bed and we as an audience should hold them accountable to lie in it and I think that David Fincher would agree with me.

In Conclusion:
"The Godfather 3B"
hitting theaters in 2017.
I'm not a person that believes that every franchise needs touched, but I understand that is the way the system is, forever cashing in on your fondest-memories. But at least, if you're going to fuck with the movies that we so love, give respect to the audience that came to the theater for the shitty follow ups by not attempting to "sweep them under the rug". Don't just ignore several films in a series because you don't like the events of them, it's lazy and disrespectful. Jurassic World may be a fine film that both stands on it's own and lovingly pays tribute to the original, but don't let the studios off the hook for producing bad movies just because they finally made a good one.