Remakes, Reimaginings, Reboots, and Adaptations; A Discussion About Stuff by A Fan of Stuff

Date: April 17th, 2013




Remakes, Reimaginings, Reboots, and Adaptations; A Discussion About Stuff by A Fan of Stuff


When I first learned of Starkid Production’s A Very Potter Musical, well before I even had the opportunity to watch the show, I was skeptical about the direction the community-theatre-company would be taking regarding the decision they were making. I was concerned that the musical was intended to cash in on a blockbuster franchise, and I was incredibly concerned that the musical aspect of the production would be akin to a shark-jumping moment for the franchise. More importantly, I was worried that the team would attempt to take the already existing Harry Potter plot-line and simply recreate the movies with a theatrical style and musical flair.


In retrospect, I don’t know what elements I was concerning myself with since the aforementioned production details sound amazing and hilariously entertaining, though I do digress. Well, that and the fact that Starkid Productions used almost every piece of the Harry Potter universe – including the fan-universe – and created three productions totalling almost ten-hours for one of the best fanmade musicals I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.


I digress, however.


What I mean to say is that, when I first heard about the musical, my inner fan exploded in spectacular fashion to warn me about a reimagining of a personal favourite franchise. I cannot stress enough how little I knew about the show, or how little I knew that Starkid would create something funny, endearing, emotional, enormously entertaining, and specifically for the fans of the Harry Potter universe.


Frankly, however, It’s an unsurprising reaction to the news of a remake, reboot, sequel, or reimagining, and I’ve noticed that I, and many other proclaimed critics of the human condition, become more and more critically cynical of the news regarding adaptations as more and more adaptations fail in ways that rival the Hindenburg or the Titanic – hubris notwithstanding.


I looked forward to the live-action adaptation of Avatar the Last Airbender, I looked past the fact that M. Night Shyamalan would be directing it, and I even let go of the disappointment I experienced at the casting choices, only to be reminded of all the film’s failings when I watched it in theatres. I was excited for the live-action adaptation of the Green Lantern character and even thought that this marked the beginning of a potential Justice League spinoff. As more details entered my field-of-view, I became excited for the casting of Ryan Reynolds and Mark Strong, I marveled at the set-pieces being shown off in marketing stills, and I even thought that the actual costume looked pretty cool, only to be marvelously crushed once I saw the shoddy, poorly written, and ultimately boring finished product.


Of course, for every Green Lantern there’s a trilogy of amazing Batman films directed and written by individuals who actually understand the character and the mythos. For every Transformers and Battleship there’s an enjoyable adaptation of Clue, and for every G.I. Joe: Retaliation, there’s a G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. For every odd-numbered Star Trek failure, there’s an even numbered (and ninth) success that provide reasons to be excited at the prospect of a popular franchise adaptation.


My point is that for every failed adaptation, there’s another that makes it worthwhile being a fan – I’d list examples, but that would be redundant. For every ten adaptive failures, there are two or three subsequent successes that raise the spirits and give hope to fans and filmgoers alike. However, because of the high frequency of failed adaptations, marketing buzz that amounts to nothing, and amazing trailers that mask remarkably stunning failures in plot, character development, special effects, casting, and direction, my reaction to the news of a sequel, remake, reboot, reimagining, or adaptation has become cringe-inducing cynicism.


I once again find myself facing this same cynicism in the wake of the new Superman film that was announced around 2009, and that was first trailered in 2012 alongside the theatrical release of The Dark Knight Rises. Yesterday, April 16th 2013, marked the release of Man of Steel’s third trailer and my excitement has once again been elevated.


As a fan of the Superman comic books, however, I know that I shouldn’t get my hopes up.


Almost every film starring the eponymous man of steel since Superman III has been an unmitigated disaster, and though the animated character has barely suffered (with the comics, and DC animated universe not faltering in quality), any hope for a decent Superman movie went out the window with 2006’s Superman Returns.


I won’t get into what made these films bad, and I won’t discuss my personal gripe with the films because I’m forced to admit that Man of Steel’s trailer shows a marked improvement. Despite the data to suggest otherwise, I do believe that the Zac-Snyder-and-Christopher-Nolan helmed film has the potential to please both Superman’s fans, and the palates of most film-goers. This, however, is a belief firmly rooted in the trailers I have seen so far, and the information gathered from interviews, inside sources, executives, producers, and the actors themselves (not to mention the film’s Wikipedia page).


My ultimate point, however, has little to do with either Harry Potter or Superman, and has everything to do with my reaction as a fan of an independent property.


Instead of being excited by the prospect of another medium creating a story out of something I’m a fan of, I’m immediately cynical about the direction an individual is going to take with the topic. This is fascinatingly nonsensical, because most of my favourite stories – my favourite independent properties – have had life breathed into them by people in no way affiliated with the original creators.


It’s almost as if, when it comes to movies, my inner fan rises to the defence of the property, but when it comes to Mark Millar raising Superman in the former Soviet Union, Grant Morrison making Superman an All-Star, or even Frank Miller having Superman fight Batman because the latter has become a threat to the freedom and independence of America in The Dark Knight Returns I’m perfectly fine being at the mercy of the writers, artists, editors, and publishers at DC Comics. It’s almost as if, when it comes to anything other than their original medium, I, and a large population of the fanbase, forget that characters are just that – characters created for the not-so-simple purpose of being part of stories.


Stories that, if written well, are interesting and entertaining enough to warrant creation. Stories that, fortunately, are intended to insure that independent properties remain interesting. Stories that, ultimately, are meant to appeal to both fans, and newcomers.


Perhaps therein lies the issue; perhaps I’m not upset about a remake or a reboot, or even that my so-called “Rights as a fan” are being tread upon. Perhaps it’s simply the fact that a character or story that I find entertaining, interesting, and worth examining, can potentially end up being ruined in an exaggerated, but still personally hurtful manner. Perhaps the problem isn’t so much that characters aren’t being utilized to their full extent, as much as it’s us feeling that our heroes – the characters, and the universes they inhabit, that we recognize – no longer belong to us.


I don’t completely understand why I become cynical when I hear about the potential Justice League movie, or the new Star Wars trilogy, especially when I look forward to the new additions to both universes – Star Wars, DC, Harry Potter, or otherwise. Frankly, I don’t understand why anyone would raise a fuss about a single poor portrayal in a different medium when there are hundreds of bad examples within the original medium to begin with.


What I do know, however, is how it feels finding out that our heroes aren’t the same as everyone else’s and, most importantly, how it feels knowing that our heroes are not, were not, and never will be ours alone.


Perhaps, quite simply, it’s a mere reimagining of the classic schoolyard debate of whose hero is better than whose, and who cares more about whom.


Which breathes a new, expansive layer of irony into this entire article.


As always, this has been your Admin, the not-so Avid Blogger; comment, subscribe, and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!




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