Gritty reboots sure are awesome, aren’t they? It’s incredible how a stale character, bloated and exhausted after years of increasingly clownish behavior, can become cool again, simply by re-telling their story in a darker and more realistic light. The list of successes is endless; Batman, James Bond … erm … anyone else? No? Crud; so much for that theory. Yes, for all its hype, the act of making a normally colorful and cheesy franchise serious and brooding has not been particularly successful; there are way more crappy gritty reboots than good ones.
Currently Man of Steel is the latest film to catch flak for its grim, brooding nature, and “disaster porn” fight scenes, in which the Man of Steel doesn’t even half-try to take the fight away from populated areas. He even managed to destroy half a town surrounded by 200 miles of empty fields. And this is Superman — a guy who can fly. What does he have to be grim about?
So maybe we should get silly instead. Let’s goof up some very dark and serious franchises that, quite frankly, have lost their way. Couldn’t be any worse than what they’re actually now.
The Bourne Identity
The first Bourne was awesome; gritty and realistic, yet plausible and a lot of fun. Bourne’s sequels, however, upped the BS factor to 11, mutating Bourne into a superhero who never gets hurt, and who can somehow escape all situations, and be in all places at all times.
Then we got plot twist after plot twist, double agents becoming triple agents, every bad guy having a secret boss who was actually higher up than they were, and it got to the point where the viewer’s memory was even worse than Bourne’s! Eventually the plot became “Something, something, extra chromosome.” By the time the fourth film came about, even Matt Damon had tapped out, believing We Bought A Zoo to be more worth his time. And he was right.
Simply put, all the fun of the original has been sucked out, and there’s no going back. So don’t bother; the next Bourne movie should retell his quest to learn his true identity, only in the silliest manner imaginable. Bourne is discovered in a body of water, and doesn’t know who he is, just like the first film. The rest of the movie should involve him trying out a series of increasingly goofy identities, in order to see if any of them fit him.
One scene, he’s be a spy, but it turns out he’s not very good at that (which would explain the whole shot-and-left-for-dead-in-the-water deal.) Then, he’s a chef, at least until he burns down the kitchen after misunderstanding what flambé means. After that, he becomes a magician for children’s parties, which fails once he realizes, all too late, that the magical hat rabbit should’ve had some breathing holes poked into his travel case.
Also, whenever the camera jerks and shakes uncontrollably, like in any legit Bourne movie, Bourne should stop whatever he’s doing, and yell at the cameraman to cut down on the caffeine and take a damn Diazepan. At the end of the movie, he can finally lose his patience and just punch the moron’s lights out. Admittedly, fourth wall jokes are almost as overdone as gritty reboots but since anyone who’s seen a Bourne movie has wanted to do this at least a thousand times over, we should be safe with this one exception.
If you’re not a fan of the first two Terminators, you’re not normal. If you’re a fan of anything after the first two, you’re even less normal. T2 ended with Robo-Arnold melting himself in a vat of molten steel, in an attempt to end the war between robots and humans before it even starts. However, no war = no money, so Arnold’s sacrifice ended up being in vain; several atrocious sequels and a pointless TV series kept the party going, long after everybody had either gone home, blacked out, or been arrested.
Thanks entirely to the first two films, the franchise is too awesome to fade away so sadly. But clearly, going the serious route is not working. So, let’s not even bother. The next Terminator should be a raucous farce, with Arnold’s character traveling through time to hunt down Sarah Conner, just as before. However, this time, he becomes a confused, pandering tourist, who absorbs the worst of whatever culture he’s taught about.
Instead of his knowledge of Spanish being limited to John Conner teaching him “Hasta la Vista, baby,” have him purchase a sombrero, learn to hat dance, go into a Taco Bell and ask the cashier if they also serve burritos, and generally just make him an ugly Robo-American. Who can bend steel.
Also, Chyna, the wrestler-turned-uber-sad-sack, was rumored to play a female Terminator in the third film. That didn’t happen, but now that we’re abandoning all serious facades, go ahead and hire her. She could initially infuriate Arnold by bench-pressing more than he can, but slowly her feminine charms would melt his cold robotic heart, and he would abandon his plans to kill the mother of the future leader of the Human Resistance.
In short, take the plot of T1, the culture clash of T2, the romantic pointlessness of pretty much anything Renee Zellweger’s ever done, add a ton of wacky casual racism, and you’ll have yourself a golden reboot. Just keep Chyna away from the steroids and drugs. It’s tough for her to be charmingly feminine when those things are at arm’s reach.
Yes, the cannibal. Look, if Cesar Romero can make a murderous psychopath like the Joker silly, there’s no reason why somebody can’t do the same for Hannibal Lecter.
Like with Terminator, the first couple Hannibal movies were awesome and iconic, with a dash of disgusting thrown in for flavor. But then, we got Hannibal Rising. This 2007 exercise in poking the angry bear with a stick one too many times barely made more than its budget, and there have been no sequels since.
NBC has a reboot, but it’s neither gritty nor goofy. Nope, it’s a pretty reboot. All the cannibalistic action you’ve come to know and love, with a much better-looking maneater than that ogre Anthony Hopkins ever pulled off. If it makes it to a second season, we’ll eat our own liver.
How to make such a character screwball? Well, instead of Hannibal being a creepy psychologist-turned-cannibal, make him a happy-go-lucky TV chef, rumored to use human body parts as ingredients in his award-winning recipes. His reputation would be of a guy who read “Jack And The Beanstalk,” got to the part about grinding bones to make bread, and got inspired.
And it would be true! Kind of. The goofy Lecter, instead of eating livers and brains and such, would pepper his dishes with far more useless body parts. Dead skin flakes, fingernails, the appendix: all blended together into a delicious rub that could enhance the flavor any dish.
Each episode would focus on Hannibal’s many wacky attempts to obtain the ingredients he needs for his delectable dinners. In one episode, he could stalk a bunch of people with bad nail-biting habits, simply to gather any nail remnants that they chew off and chuck on the ground. And later, perhaps for the season finale, he could break into a hospital and attempt to steal all the appendixes that were removed that week. The guards would try to stop him, but would naturally be inept fools who can’t chase after a freakin’ cook without slipping on their asses over and over again, and Lecter escapes with bags full of goodies.
Naturally, each episode would end with a segment explaining how to make that week’s recipe, complete with acceptable substitutions you can use if you’re fresh of appendixes that day.
For the record, we’re not talking about the games here; just the movies, which desperately need a shot in the arm that they aren’t getting. The first one was decent enough for what it was, and then it just took a gigantic nose-dive into Failure Land. Their insistence on being dead-serious, when so much camp and cheese was happening around them, got old real fast, especially since we were supposed to take the cheese seriously as well.
And now they want to reboot the franchise and make it MORE dark and gritty? How? Is Sub-Zero going to use somebody’s skull and spine as a sex toy after ripping it off of their torso? Just because the video games got darker and succeeded, doesn’t mean a movie will. Sadly, Mortal Kombat films have a reputation, and it will haunt anything new they want to try.
So why not just run with it? If people expect Mortal Kombat movies to be cheesy, then make the next one so cheesy, that each movie ticket ought to come with a free pizza. A bunch of martial artists and ninjas gather for a mysterious fighting tournament, but it would more resemble a slapfight than anything else. There would be no fatalities or brutalities this time around, and Nintendo’s early practice of swapping out blood for sweat would finally be revisited. Also, only the choicest goofy bits from the games would make the cut. Hope you enjoy tons of Friendships! Or, if the writers are feeling particularly jaunty, a Babality.
As far as Shang Tsung goes: forget him being an evil shape-shifting sorcerer. He probably wouldn’t fight much at all actually, preferring to hang around in the back and bark orders, like Rita Repulsa or an assistant manager at 7-11. Any time he’s forced to battle though, we figure it’d would be over in a heartbeat, because wheezy old men are hilarious when they try to fight.
But this show would not just be a composite sketch of the games’ stupidest moments; it’d invent its own ones too! We suggest the introduction of the Danceality. No way Liu Kang and Goro finishing off an epic battle with a sensuous tango gets anything less than a 93.4 in the ratings.