Tag Archives: films

Rebooting ghosts, werewolves, vampires and gladiators

The concept of the film or TV reboot is now well accepted. In the next few months cinema goers will be treated to reboots of the Spiderman and Batman (Dark Knight) franchises. This year already TV fantasy fans have enjoyed a reboot of BBC3’s Being Human and Spartacus.

Producers play the film and TV reboots card usually to extend the life of a successful franchise when its existing actors either become too old for their roles or express their desire to move on to avoid being typecast.

The earliest example of a TV reboot is probably Doctor Who. When original actor William Hartnell left, the producers came up with the idea of allowing the character to “regenerate” into a completely different body. It was still the same person, an eccentric time traveller fighting evil across the universe, but each regeneration brought a different personality and interpretation. In this instance the reboot became integral to the story. Eventually by 1989 even this innovative method of keeping the programme fresh couldn’t save a tired format from plummeting audiences. The series was then rested for 16 years before being fully reinvented, re-suited and rebooted for a whole new generation. Doctor Who is now one of the most successful TV shows in the world.

In cinemas James Bond has been similarly refreshed by replacing the lead actor. Despite a few hiccups this has kept the franchise alive and we are now approaching the 50th anniversary of the first film, Doctor No.

film and tv reboots

Being Human is one of my favourite black comedy dramas and one of BBC3’s best products. The idea of a ghost, vampire and werewolf living together as house mates makes for extremely funny situations, some deep heart searching drama, and of course some frightening darkness interspersed with quite violent scenes.

Faced with the departure of two of the main male leads, the producers could have rested the series. But instead, over the course of the six episodes of season 4 they reinvented the show until we were left with three completely different actors playing a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf (but not the same ones!). Was this successful? I certainly didn’t enjoy this series as much as the first three, but I would agree that the producers have “pulled it off”.

film and tv reboots

Spartacus, a blood soaked, almost soft porn laden Roman sandal opera had to be rebooted because sadly the lead actor died of cancer?  And the chief villain played by the wonderfully vile John Hannah was killed at the end of the first series. Again I’m not convinced that the new actor was anywhere near as good as Andy Whitfield but the supporting characters remained interesting enough to carry the show into ever bloodier battles, and examples of Roman sexual excesses.

As useful as the reboot is to the franchise producer I do wonder whether it stifles creativity and prevents new ideas from finding screen time. Would it be better to find completely new concepts and stories rather than continually reinvent the old ones?

Over to you: Do you agree with film and TV reboots or would you rather a film or TV franchise came to a natural end to be replaced with something completely new? Please post you thoughts in the comments box below.

The Adjustment Bureau – Film Review

Admittedly in action movies like The Bourne Identity he handles the physical requirements well and that franchise certainly made the pre-Daniel Craig Bond era look in need of the reboot that was to come with Casino Royale.

But on the whole there is a woodenness and lack of emotion that has made me avoid Damon vehicles. Which makes it all the more interesting that I think his personality and the electric spark between him and female lead, Emily Blunt, makes The Adjustment Bureau stand out as a strong relationship movie.

Damon plays David Norris, a candidate for the US senate. He is being stalked by a shadowy group of men wearing hats, who have the ability to step through any door, say one in Battery Park, and immediately emerge from a different door anywhere else in New York City. They are the people who keep our lives on track, or on “The Plan” as they put it.

One of them is supposed to stop Damon from meeting Blunt on a bus by making him spill his coffee – causing him to go and change his shirt rather than get on the bus. But the intervention fails, Damon meets Blunt and they start to fall in love.

The rest of the film is about the Adjustment Bureau trying to prevent them from being together. This scenario is played out on the streets, on the rooftops and in the underground bowels of the city of New York, and although this is not an action movie, there are some exciting, if not, nail-biting moments.

Sadly part of the narrative is clunky however. You have to ignore Terence Stamp’s ridiculous speech about the Dark Ages and the failings of human beings. The motivations of the “Men in Hats” is not explored deeply enough. And we never really know what the plan is all about and how things would be different if the two leads hadn’t met as was intended. The numerous references the “The Chairman” and the obvious religious connotations are too oblique. And why is man in hat, Harry (well played by Anthony MacKay), so keen to help Damon when the rest of his kind are obeying the orders of the Chairman?

But Emily Blunt’s character, Elsie Sellas, is so alive, attractive, sexy, likeable and vulnerable and the way she and Damon interact is flirtatious, tender, fun and loving that their relationship sweeps aside the inadequacies of the plot. They are so good that you just want them to be together and to overcome the hurdles set in front of them by the shadowy forces.

Right from the moment they first meet you want a happy ending and that makes it worth watching to find out whether your wish is part of “The Plan”.