Sandra Bullock is awesome. So is Cate Blanchett. So is Rihanna. So is Mindy Kaling, So is Sarah Paulson. So is Anne Hathaway. So is Awkwafina. So is Helena Bonham Carter. Now that we have firmly established these facts, we can say that the cast for Ocean’s 8, the reboot of a reboot, is awesome and because of that, I am very excited about this movie, which arrived in theaters yesterday.
As I plan out the first of what could be many, many viewings this weekend, I’ve gotten to thinking about reboots, remakes and revivals in general. They are everywhere. If there is even a thread of nostalgic feeling for a franchise out there, Hollywood is hell-bent on cashing in. Some are great, some are fine and others are just awful. Here are our preferred reboots and revivals here at Down the Drive.
Clayton’s Five Up
1. True Grit
The John Wayne original was fun. The 2010 Coen Brothers take on Charles Portis’ novel was fun too but it was also something else. It is as vivid and finely crafted a western as anything since Unforgiven.
Peter Falk never missed a beat. The late 1980s/1990s Columbo mysteries are just as top shelf as the 1970s originals. I am not much for rewatching movies and TV shows but I can hop into the middle of any Columbo episode from any era and finish it up.
Endowed with the Frank Capra-esque screen magic that made the original Rocky so powerful.
4. Dark Shadows
Tim Burton’s loving 2012 film version of Dark Shadows captures the sense of humor of the original soap opera while cultivating a distinct visual landscape on Collinsport.
5. A Star is Born
70s trash personified.
Clayton’s Five Down
Both the star and the program itself were as mean and crass in the reboot as they were in the original. Good riddance.
2. Red Dawn
The newish one lacks the moral clarity or sense of fun of the 1980s original.
The CW’s take on the 1980s classic is insufficiently trashy for my taste. The characters on this new series displayed more virtue, decorum and decency in one episode than Linda Evans and Joan Collins did in eight seasons.
4. Arrested Development
They should have left well enough alone with the first two seasons.
Johnny’s Five Up
1. The New Adventures of Zorro (1981)
Filmation’s short-lived story of Don Diego and some guy in a weird pink outfit were a great addition to the ongoing legacy of the hero of old California. In that kind of 1980’s He-Man style of animation with some very smooth swordfighting, the 13 stories told by this brief series were a great way to get little kids like me excited about a character that had been around for most of the 20th century. Granted, the series aired two years before I was born, but years later I still learned a bunch of sort-of-interesting facts about California during the P.S.A. segments. The voice acting was excellent for the time, and had a kind of fun writing style that made the stories quirky and charming while also being fun adventure. Meritorious points to the live-action series later in the 1980’s too on the Family Channel.
2. Batman: The Animated Series
Taking a property that was already a bit played out by the 1989 movie with its Batdance and all of that jive, BTAS brought the noir and art deco elements of its scenery to life with what is undoubtedly the best voice cast ever assembled. Find an episode of this show (excluding the Sewer one) that isn’t good. They’re all good. It’s probably responsible for all of the superhero movies you see today.
Editor’s note: Big fan of Johnny’s Batman stance here. I look forward to continued agreement on Batman-related media for years to come ...
3. Gundam Wing
I know, it’s a third cartoon and it’s an anime. Or “Japanimation” as Clayton insists on calling it. This was my first introduction to Gundam, so is it really a reboot for me? In Japan, they reboot stuff all the time—every year is a different Gundam story, it seems. I haven’t kept up in recent years, but this action series brought out my inner dork to crazy levels. Taking the Mecha combat and political maneuvering from the first few series and kicking everything up several notches is always a good formula for success. Gundam 00 was a success in a similar fashion. Cool mecha designs, cool hair and even cool music. It’s the show that dragged my attention to watching things with subtitles.
4. The Prequel Star Wars Movies
“But Johnny,” you snivel, “Those were part of George Lucas’ original vision.” No they weren’t. They have grown on me in recent years, particularly because of something on the list below. They’re fun little space romps that feel like Star Wars, and not Rian Johnson sorting out his abandonment issues. Plus we got the Clone Wars animated series, and that’s a sneaky way for me to put another cartoon on here.
5. The Maltese Falcon
What’s that, you say? That’s not a reboot? Sure was. In 11 years of being out there, the “stuff that dreams are made of” was made into a movie three times. Only the third one is worth discussing. And it’s marvelous in every single way. Looking forward to the animated reboot that is inevitable. (5/5 cartoons).
Honorable Mention: Limozeen: But They’re in Space.
Johnny’s Five Down
1. The new Star Wars movies
I didn’t need to see how they got the Death Star plans. I haven’t seen Solo yet (and judging by the box office, neither did you). I don’t care about the new set of characters half as much as the Skywalker family. And Yoda burns a tree for no reason other than to show that he can. That, and the fandom’s atrocious behavior towards Kelly Marie Tran and Daisy Ridley, makes this an obvious down for me.
This gets points for trying to blend old and new. But it slowly evolved into the reality-like NXT (which had an awesome reboot itself). It’s too bad that Vince will never be able to create the illusion of competition. Unless he’s secretly behind All In, in which case… well done, Vince. Well done.
3. The Christopher Nolan Batman Movies
Unpopular opinions, ahoy. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises were a waste of three excellent Batman villains (Ra’s Al-Ghul, Bane and a deceptively good Catwoman performance by Anne Hathaway) that could have avoided a lot of the same re-treading of “How did Master Wayne become Batman?”
The physics questions aside from the ending of Rises, the stories were plagued by the reputation of being “grittier and realistic.” Batman isn’t realistic. He’d be arrested swiftly as soon as someone realized “Hey, this guy has to be super rich and super crazy.” I’d take an Affleck Batphone-in over a pompous British Batman any day.
The teaming up of villains left no place for the unique use of Harley Quinn (see Batman: The Animated Series for how to do this effectively) when they focused on a mentally unstable Joker. And let’s not forget that there was a substantial cost to Hollywood in the effect the role reportedly had on Heath Ledger.
Basically, I don’t want realistic. I want action and fantasy, and although I get that people want to see the Dark Knight fighting off his rogues gallery in an approximation of real-life, I don’t want to see boardroom maneuvering and other details that add to the realism.
My biggest bone to pick is wasting Ra’s and Talia Al-Ghul. Some of the absolute best stories have been told with them, the Lazarus pits, all of it. Yet, in the name of realism, we omit immortality and madness for a freshman year Marxist worldview where things have to get worse before they get better. That’s facile in a multitude of ways, but it’s particularly facile in trying to create a sympathetic villain. Ra’s doesn’t want to kill Gotham to make the world a better place, but to “teach it a lesson.” Considering the amount of money implicit in the League of Shadows’ plans (it’s the League of Assassins, guys. You own the trademark.), you could much more readily build a three part story where Ra’s is both funding the people of Gotham and actively working against its government and its corrupt officials. Make him more Pablo Escobar, and less Leon Trotsky, and you’ve got a story there.
Editor’s note: ... Johnny is no longer invited to Five Up, Five Down.
5. Godzilla 1998/2014 and any of the King Kongs that came out after the original
I had to write this on my phone because I threw my computer across the room thinking about Puffy singing “Come with Me.” They don’t even try to tell a new story. You want to tell a good story? Watch Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla. “Why, this could only be… Space Titanium.” RIVETING.
Phil’s Five Up
1. Dark Knight Trilogy
I went to see Batman Begins as a high schooler with low expectations. A movie that came out just before the dawn of an era when trailers are pushed in front of us every second of every day, I knew little about the story, cast or director. Plus the last Batmna movie I saw involved Bat nipples and a credit card.
After viewing the 140-minute marvel that Christopher Nolan constructed, I was left stunned. Did I really just watch a Batman movie that wasn’t just good because Batman was in it but was actively good by its own merit? Yes. Yes I had, teenage me.
Hype built for The Dark Knight right then and there, leading to the greatest midnight premiere I have ever attended. Not only was every viewer locked into the story, but we all created this collective consciousness in the theater, hanging on every bit of action, gasping, laughing and cherishing the greatest super hero film ever made as one.
The Dark Knight Rises may not have topped its predecessor, but despite being maligned a bit since, it is still a very good movie and the lone trilogy to really stick the landing. This is how you reboot.
2. God of War (2018)
Kratos, the main character of the God of War games, was extremely fun when I was in high school. Excessively violent, brash and with the rage of a thousand System of a Down albums, he laid waste to the pantheon of Greek mythology, and I ate it up. But I have grown up a bit since then, so when it was announced that the series would be rebooted at E3 in 2016, I was indifferent. Thank goodness that indifference turned to mild interest, causing me to play it this year. The combat is better, but more importantly, so are the characters and story. I’ll leave out spoilers, but if you have a PS4, this is a must-play.
3. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Tom Holland is the best Peter Parker. I will not be taking questions at this time.
4. X-Men First Class
An uneven first trilogy in the X-Men universe ended horrible with X-Men: The Last Stand. While it did give us Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, the series never hit the highs it got to in X2 again. First Class was a refreshingly new take on the franchise, and gave us Michael Fassbender’s spectacular turn at Magneto. This then led into Days of Future Past, which was even better.
5. Family Guy
While the show, freshly renewed for its 17th season, may have become a bit long in the tooth, at its peak it was one of the funniest shows out there. It nearly missed that peak, as it was cancelled by Fox after its first two seasons, only to come back stronger than ever.
Honorable Mention: Blade Runner 2049, Assassin’s Creed Origins, Tomb Raider (2013
), Star Trek, Star Wars (Force Awakens specifically).
Phil’s Five Down
As always, in descending order
5. Arrested Development
This show has been rebooted twice and has had trouble both times. The fourth season wasn’t funny. Even if you ignore the experimental structure, the fact that it didn’t illicit laughs was its downfall. That failure has made me hesitant to get the newest season a go.
4. Superman Returns
This came out a year after Batman Begins. If it had gone right, maybe the DC Cinematic Universe wouldn’t be in the mess it is now. Unfortunately, this was a superhero movie devoid of much fun or action. This part was pretty cool though.
3. The Star Wars Prequels
Other than giving us Mace Windu, Qui-Gon Jinn and some hilarious memes, this series was not the new Star Wars I was looking for.
2. The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Day Phil Fell Asleep at a Movie Theater.
Fortunately I did not see, nor did I want to see, one second of this. They rebooted a show that starred a racist, needlessly divisive, wildly untrue conspiracy theory aficionado who hasn’t been relevant in more than a decade and the original show wasn’t even funny in the first place. Shame on ABC.
Disagree with us? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter or via a FanPost. Also, if you want us to rank something specific next week, let us know.