Weekend Roundtable: Franchises in Need of Reboots

Batman did it. James Bond did it. The ‘Star Trek’ crew did it. Even Spider-Man is in the process of doing it right now, and his last movie just came out a few years ago. Hollywood loves reboots. When a franchise gets old or stale, hit the reset switch and start over fresh. In this week’s Roundtable, we’d like to offer up some suggestions for movie series that are ready, perhaps even desperate, to be rebooted.

Josh Zyber

Even though this summer’s new entry, ‘Dark of the Moon’, hasn’t even hit theaters yet at the time of this writing, it’s absolutely not too soon to reboot the ‘Transformers‘ franchise. Honestly, this series needed a reboot before the opening credits of the first movie had even finished rolling. I’m not going to be one of those annoying fanboys who dogmatically insists that the movie version of a 1980s toy line must be scene-for-scene faithful to the goofy after-school cartoon from 25 years ago (love it though I may), but wouldn’t it be nice if the movies bore even some vague resemblance to the original characters? Instead, Michael Bay insists on giving us a bunch of indistinguishable hunks of metal smashing into one another in a string of incoherent action scenes.

For that matter, wouldn’t you expect a movie called ‘Transformers’ to actually be about… you know, Transformers, rather than the moronic antics of dopey humans who only occasionally come in contact with robots? Bay has relegated the title characters to supporting roles in their own movies.

Plenty has been written (including by me) about how stupid and racist Bay’s ‘Transformers’ movies are, and I doubt the one opening in a few weeks will be any different. Bay has promised that he’s done with the series after completing his “trilogy.” Let’s take this opportunity to scrap everything he’s done and start over from scratch. For the amount of money expended on this franchise, there’s enough potential in the basic concept to make a decent movie. We just need to find someone who’ll actually try.

Aaron Peck

I think we need a brand new ‘Spawn‘ movie. The original ‘Spawn’ was made way too early when it was filmed in 1997. It came across as a glorified B-movie with borderline atrocious performances from everyone involved – Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, and Martin Sheen. The dark material from the ‘Spawn’ universe definitely deserves a true-to-the-source R-rated adaption, none of this phony PG-13 fantasy violence. The problem with the ‘Spawn’ franchise is that it’s so easy to venture into silly territory like the ‘Punisher’ movies. I have a dream that a new ‘Spawn’ movie directed by Guillermo Del Toro could have a ‘Sin City’-like feel to it. Now that would be a movie I’d be excited to see get remade.

Mike Attebery

As a kid, I was a huge fan of Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt adventure novels. Over the last fifteen years, the quality of the series has nose-dived (so much so that I’ve been afraid to go back and re-read my childhood favorites), and Cussler seems to have jumped onto the same blatant ghostwriter/co-author bandwagon as Tom Clancy and James Patterson. But I swear, his books used to be great. What’s more, they practically begged to be turned into movies.

Though I had never seen 1980’s much-reviled ‘Raise The Titanic’, with their combination of a dashing leading man, exotic locales, lithe women, fast cars, plenty of explosions, and a healthy dose of gratuitous sex, Dirk Pitt’s adventures just seemed made for the big screen. MacGyver meets James Bond! We’re talking a seemingly idiot-proof formula for a kick-ass franchise. Then the producers tested that theory by hiring an idiot to play Dirk Pitt, handing the directing duties over to the idiot son of an idiot, casting another idiot as Dirk’s rough and tumble sidekick, and letting a bunch of idiots hammer out an absolutely pathetic script. The result was ‘Sahara‘, a movie that is anything but a Dirk Pitt adventure. If ever there was a reason to start over and try again, this movie is it! Of course, after the legal tussles that resulted from this film, I doubt that will ever again be a possibility.

Junie Ray

My vote goes to ‘Oh, God!‘. Granted, it’s been about 20 years since I last saw one of the movies in this series, so I may have on the rose-colored glasses, but I do have a soft spot for John Denver and George Burns. Clearly, we need some replacements for those two. Perhaps Bill Cosby, Robert De Niro, or Bill Murray for George Burns? I think the John Denver role is tougher to cast. I can come up with a few potential auditioners (Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Seth Rogen), but I’m not really sold on any of them. Suggestions are welcome. For the director, we could keep it in the family with Rob Reiner.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

I’m probably not giving away any closely guarded secrets when I reveal that I’m a lifelong comic book nerd. The comic that made me fall in love with comics was ‘Fantastic Four‘. The movies, though…? Bordering on “yikes”. On the one hand, I kind of appreciate what Tim Story was aiming for… more of a breezy sitcom feel in contrast to the glut of dark, dour superhero movies bobbing around out there. It’s just not a particularly good sitcom, dragged down by stilted acting, cringingly bad dialogue, a sense of humor drenched in gallons of flopsweat, wildly uneven pacing, anticlimactic slugfests, paper-thin characterization, and almost aggressively bland direction.

I’m not so attached to comic book continuity for the heavily revised movies to grate on me, but there’s never any tension or urgency to anything that’s going on, even when Galactus has strapped on his interstellar bib to chow down on the entire planet. You can sum up pretty much every character in a couple of words… not even that many if you try to describe their personalities without touching on their powers. Belching jokes, Mr. Fantastic writhing around in a club to some faceless hip-hop number, concentrating on the bickering that’s been a mainstay in the FF comics but losing out on a convincing family dynamic… blah. It’s featherweight, harmless entertainment, and there’s something to be said for that, I guess, but the Fantastic Four deserve a wide-eyed adventure. It should be awe-inspiring. It should be… well, fantastic. Hopefully, that’s what we’ll get next time.

Luke Hickman

It’s been rumored for several years that ‘Fletch‘ was going to receive a reboot or prequel. When the rumors circled that Zach Braff was going to play a young Fletch, I could not have been more excited. His character J.D. from ‘Scrubs’ perfectly shows how well he could have tackled comedy of the ‘Fletch’ vein. My dream writer/director for this project would be Wes Anderson. Combining a great comedic actor that perfectly fits the ‘Fletch’ mold with one of the best comedic writer/directors, my dream version of ‘Fletch’ would be awesome!

Dick Ward

The book versions of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia‘ always felt like a second fiddle to ‘The Lord of the Rings’. The movies fail to compare favorably, and they’re struggling against ‘Harry Potter’ as well. This leaves them feeling like a mish-mash of two successful titles. I thought ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe‘ was a decent start, but things went way downhill from there. It might be a touch too early for a reboot on this one, but in a few years I would absolutely love to see a director with a different approach take a crack at the series, and do something unexpected and risky. New actors would be essential, of course, though I feel like Liam Neeson would still have to be included in some way. Because he’s Liam Neeson, that’s why.

Which movie franchises do you want to see get the reboot treatment?


  1. I actually really enjoyed Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, but the way they condensed the first three books into one film was a bit disappointing, especially since we never got ANY of the other 10 books (they get much better later on.) This series would make a wonderful franchise ala Harry Potter if done in a timely enough fashion.

    • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is a thoroughly underrated movie. Cast, music, sets, cinematography (etc) are all excellent. Emily Browning still looks 14, so they should bring her back. And Jim Carrey is just awesome as Count Olaf!

  2. since josh hit on transformers i’ll go with G.I. joe. when i saw the previews for joe , and a wayans brother was in it. a bad wayans brother , i thought oh boy, then i saw the movie and turned it off in 5 minutes. make a g.i. joe movie. a fun g i joe movie not an adam sandlers g i joe. i know sandler did not make g.i. joe ,steven sommers did. theres a good weekend roundtable discousion. who is the worst director michael bay or steven sommers.

    • CK

      That would be a tough choice, but I’d have to go with Bay as the worse director. G.I. Joe would have been the more difficult to pull off, what with human character interaction in basically a military movie; which isn’t really an untouched genre. Transformers just needed cars turning into big robots and fighting each other. How could anyone mess that up? Instead we get what looks like two piles of scrap-metal and a camera being thrown around in a hurricane.

  3. Jane Morgan

    There are three ‘Wizard Of Oz’ reboots in development. One might work.

    ‘Aliens: Colonial Marines,’ as a video game sequel to the best movie in the series, feels like a reboot. Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ sounds sexy too.

    It feels like Hollywood is already rebooting everything.

    ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ is the one I’m most looking forward too.

    And I would bet money we see a ‘Star Wars’ reboot within ten years.

    • A Wizard of Oz reboot would be awesome! We have already kinda modernized it with Tin Man, and had a kinda reboot with Return to Oz, so maybe going back and trying something closer to the books may be good. Problem is, any reboot of something that classic is going to be met with a lot of resistance.

  4. My first thought was Transformers as well. Wow!

    I think I am going to broaden the scope a bit. Right now, something that is popular is rebooting – or rebuilding – popular Animes. Full Metal Alchamist, DragonballZ and Neon Genesis Evangelion all got this treatment, and the results are amazing (especially in HD). I would like to see some additonal animes get this treatment: Tenchi, Sailor Moon, Oh My Goddess, Pokemon, and Card Capture Sakura are all shows that could use a rebuild / reboot (and some decent dubbing – for Pete’s sake, PLEASE replace the Sailor Moon voice actors!)

    As for movie francises, Indiana Jones would make a great reboot (please don’t let Lucas touch it).

    I can’t really think of any others off the top of my head. Every time I think of a francise, like Back To The Future or Bill and Ted, my fanboyism seeps in and says “We can’t touch that!”

    • Thankfully, we will never, ever see a Back To The Future reboot, as Bob Gale (and Bob Zemeckis) would have to give permission to do so, and he’s firmly said there will be no more BTTF movies.

  5. I believe the second half of the Romero Of the Dead series needs a complete overhaul. Leave the originals alone, Night Dawn and Day are great.

    erase Diary, Land, and Survival from the records. bring in a horror director who understands pace, and tension, rather than gimmicks. find someone who can throw in humor and not have it be so blatant and in your face, darker, more cruel, even. leave the smart zombie-ing to Bub, get rid of Big Daddy. focus a film on the Dead, in their entirety. they work as a menace or as the focus, NOT as supporting characters like they were in Land. craft a modern day survival story, or keep it in the 80’s. have one focus on a government agency assigned to protect humanity crumbling due to the selfish needs of those involved, rather than the idea of community. don’t let john leguizamo within 30 feet of the film at any time. don’t even let him hold a boom mic. keep the awkward transitions, bizarre offputting music selections, and unlikeable characters we remember and….love, really.

    Romero has done so much harm to his franchise this last decade, it’s unreal. REMOVE THE HEAD or destroy the brain, remember? none of this fucking neck tendon zombie shit or moving heads on pikes groaning. REMOVE THE HEAD. makes ’em dead…er. keep them afraid of fire. keep them dumb, slow, mobs, not fast, intelligent, or singular. a single zombie has no tension, save for a creeping scene. they’re best in hordes, throngs.

    • EM

      It’s been a while since I’ve seen Day of the Dead, but I could have sworn it had a scene in which a zombie decapitated above the neck, with brain still intact, continued to show signs of undeath.

  6. Barroom Bob

    I would like to see Mission Impossible done right. Yes, that means without Tom Cruise. It, not supposed to cool guy, James Bond Jr. It was about a very talented team, cleverly working together to basically “short con” the bad guy into hanging himself either physically.or criminally. It was very entertaining and gave each character a chance to be featured each week. Not a one man show.

    • Luke Hickman

      You just might get it with ‘Ghost Protocol’ in December. Cruise is out after this one, passing the torch to Jeremy Renner.

  7. Brian H

    There is a new Apes movie that already looks like a failed reboot. (They should have made it a Gorilla Grodd movie instead)
    The recent Nightmare on Elmstreet movie was complete fail. I’ve already harped on the Will Smith I am Legend failboat so…

    How about a zombie film in the vein of Zombi, aka Zombi 2 by Lucio Fulci?

    We’ve had a Dawn of the Dead remake, plus several progressively worse, Romero helmed movies. Its been years since 28 Months Later was released, and who knows if the War World Z movie will any good if/when released. Let’s have have a movie like Zombi- the plot of Zombi is “Zombi’s can’t drown.” Then you have an hour and a half of cool scenes, escalating action and tension and some islands.

  8. MultiWizard

    You’re not going to see this anytime soon, but the Star Wars PREQUELS need to be rebooted. It won’t happen until Lucas dies and probably not even then, but those prequels had so much potential to be great and were a major disappointment for most. I would love to see someone bigger and more formidable playing Anakin. The character needs to mentally unravel over the 3 films so by the time he succumbs to the Dark Side and the Emperor, he’s nearly insane and therefore the switch makes sense.

    • Alex

      I’ll settle for a “Knights of the Old Republic” TV series. On FX with a decent budget. I’m thinking Mark Strong as Darth Malak and Kate Beckinsale as Bastilla. Oh yeah, I’d tune in for that.

      In a way, by giving it a completely different historical context and a stylistic makeover, it would practically be a reboot of the entire series.

      • EM

        For some reason, every time I encounter the phrase “Knights of the Old Republic”, I try to set it to the tune of “Knights of the Round Table” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sadly, the rhymes come out even worse than the original song’s.

          • EM

            Not much, hence the lousy rhymes. Tub lick and stubble ick come to mind. Remember that the original song rhymed table with words like unsingable. Fortunately I never get very far with my off-the-cuff parody.

          • “Princess Leia is a chick”
            “This won’t be a good flick”,
            “Let’s attend an open mic”
            “This cameo’s by Nolte, Nick”,
            “You’ve been rolled by Rick”
            “I’m tired of that comedian’s shtick”
            “I can hear Adam Sandler’s Click”
            “That’s a nice magic trick”

          • Junie Ray

            Rolled by the Rick – Good show Julian.

            The rhymes with Republic are easier if you chose an imperfect rhyme such as:

            We’re knights of the Old Republic
            If you don’t like us suck it
            We know an old man from Nantucket

      • Definate for Knights of the Old Republic. Something that takes place a thousand years or so before the Star Wars movies, that way there is no comparrison. As long as not every last thing is CG, this should be good

  9. I’m going to disagree with Josh about Transformers. Not that I’m a big fan of them or anything, they’re mindless fun, but at the end of the day, they’re movies about giant talking robots that turn into everyday objects, based on a cartoon series that was created to sell toys!

    The films might not be brilliant, but I don’t think anybody wants to watch two hours of robot cars talking to each other with humans as secondary characters. So do they need a reboot? No, they’ve served their purpose, now leave ’em for another ten years, then do the inevitable reboot. It’s not needed yet.

    As for the Narnia films, I agree they need a reboot. They’ve improved to the point that Dawntreader was an excellent film, but Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was a pretty poor effort overall, and Caspian was just okay.

    • Yeah I enjoyed each Narnia film more as they went along, really liked Dawntreader the best, had the most fantasy/adventure feel over the rest, I wasnt a big fan of Lion, Witch except for the FX and battle scene, it was a really bland movie and unfortunately, having come out after the infinitely superior LOTR, a kind of sucky attempt at a new fantasy movie

      Either way I dont think Narnia would turn out that great no matter what, the material is just too kid friendly for the type of movie it is and of course the in your face religious stuff turns a lot of people off, I for one hated Aslan in Dawntreader coming right out and saying “look for me in another form in your world”, not to mention all the “trials” they had to overcome being directly related to the bible, I know Lewis did this on purpose but I dont think it translates well for a lot of people

      Spawn is being rebooted, not sure where it stands as of right now but they were working on a new Darker R rated film

      Personally I dont want anything rebooted, we get enough reboots and half the time they arent that great, the ONLY thing I can really agree with is Star Wars needing something completely different, but with Lucas still running the show, all we are going to get is all of these movies released over and over again in different ways (3D starts next year yay!), I would love a whole new story told in the same universe, like Knights of the Old Republic

  10. Pedram

    The Mortal Kombat series needs a good reboot after that awful Annihilation (the Legacy series doesn’t seem like it would translate into a good movie, but I guess we’ll see). While we’re at it, maybe a good live action Street Fighter movie, but that’s probably hoping for too much.

    • nagara

      I would like to see the old Bruce Lee movies redone. Donnie Yen would be perfect for those.
      Pretty much any movie would be better with 90% more Yen.

  11. If it fell into the right hands (say, JJ Abrams), I’d love to see a JAWS reboot. Heck, it could just be a continuation (ignore Part 3 and “The Revenge”)…Brody’s youngest son should be about the same age Brody was in the original by now…maybe he’s now the police chief. It would be a great idea for the 40th anniversary in 2015.

    • Tell me someone just didnt recommend a Jaws reboot? I dont care WHO would get to make this, it shouldnt be done, I’m actually stunned someone suggested this, for shame!