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Celluloid Reboots

Last night I was watching The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) except, to my eyes, it was just the Not as Good as the Other Movie Spiderman. It got me pondering about the subject of film reboots, especially short term ones. I can certainly see why Spiderman (2002) was made. Compared to earlier “live action” versions, it was able to take advantage of advances in computer graphics to bridge the gap between what can be imagined and what can be filmed. I remember it being well-paced as it followed the dorky nerd becoming a seasoned superhero. I regard it as a good example of putting comic book heroes on the big screen.

In contrast, I was underwhelmed with the ‘Amazing’ version. I must admit that I haven’t finished the film yet but I’m not sure what it has to offer. Eye-popping special effects are, metaphorically, ten a penny nowadays. I’ve already seen a guy spinning webs and swinging from building to building so what else does this have to offer? The teenage Peter Parker seems to be inexplicably brilliant as a scientist but also significantly more callous and self-centred than the person portrayed by Tobey Maguire.

I can see the value of a reboot film when the original was awful and also when new technology gives the opportunity for significant advances in telling the story. I also appreciate that actors age faster than stories so, in the superhero genre, I could accept the need for a short reworking of an origin story with a new cast before launching into a fresh adventure. Just making the film again, especially when it comes out worse, seems to be a retrograde step though.

I admit to some doubts about the need for Ghostbusters (2016), another reboot. At least this one has some time between itself and the original (Ghostbusters, 1984) and I don’t object per se to the switch to a female team. However, the trailer I saw just looked like a fancy dress version of the orginal, lamely attempting a scene by scene remake. Perhaps that is just the trailer but, again, I think it would be much better spending most of its time treading fresh ground. Oh, and apparently there is another Spiderman reboot in the works, directed by Jon Watts and due for release in summer 2017. I, for one, won’t be waiting with bated breath.

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