Jurassic World, The Jungle Book, Independence Day: Resurgence, Finding Dory… what all of these films have in common is that they are reviving or continuing a story I loved in childhood or adolescence – a story that has a good deal of nostalgia attached to it. And I seem to be encountering more and more of these lately. This is undoubtedly because the industry is making more reboots and sequels, but to be honest, it’s also because I’m getting older (noooooo…) and I remember more originals.
I’ll be watching a trailer and will feel a sudden jolt of recognition when I realise it’s a reboot, remake or continuation of a beloved series, often one I haven’t thought about in years. The familiar music score, characters and actors bring a wave of nostalgia, and I have three simultaneous reactions that I’m sure other fans would share:
- Excitement – because there’s a chance it’ll be good and bring back all the joy of the first film/s.
- Distrust – because there’s a chance it’ll be terrible and feel like a betrayal or spoiling of the first film/s.
- Mild Resentment and Guilt – because I know I am being manipulated by the film marketing machine. They know they’re going to give me that buzzy excited feeling by bringing up those memories, and that’s why they made the film. There’s a pre-existing fan base to cash in on. This is why we have so many trashy sequels (think Fast and the Furious 7) and why filmmakers do it tougher when they try to make something new. But even though I feel that resentment, part of me is still willing to be manipulated if it’s in the name of a film or franchise I love.
So do I go see the film?
After these initial reactions, there are several factors that influence whether I actually go see a remake, sequel or reboot:
- How much I loved the original film/s
- The reviews or critical reception of the new film
- How good any previous sequels or reboots have been
- The quality of the trailer
- The presence of an actor or actors I like
- How much people are talking about it (i.e. do I need to go see it just so I know what everyone is talking about)
So in consideration of all of this, I thought I would list some recent fantasy or science fiction remakes, reboots and series that I either haven’t been able to resist, or likely won’t be able to resist when they next bring out a film (many are due to come out this year – 2016):
I’m an absolute devotee of this one, and haven’t been disappointed by a single film in the series yet… so seeing the next X-Men movie is pretty much a forgone conclusion for me. I’ll be watching it regardless of what anyone says about it.
I’m also a sucker for anything in the Marvel Universe, particularly The Avengers. There have been a few disappointments, but I find now with everything culminating into The Avengers, you kind of have to watch all the Marvel films that come out otherwise you miss references (e.g. the latest Captain America was basically an Avengers Film).
I have a pretty strong attachment to this series and will generally go see the films, though not always at the cinema. The Arnie-factor is also a strong influence… if it’s got Schwarzenegger, I’ll watch it. If it hasn’t, the reviews and trailers have to be decent.
Jurassic Park is an interesting one, as I loved the first film, but the truly terrible sequels kind of killed the series and turned me off it. If Jurassic World had been headed in the direction of Jurassic Park III, I would have given it a miss. As it was, it rebooted the series and garnered great reviews, so I went and saw it and loved it.
The last couple of films have been awesome, thanks in part to the J. J. Abrams magic touch, so while I have no childhood connection to this one, I’ll be watching future ones.
Planet of the Apes
Again, I have no childhood connection to this franchise but the last two films were fantastic so I’m hooked.
Independence Day: Resurgence
This is one of those unexpected sequels where I laughed when I saw they were making it, but at the same time knew I’d be going to see the film when it came out. I just can’t resist the nostalgia here – I loved the original too much.
The Jungle Book
Had this appeared to be an exact replica of the disney 1967 cartoon version, or a terrible childish remake, I’d have opted out. As it was, the trailer and cast had me taking notice, and I couldn’t resist diving back into that world.
I’ll watch anything Pixar brings out. However, I tend to find Pixar is at its best when doing new films, not sequels. Still, I loved Finding Nemo (especially all the characters with Aussie accents) so Finding Dory is definitely on the ‘to-see’ list.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
I’m a big fan of the Potter books and movies, but this new film is more of a prequel, based on the companion book of the same name which I haven’t read. So out of curiosity I’ll go see it, but I’m not sure if it’ll be any good.
This is an interesting one because I didn’t actually like the previous Ghost Buster films… I just thought they were a bit silly. But the fact that the latest one has an almost all-female cast, coupled with the fact the trailer was great, has me 100% on board.
I pretty much only go see Star Wars films for the last reason on my list – I want to know what everyone’s talking about. I was never a Star Wars fan as a kid. While I found the films mildly entertaining, I didn’t develop any special affection for them, so there’s not enough nostalgic attachment there to give me the warm and fuzzies. I didn’t much like the latest instalment. Still, when the hype starts I can’t help but go see what all the fuss is about.
So those are a few of my recent can’t-resist film franchises and reboots.
In all of this, I realise that as much as I roll my eyes at the continuance of some film series and grumble about the fact they’re just out to make a buck, there are plenty I get excited about. I wouldn’t want a film industry solely made up of series and sequels, yet I can’t resist some of the good ones when they hit screens.
And I’m sure everyone has their own vices – which film series, sequels and remakes have you been unable to resist? Are you a devotee of any particular franchise?