I’m busy, so I didn’t read anything this week. Instead, I took a few minutes to watch the new trailers for the MacGyver reboot and Star Trek Beyond, and I ran across a heated discussion about the new Ghostbusters movie. All these are reboots of beloved intellectual properties.
Note: I happen to like every single Star Trek movie ever, even the “bad” ones. I like some of them more than others, and a few fare much better in rewatching. Still, I’ve enjoyed them all.
I don’t understand. Why is it necessary to reboot things we loved ten, twenty, thirty or more years ago? What is the magic reason we can’t take some IP that did phenomenally at the time and imagine what life is like that many years later? Why does it have to be a redo instead of a continuation?
In the cases of both Ghostbusters and MacGyver, the producers and writers seemed to think taking the name of an IP, slapping it on, and buffing it up to be “modern” is all it takes to have a blockbuster. Granted, we’ve only seen trailers so far, but in both cases, it seems quite clear that those responsible for these things have no understanding whatsoever of why we loved these things.
There is nothing wrong, ever, with gender-swapping a story. This is done often, sometimes subtly and sometimes obviously. The fact of a gender swap has no bearing whatsoever on the strength of a story or lack thereof. I have no issues with someone deciding to take Ghostbusters and gender flip it.
I do take issue with the horsecrap I’ve seen in the trailer. The original is a good movie that still stands up despite changes in technology. Yes, it’s very much an 80s hairdo film, but the writing is great, the performances are stellar, and everyone must have had a good time making it. You can tell. We miss you, Harold Ramis.
This new movie…looks like they took the plot and missed what the story was about. They put together some talented comedians, just like in the original movie, and then gave them slapstick and stereotypes to stumble through. There’s no sense of wonder or wit. When I look back at the one-liners Murray drops, they feel natural. His sarcasm and snot hit all the beats. The stuff in the trailer is like a bunch of kids doing a re-enactment without getting the point because it’s over their heads.
So that’s how I feel about what I saw in the trailer for Ghostbusters. I won’t bother seeing it in the theater because it doesn’t interest me. My local theater is showing the original in two weeks, and I plan to go to that.
If only they’d decided to take the story into the future by advancing the timeline. Write a new story, dammit. Don’t feed me stuff I already like, drowned in a thick, heavy sauce I don’t want.
Angus MacGyver was arguably my first TV character crush. As such, tampering with him is something I regard as fraught with immense peril. The character had charm, wit, brains, and that mullet. The entire reason I gave the Stargate TV show a chance was Richard Dean Anderson (for the record, not really my thing, but I did watch from time to time). MacGyver is kind, a refreshing quality that’s not always present in our heroes even if it should be. He’s a teacher, always willing to explain what he’s doing or just did so everybody–especially the audience–actually learns something useful. Like how to escape from kidnappers when you only have a swiss army knife, duct tape, and chewing gum. He’s also humble, which is hard to be when you’re that frigging clever.
To sum up the new trailer in two words: that smirk. The guy they picked to play a fresh, young Mac appears to have been directed–or maybe it was his choice–to portray Mac as an arrogant prodigy. Which he never was and should not be. I would much, much rather see Mac’s offspring than a Mac reboot. I would love to see his son and daughter as a team, or maybe two of his grandkids, depending upon when the timeline is set. No one can be as awesome as Grandpa Mac, but two of his progeny together can outdo him and make him proud. They could have brought RDA in as an occasional player who provides Gandalfian wisdom as needed because this pair is just a couple of kids who make mistakes.
To sum up: quit it with the reboots already. Continue the story and make something new. Be a little damned original. Honor what we love by elevating it.