Reboots, remakes, and otherwise mining the properties of yore. I’m not going to rant about how perhaps there’s too many, and not enough original work . . . even though the butchering hack job it appears they’ve done on Point Break has me more than dismayed. The ‘new’ Point Break isn’t out yet, but the trailer makes it abundantly clear they’ve missed the point of Bhodi from the original. He was a surfer free spirit with just a bit of fuck-it core, and now he’s apparently an international terrorist. But whatever.
What I am going to bitch about is the incessant need of the next wave of people who step in to work on the next wave to constantly fiddle and change. Sometimes you hear the term “putting our stamp on it.” Sometimes they say things like “tweak to be a little better.” Or even “make it ours.” I’ve got a better description; want to shoehorn themselves into the litany of creation for that particular property. Or, even blunter, ruining it.
The Transporter effects for Star Trek are an excellent example. Yes, it’s a small part of the sprawling franchise Star Trek has become over the years. But as each incarnation showed up, each team behind it just couldn’t help themselves from having to change the effect that accompanied the beaming. Why not just leave it alone? Why not give fans that little piece of continuity? No, apparently “making our mark” was more important for the team than being faithful.
Ghostbusters is being rebooted or remade or whatever they’re calling it. The uniform the originals wore couldn’t have been simpler; a greyish brown jumpsuit with the Ghostbusters logo on the arm, and the name on the left breast. Plus, of course, a bunch of gear hanging off it that they use to, you know, bust ghosts. Yet the remake has seen the need to change even that; now it’s got these orange/red stripes across the upper half, and the logo seems to be gone entirely. All because the director, or costume designer, or whoever the hell made the decision, just had to change it and “make it theirs.”
Some things should be left alone. I’m not going to say no property – be it movie or book or show or whatever – should never be revisited. That’s fine. Sometimes it’s nice to see a great story updated with modern technology. Lightsabers are a good example of this. The prequel trilogy has a lot of problems and is inferior to the original; but the lightsaber sequences look infinitely better CG versus the physical props they managed to rig up back in ’77. But you’ll notice the lightsabers STILL look like lightsabers. At least as far as the blades are concerned. The lightsaber problem we currently have is, apparently, even lightsabers aren’t cool enough just as they are. Now we have to keep reinventing those as well. Darth Maul uses a lightstaff; okay, fine I guess. Then there’s Jedi and Sith using two blades; okay, still fine I guess. But now The Force Awakens has seen the need to make a sort of light-broadsword; with little pommel guard saber beams. Why? Because some designer or artist or whoever just HAD to make sure his/her name went down in the Star Wars lexicon as having introduced that weapon.
Where does it stop? Better, why revisit an existing property if you’re going to change the hell out of it?
I know, I know, people fear change. I’ve said it, I’ll say it again; it’s true. Even me. But there’s all kinds of change. It’s one thing to stand on the tracks of progress and yell at the technology train coming at you, demanding it stop or else. And then there’s pointing at stupid changes like these.
I mean, seriously, we really need the Ghostbusters uniform changed? The lightsaber really needs a light-guard? What do we do next, since there are two more Star Wars movies on the way. The novels have already invented light-whips (they’re exactly what they sound like), and an ‘adjustable’ lightsaber that doubles in length. Does the next director insert a ninja-Sith who throws lightsaber-stars? Do we get a light-shield to go with the light-broadsword? A light-epee that’s flexible? Freddie Kruger light-claws?
Maybe lightsabers are cool enough all on their own. Can we just agree on that? Is it so much to ask? Must we do . . . more . . . to them? The samurai, the inspiration for Jedi and Sith, squared off with katana and left it at that. One blade each was enough . . . it created iconic scenes. When Luke and Vader face each other in Return of the Jedi, that same level of iconic awe was created. If the remakers keep changing the blades, it makes it harder to get lost in the story and not the differences.
Some things are fine just the way they are. There, I said it.