Column: Time for a reboot
People like to complain that the Hollywood movie industry is out of ideas. That it coasts along on a steady stream of sequels and explosions hoping people gradually lose either the will or the ability to read, thus eliminating a wide range of non-picture-based entertainment options.
To these people I ask: Have you seen this new movie Beastly? It's a little like Beauty and the Best, except instead of being a big dog-looking thing the beast has lots of tattoos and stuff. Which is totally different.
This recycling thing seems to be picking up speed. Reimaginings of popular entertainment used to be restricted to movie versions of old television shows that most people only think they enjoyed because they watched them in reruns when they were home sick from school and delirious with fever. Is there really any other explanation for the lingering fondness for The Dukes of Hazard? I mean, aside from Daisy Duke's shorts?
But now it's spreading. And it's accelerating. One version of a movie is hardly out of theaters before the franchise is being reinvented. Batman got a big-budget, big-screen treatment in 1989 and was reimagined 2006 as Batman Begins. Superman got an onscreen origin story in 1978 and a new version is reportedly in the works after 2006's Superman Returns made the questionable artistic decision of casting the Man of Steel as a stalker and a deadbeat Dad.
Spider-Man is getting a new start -- a reboot, they like to call it, as if forgetting you've learned anything about a character that was just introduced six months ago is the same as turning off your computer and turning it back on -- less than a decade after his big-screen debut. And there have been something like sixteen origin stories about the Incredible Hulk this year alone.
All of which ignores the fact that super-hero stories (you never really hear about someone rebooting a historical drama) are all kind of the same anyway. Spider-Man got bitten by a spider. Green Lantern found magical piece of costume jewelry. But they're all pretty much the same under the tights.
All of this rebooting has made me think it's time to reimagine this column. It's had a good run, more than a decade in all. But it's time to turn things over to someone younger and hipper. That someone will actually still me, but maybe with a goatee Photoshopped onto my photo, a step that is necessary because the chances of me ever growing convincing facial hair are roughly the same as the chances someone will decide The King's Speech needs a new origin story.
(Hear me out, though. What if the King was from space?)
I don't expect to change the content of the column much, either. That would be like replacing Spider-Man's blue-and-red tights with orange and fuschia.
Some people might be threatened by this, but I'm excited. It's a chance to reimagine my past. Maybe instead of being raised by parents who cared for and encouraged me I was reared by a pack of choleric baboons. Maybe by night I fight crime.
The possibilities are limited only by my imagination and my reluctance to go outside after dark.