Call it what you want: reboot, re-imagining, re-invention, or even “untold story”. It all amounts to the same thing: a do-over. As Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” proves, sometimes a franchise has simply run its course, and the only thing left is to start all over again from the beginning. “The Amazing Spider-Man” tried to sell it as an “untold story”, but let’s be frank, it’s basically the same story with a new element that, in the larger scheme of things, doesn’t even matter all that much. Which led me to wonder: what other franchises out there is in dire need of a do-over?
Here are our suggestions for 10 franchises that a reboot would give just the shot-in-the-arm it needs.
In no particular order…
1. THE PUNISHER
Why Reboot It? Now you might be saying to yourself: “What? The Punisher … AGAIN?” You’re damn right The Punisher … again. Call it a personal fanboy thing if you must. The Punisher has always been the one character that I couldn’t go a week without buying back in my comic book reading days. He was my “in” to the Marvel Universe, what with all their flying superhero do-gooders and whatnot. The Punisher was human — but just slightly more than human. Batman, if you will, without the gazillion bucks. And that whole “not killing” thing.
Ways to Make it Better The Second Time Around: Microchip. The Punisher’s weaponsmaster, best friend, and all-around guardian angel. I don’t mean as a throwaway background character, either. For a new Punisher movie to work, Microchip has to be in it. I mean, right there, side-by-side with The Punisher as they dispense justice on a bloody scale. In fact, it might work to introduce the world of The Punisher through the eyes of Microchip. That hasn’t been done before. Go low-tech with it. Microchip in a dank basement sweating over The Punisher’s toys. Hunkered in his beat-up, but ready-for-battle war van. We’ve tried to approach a “Punisher” movie through the main man’s eyes three times already. It’s time to change it up.
2. FLASH GORDON
Why Reboot It? Why not? Especially since no one has done a decent “Flash Gordon” interpretation yet, whether on the big screen or on the small screen. The character is world-famous, with brand name recognition out the wazoo. Granted, much of that recognition is of the silly variety, thanks to the 1980 movie, the last time Hollywood took a shot at the character. As a result, Flash Gordon is wide open to be “re-imagined” as an intergalactic space hero. A cool, intergalactic space hero.
Ways to Make it Better The Second Time Around: Avoid the jock background at all cost. I know, that’s part of the character’s charm. Well you know what? That charm has resulted in some pretty lousy movies and a pretty lousy TV show. Who says Flash Gordon has to be some blonde Aryan looking dude? Why not a space pirate? An intergalactic bounty hunter? Someone with charm, with verve, with actual personality. You don’t necessarily have to go dark and gritty with this one. With today’s special effects, a space movie starring a recognizable hero could make a killing. Just don’t, you know, drop him on Mars where everything is all brown and boring and whatnot. Get creative and don’t stick so closely to the source material that the film can’t breathe. What worked then doesn’t always work now. Ask Andrew Stanton.
3. THE LOST BOYS
Why Reboot It? Haven’t you heard? Vampires are in. And it’s not like the franchise could possibly get any worst, with the last two entries going direct-to-DVD and starring, of all people, Corey Feldman. Let’s face it: when your film hinges on the starring power of Corey Friggin Feldman, you’ve already lost. The original “The Lost Boys” remains the best in the series, but even it could have used some updating. This was a franchise that always worked best when it was about outsider teenagers free from adult constraints. And that just happens to sell pretty well in today’s market, too.
Ways to Make it Better The Second Time Around: Vampires + outsiders = today’s social network obsessed teenagers. In a time when everyone is on Twitter and Facebooking and Youtubing themselves doing life’s most mundane tasks, how do you incorporate vampires into that new reality? Obviously the screenwriter who comes up with a way to do that should get paid big bucks. If someone wants to pay me to think up an angle, I’m more than willing. You know how to reach me.
Why Reboot It? Because if not for the recent release of “Spawn” on Blu-ray, I wouldn’t have come up with the idea for this article. So, thanks, Spawn! Plus, Spawn is a cool character. Anyone who has read the Todd McFarlane comic books know this. Hell, even the HBO animated show that followed the 1997 movie was all kinds of rad. The character has it in him to be Batman with a supernatural element. In the right hands, this movie could be a spooky horror movie — except the monster, this time around, is the good guy.
Ways to Make it Better The Second Time Around: As long as the filmmakers keep repeating this mantra to themselves: “It’s a horror movie — except the monster is the good guy” — a rebooted “Spawn” movie could be something really special. A “Cabin in the Woods”-type of twist on the genre, if you will. Of course, for this to really work, you’d need Todd McFarlane to maintain total control over the production. No more PG-13 nonsense ala the 1997 movie. Go hard R or go home. Spawn needs to chain-whip bitches bloody.
5. DELTA FORCE
Why Reboot It? This is a no-brainer, especially in a post-Osama world. America’s elite military services are constantly in the news and on the big screen, but it seems like the SEALs are the only ones getting the love. Which would make a rebooted “Delta Force” franchise a perfect change of pace — you still get the hardcore military action, but also get an inside look at another uber secret service branch. More of the same, but with just the right amount of newness.
Ways to Make it Better The Second Time Around: Obviously you can’t go Chuck Norris on this one, so no more missle-armed motorcycles. Hell, no more motorcycles, period. If you’re going to do a “Delta Force” reboot in today’s world, you’ll have to do it along the lines of the recent “Act of Valor” — strong, violent, and as real as you can get — with honest to goodness actors. And yes, they should be real actors. The biggest problem with “Act of Valor” was its amateur cast. These are super badass guys, but man, some of those non-action scenes were unGodly painful to watch.