Tag Archives: batman begins

Bourne Again?

At the UK premiere of Invictus, Matt Damon has said that the next Bourne film is likely to be a prequel or a reboot (shudder!!). Add to that the reboot of Spiderman which is on the way and the only comment I can make is “What the heck are movie companies thinking of?”

First off, spend five minutes with me and you will realise I am not a big fan of reboots. The only film that was rebooted recently and was likeable (Batman Begins aside) was in my opinion Star Trek, which I thought was very good, but I have seen it three times now and each time I like it less, so this is subject to change. My main problem with reboots of recent years is that they seem to miss the point. The first that springs to mind is the upcoming remake/reboot of Lake Mungo, a flawed but very good Australian horror/thriller. This film was made on a shoestring budget and is shot like a documentary (the film has a very Discovery Channel feel to it), and the shocks mainly come from this premise – clips are re-shown and zoomed in to reveal that a parent’s dead daughter is in the frame. Now I speak the honest truth here when I say the reboot is about to be made without ANY documentary style footage. My first reaction to this would be “then it’s not a reboot, it’s a different film”!

That is like making The Red Shoes without any dancing, Jurassic Park without dinosaurs, rebooting Clerks with a $300m budget.

My second problem with this news is that the Bourne Supremacy got its ITV premiere in 2009, that is, less than a year ago this film was seen for the first time on terrestrial TV; the trilogy was released on Blu-ray in June 2009. Now to me, this is probably at least 10-15 years too early for a re-imagining of a show, I mean, to be honest the final film in Paul Greengrass’ trilogy is still quite fresh in my mind, the DVD hasn’t even got a scratch on it yet for god’s sake and I double up DVDs as beer mats!

Thirdly (and finally you will be pleased to know), what are they trying to achieve? The three films gained critical acclaim and as previously stated in my top films of the decade, forced Bond to reinvent itself. They also grossed $945 million worldwide, so in what way can they improve with a reboot? With Spiderman, while it didn’t receive critical acclaim, the 3 films manage to acquire a large amount of moolah for all parties involved.

Now, I am by no means an oracle – these films could surprise me and be great and make me say that the originals were trash. My opinions of reboots could change if a few came along where the director has obviously made a conscious effort to keep the spirit of the movie, if they started rebooted bad adaptations (Silent Hill for one), but when you start messing with classic films like Predator, Halloween and Robocop they are fighting a losing battle.

Chris

Is Watchmen a Failure?

watchmen-minutemen

Elizabeth Rappe wrote a nice piece for Cinematical today in which she questioned whether Watchmen, on the back of its 67 per cent second-week drop-off and trouncing by Race to Witch Mountain, itself admittedly exceeding expectations.

The film has garnered mixed reviews so its critical success is maybe debatable, but the achievement, be it artistic or purely admirable, is there for all to see. It may be far from perfect, but Watchmen is undoubtedly an incredible piece of comic book movie making, more uncompromising in its vision than anything to have come before.

Business-wise, it should never have been expected to make Dark Knight-like money, or even 300 money. 300 may not have had a built in audience, but it was easy to watch, entirely comprehendible and only 90 minutes long. By contrast, Watchmen is a 2-and-a-half hour plus marathon of hero deconstruction, paranoia and psychological exploration, even if not all of those things fully interested the action-minded Zack Snyder. Rappe points to an article by CHUD’s Devin Faraci on which he notes the film had a bigger opening that both Batman Begins and Superman Returns, both slower and less conventional comic book franchise movies for sure but coming with existing audiences and nostalgic appeal.

Maybe it won’t be a supersize hit, but take into account the mitigating factors surrounding it. 1) It is not part of any franchise. 2) The book on which it is based is canonised to an extreme which few books, let alone comics, are ever exalted to and is view with trepidation by large swathes of the marketplace for being a geek bible, itself a turn-off for so many unable to believe that comics can be a serious business. 3) The film is extremely violent and gained a US ‘R’ and an 18 certificate in the UK. This significantly drops the chances of continued business as those over the age of eighteen tend to work/have social lives/have children or families/have online role-playing games to get on with and therefore are not great repeat viewers.

I don’t know if failure really the right word. The box-office will be considered disappointing given the budget and the blanket promotional activity, but it pleased the fans and gained extra respect for Warner Bros for putting it out. The studio is now leading the pack in attracting filmmakers who are concerned about having to play the game and could become a home to a new, post-recession vein of filmmaking talent driving through. Watchmen may not be a world-beater, but I’m pretty certain it’s not a failure either.