Remakes & Reboots and Film Fatigue

Yesterday I stumbled upon the reality that the movie Overboard is being remade.  Now, I was never a huge fan of the film, it was okay and I’d watch it if it happened to be on.  I have friends who are much bigger fans.  But I always figured it was one of those movies that had been left alone.  Till Yesterday.

It made me wonder at what point does a movie get to ‘remakable’ status?  Is there a time limit?  A quality level?  Perhaps nothing at all (and I’m starting to think this is the reality.)

They made the first Spiderman movie with Toby McGuire in it in 2002.  Since then, they have made 2 sequels, rebooted it, made a sequel to that one and rebooted it again.  All in 16 years.  At least with the latest guy, its because the ownership changed hands therefore contracts were different.

But seriously.  16 years, 6 movies (8 if you include Captian America: Civil War and the upcoming Avengers movie), 3 actors.  That is roughly a new Spiderman movie every 2-3 years and only a few are actually connected to each other.  Toby McQuire came out with one in 2002. 2004, and 2007.  Andrew Garfield got 2012 and 2014.  Tom Holland got 2017 (with 2016 (CA:CW) and 2018 (Avengers: Infinty Wars) as honorable mentions).

Seems a lot.  (Although I wish Tom Holland luck with the role.  He seems like a sweetheart.)

It makes the Star Trek reboot look like they took way too long (almost 50 years).

Of course there is Star Wars, creatively sourced as a continuation rather than a reboot.  They are using the same basic plots so I find the last series to be generally less impressive than the other two (yes, I’m a freak who loves the Prequels.  Not as much as the original trilogy, but I do love them).  I don’t want to watch The Original Trilogy with Anakin 2.0

The Mummy was recently remade, though I did not see this version due to an aversion of all things Tom Cruise.  Plus the Brendan Fraser Trio was a big part of my middle school years.  I don’t want to ruin them with whatever this new one is.  Which doesn’t appear to be anything like the 1932 original, or the Fraser 1999 remake.  So I’m not sure if it’s so much a remake as its “Hey, we got the rights to this film franchise and a budget, want to film?” type deal.

There are times I adore remakes.  It just seems that recently the board has been pretty flooded with remakes and reboots and sequels. And some of them run pretty close together.  I can understand a remake/reboot if enough time as passed (King Kong, Godzilla and Star Trek for example).  Book adaptations happen all time (Look up the many many many versions of Pride and Prejudice.  I did once.  I think there were thirty some at the time).  I just don’t get why I’m getting remakes/reboots of films that have been released since I was in high school.  Sure, its been over a decade but barely and still within memory.

At the very least a decade should be the minimum amount of time unless the movie was awful (ex. The Incredible Hulk movies.  We don’t talk about the Incredible Hulk movies).

I remember reading somewhere that someone had boiled down the general narratives of the world to about 6 storylines.  And that everything basically followed one of them.  But there are a million ways to be creative with a prompt.  Just look at any writing group and ask them their responses to a prompt.  You are bound to get a bunch of variety even with the same building blocks.

So I don’t think its a hard task to find something out there that is creative, even if its something old.  At least something not made in the last decade.  At the rate we are going, The day I turn 40, Harry Potter will be releasing its remake of A Deathly Hallows.

That being said…I’m probably going to be watching the new Overboard.  If only because the fact they genderswapped it sounds intriguing.

I believe I wrote about this before, but it was just a recent rant in my mind that needed to come out.  What are your thoughts on the matter?

Movie Review: The Last Jedi

Note:  I haven’t written anything for a while due to being extremely busy with my day job, and various illnesses.  Starting next week I hope to get back on a regular schedule. Now to the post

Title: Star Wars:  Episode VIII The Last Jedi (Or as I call it, Empire Strikes Back Anakinized)
Released:  December 2017
Genre: Sci-fi & Fantasy
Grade:  C

I saw this several weeks ago, but held off reviewing it because I was a bit confused by my own reaction.  I loved the movie, yet at the same time was oddly disappointed.  It took me awhile to figure a few things out.

I love Star Wars.  I’ve enjoyed the films, and the books and eventually plan on watching the animated TV shows.  I’ve seen each one in theaters since Attack of the Clones came out.  So seeing this movie was important as a lifetime fan.

Yet, after the awesomeness that was Rogue One, this movie failed to really impress me.  While it wasn’t as direct in its channeling of Empire Strikes back as the Force Awakens was with A New Hope, you kind of could see it following the same basic plotline. Our heroes are separated, the Jedi apprentice seeks a mentor, while the rebel members of the trio deal with gamblers and the bad guys while trying to save the alliance.  The characters were rather flat, which surprised me.  Even Leia, who I expected more from, was a bit flat.  Snoke was a disappointment because for a villain he’s rather flat.  Palpatine had more character in his scenes in the original trilogy and he barely had any scenes.

Also, Luke for all intents seems out of character for the man we saw in the last trilogy.  The only characters with any real sort of development was Luke (meh quality) and Kylo Ren/Ben Solo.  And even then it seems rather a let down.

I feel like JJ Abrams & Company are trying to recreate the Original Trilogy, yet with some of the Prequel style effects and characterization.  Kylo/Ben comes off as whiny as Anakin does in the prequels.

I have a few more specific problems with it, but I’m trying to make this as spoiler free as possible.  So my thoughts basically are this:  Enjoy the movie, but don’t expect something amazing.

Bookit-Review: Vision of the Future

Title: Vision of the Future
Author: Timothy Zahn
Publication Date:  September 1, 1999  (Paperback) Book 2 of the Hand of Thrawn Duology
My Grade:  B

So this is the final book in the five Thrawn books made by Timothy Zahn.  The first three being his Thrawn Trilogy, and the second two being the Hand of Thrawn Duology which began with Specter of the Past.

Zahn is really good at building us a universe to play in.  It’s interesting to see in the Duology how his main characters have changed in the decade between then and now.  Mara has become more comfortable with herself, and with the idea of the Jedi.  Luke also has changed, become more mature and is in the process of evaluating how he uses the force in his day-to-day life.  Leia and Han just want a peaceful vacation with their three kids where no one tries to kidnap, kill or anything else to them.  However, when push comes to shove they are going to help out.

Han in this book is a little less the rascal we all love in the movies.  It is after all almost 20 years post the Battle of Yavin, so I suppose that all that time spent with the Rebellion, The New Republic and of course being a father to three Jedi children might chill you out a bit.  There is plenty of Lando as well, as he teams up with Han to find the Caamas Document.

Leia meanwhile is teaming up with various subcharacters in the political world trying to find peace for the New Republic, both internally and externally.

I think one of my favorite things is the delving into the background of Talon Karrde, as well as seeing what Pelleaon is up to now as the Supreme Commander of the Empire’s naval forces.  He’s trying to save the Empire but is not having an easy time of it because of the reappearance of “Thrawn.”

If you like books that deal with political intrigue, character backgrounds and action you will enjoy this book.  It has a good mix of the three.  It deals with the theme of how things can appear one way but turn out not to be that way at all, it depends on your point of view (as Obi-wan once told us) and who got to write the history down.

It also sets up the next stage of the Star Wars Legends books, which is interesting but I won’t be delving into myself.  At least not right now.

I really liked the fact that Luke and Mara had basically a road-trip like plot arc (well, it was more like a hike, but the same concept).  They ended up forced to face some issues between them that had developed over the last ten years, and eventually realise they love each other.  It’s a bit sappy in its almost instantious realization, and I feel it might have been better if he had started to develop them going down that road in the first book, but there is plenty going on that needed developed.

My only problem is wondering why after the kids are sent away to hang out with Chewie and his family, no one really mentions them.  That being said, it is a good book and I would definitely put it on my recommended books list.

I do however suggest, should you try this book out to start with the Thrawn Trilogy.  While it’s not completely necessary (as there is a ten-year gap with many events happening), it does give some background on the relationships between the main characters and an interesting place to compare how they have changed in 10 years.

Bookit Review: Specter of the Past

Title: Specter of the Past (Part 1 in a duology)  (Kindle version)

AUthor: Timothy Zahn

Published:  June 28th 2011

My Grade: B-

This duology is a sequel to the Thrawn trilogy, and takes place a decade later.  My favorites from the Thrawn series return, Palleaon is now a Admiral and head of the Imperial Navy.  He doesn’t see a happy ending for the Empire if they don’t make peace with the New Republic.  However not everyone agrees with him and he must search out some treachery on the side of the Empire.

On the New Republic side, Leia is dealing with mulitple issues as an old tragedy is brought forward when documents implicating the Bothans in the genocide of a species. Everyone ends up in the mix as tempers rise and accusations are thrown.  Han is implicated as shooting into a protest, Karrde is accused of being behind the reapperance of Thrawn, and Lando is accused of going along with it.

Meanwhile Luke is trying to figure out a few things, including his new equilibrium with the force and his connection to Mara Jade, whose investigating the Thrawn situation herself.

This book was good, but a bit of a disappointment as well.  It sets up the second book for the most part.  It is essieintally a 400 word lead-in.  It explains the political situation, updates us on the characters lives at the moment, and prepares us for whatever is going to happen in Vision of the Future which I”m currently reading right now.

It does reference things that have happened in books published between the trilogy and the duology.  Including Luke’s brush with being on the dark side. However I think, its brief enough that you can still read and enjoy without having read those books.

I bought this on Kindle, and that edition has a timeline of the Legends Universe.  My paperback copy of Visions of the Future that I bought many years ago but never fully read has a timeline too (although its called the expanded universe, because they hadn’t shifted the canon yet).

Bookit Review: The Last Command

Title: The Last Command (book 3 of 3 of the Thrawn Trilogy
Author: Timothy Zahn
Publication Date: May 1993 (Paperback edition)

My Grade:  A

I really enjoyed the third book in the trilogy, and the Trilogy in general.  It was interesting to read at this point due to the fact that this came out before the prequels and therefore has some Ret-conned elements.  However many of the things stand up even despite that.  In this book, Leia has her twins, which (as far as we know) doesn’t occur in movie cannon), but you could replace Jaina and Jacen relatively easily with Ben.  They talk about the Clone Wars, and it brings up some interesting ideas about the clone wars that makes me wonder how much this book influenced the animated series.  (Enough to make me think about watching it).

I have also grown to love some of the minor characters that I hope to catch often as I read more of the Expanded (now called Legends) universe.  Talon Karrde, General Bel Ibis, and Captain Pellaeon in particular.  Each of them seemed to be interesting characters with stories of their own to explore.  Mara Jade is still one of my favorite non-film canon characters and I hope they have some version of her in the film series.  I consider her one of the main characters of the EU.  To sum it up, this book as a variety of minor characters (and major ones) with good characterization.

It also has a good plot, tying together some of the various plot lines that have been going through the trilogy.  It also deals with Mara’s past, Leia’s use of the force, The Noghri’s situation, and gives alot of information about the Clone Wars that is vague enough that it actually might pass the flims/tv series canon.

I was actually expecting Luke and Mara to have a bigger force connection, because of the way things end up for them in other books, but instead I found the book deals alot with Mara and Leia’s connection.  And also the way Leia views the New Republic and Mara.  Honestly, this trilogy is a lot about Leia dealing with becoming a mother, being a Jedi, and dealing with being part of the New Republic.  She also deals with the legacy that is being Darth Vader’s daughter.

If you enjoy Star Wars, I definitely recommend this book, and the trilogy its a part of.  It brings back alot of the favorite minor characters from the films, and deepens the universe in which we get to play.  I’m actually moving to read the second Thrawn series (this one a duology) called Spectre of the Past  and Vision of the Future.   I actually own the second book, but never read the first one so I got lost on a few things.

(As of posting, I’ve actually read Spectre of the Past. It should be posted shortly)

Bookit Review: Heir to the Empire

Title:  Heir to the Empire  (Book 1 of the Thrawn Trilogy)
Author: Timothy Zahn
Publication Date:  June 1992  (Paperback edition.  Yep, went old school on this one)
Grade: B-

After watching Star Wars (all 8 movies) in late December and early January to celebrate Carrie Fisher, I decided that it was time to finally read that pile of Star Wars Novels that I had bought or have been given over the years but never got to.  This starts with one of the apparently fan favorites of the EU (now Legends) Star Wars universe.

Heir of the Empire is the first in a trilogy of books taking place about 5 or so years after Endor.  It starts with Leia and Luke having some emotional upheavals as Ben Kenobi says goodbye, and Leia deals with the fact that she is pregnant with twins and someone is out to kidnap her.  Meanwhile Han is busy trying to build a level of trust between the Republic and smugglers it wants to make legitimate traders. There is also Political issues in the new republic as different fractions try to get power.   So this book has aspects of a war novel, a political thriller and some Jedi lore.

The reason I started with this book was not only was it relatively close to the end of the movies, but it introduces Mara Jade, who is perhaps my favorite EU/Legends character.  I still hope some reiteration of her appears in the new film Trilogy.  It also introduces Talon Karrde who I’m finding more interesting than I expected.

The book itself took a bit to get into because it takes a moment to orient yourself in the universe.  I’m used to reading tie-in novels that have some reference to the films either by being the novelization or movies that take place directly before/after or deal with events in the movie.  However, once you figure out where everything is at, it’s a good book.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

 

Movie Review: Rogue One

So shortly before New Years, I decided to venture alone to the movie theater to take in Rogue One, afraid it would disappear from the local theater if I waited much longer (apparently its scheduled for a few weeks so I was not in any danger of missing it).  I don’t usually like going to the movies by myself, preferring to have the company of friends to discuss the movie afterwards.  But none of that has to do with this review.

Rogue One was good.  It did as it said and was a single entity film, there were no openings for a sequel, as it ends almost exactly where A New Hope Begins.  While a few of the characters from the main episodes appear, the main plot had nothing to do with them.  Even Vader stays mostly out-of-the-way.  (although there is a scene where we see Vader’s house.  It made me laugh, although I don’t think that was the intent.)

Rogue One continues Star War’s tradition of women getting things done.  In this case its Jyn Erso, a woman who had her parents taken from her as a young girl by the Empire.  Her mother was killed, her father was an engineer they needed.  However she goes on a mission to help the Rebellion, mostly to try to find her father who she has not seen in 15 years.  She is joined by an odd group of rebels, including a new Droid I wish we could see more of .

While I feel at times the pace of the story was a bit quick, the editing was good and the writing was also good.  It also included archive footage from scenes filmed but cut from A New Hope to add to the film, which were remarkably well-integrated into the film.

Also we get to see some of the characters we love from the Prequels and the Original Trilogy interacting.  Jimmy Smits for example returns for a few scenes as Leia’s adoptive father Bail Organa.  And we also see Mon Mothma Pre-ROTJ trying to get everyone in a room to talk plans and wishing she had some Advil.

I will say this: This does not have a happy ending, so be prepared.  It does have one of my favorite end scenes a few minutes before the actual ending of the movie. It was beautifully edited and filmed.

I will also say this:  I was happy to see the romance played down in this.  It is clear that there is something there for those who want to find something, but these people are in the middle of a battle and the “romance” doesn’t get in the way of that.  It’s all very subtle and can be easily pushed aside if you don’t care for romance plots.   I was afraid going in that they would be pushing some sort of romance, diminishing from what the main characters were doing because they got distracted with said romance.

Final Grade:  A

In memoriam: Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher
Source: wikipedia

I kept hoping for better news this week, but today Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher’s daughter confirmed her mother had passed away after a heart attack on Friday.  

Carrie has been a big part of my childhood as Princess Leia, and she always impressed me with her ability to use humor to deal with things others would let bog them down.  She had issues, but made sure to use her platform as a media spotlighted person to bring awareness so others could be helped. 

Carrie grew up in the spotlight, the daughter of actors Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.  But it didn’t really put her to the forefront till she became Princess Leia at 21. It is that role she will probably be the most remembered for.  She played the role for 40 years. She also was in the movie When Harry met Sally as Sally’s best friend who finally finds love with Harry’s best friend. 

She wrote many autobiographical books as well as pushed for awareness of mental illness.

Farwell, Princess.  Thank you for the years of laughter, and activism and the movies that will live on. My thoughts go out to your family and friends.

Star Wars Aniversery

Today is the 39th aniversery of Star Wars’ first theaterical debut in 1977.  Since I wrote a post about Stargate a few posts ago, I figured I’d spare a post for another favorite franchise of mine, Star Wars.

I was a late-in-life Star Wars fan.  (My father holds true to the idea that Star Wars is Lame, one should only watch the Original series of Star Trek).  In sixth grade I started watching Return of the Jedi, and was mostly confused.  Which can happen when one watches the last 30 minutes of the third movie in a triology.

Anyway, I decided at that point to go to the video store (because they were still around), and rent the four Star Wars movies that were out at that point.  I watched them in chronological order of story, not release, so the first SW movie I watched in full was The Phantom Menance.  I think this altered how I veiewed Star Wars movies.

Many of my friends are of the opinon that the prequels suck, and only the originals are any good (although they have favorable feelings about 7, but I haven’t seen that so no opinon there).  Unlike them, I’m more neutral to favorable on the prequels.  Most of the issues I saw was George Lucas tried to retconn things he had wanted to change from the original trilogy.  Even as a fan of the prequels there were some moments where I wanted to ask him what he was doing.  (Namely the Owen Lars situation.  My friends have heard me rant about this.)

Still, the prequels weren’t as bad as I think popular culture likes to protray them as.  They still continued to break box office amounts, and people still watch them.

Now I just have to watch Episode 7, so I can call my watching complete.  Well, until Episode 8 comes out.