How rebooting a well loved movie could work
Written by: Arthur Panganiban
Date : October 13, 2017
Rebooting a movie is a very tricky business. There are also just a handful of movie reboots that actually worked, which means countless others have failed. Here are some tips and advice for anyone attempting to reboot a well loved classic. Please note that there are two types of movie reboots: a non-remake-reboot and a reboot-remake. The latter is not the way to go and will lead to ultimate doom because it will never recapture the love and loyalty from the audience as it once did. But, there is a sliver of hope because I'm always optimistic about success.
To start, there are three key players needed for a chance of this to even work: (a) the writers, (b) casting agency, (c) director. Now, I’m not too worried about the other departments such as the special effects, wardrobe, cinematography, the movie star and the rest but they do play an important role. The producer’s money will work best securing those three and here’s why. If the direction, script and selected actors suck to begin with, no amount of money spent even with the best music and most revolutionary visuals will ever save the movie.
Here now are my 5 points on how to reboot a movie:
1. Plot and Story. Opt for a non-remake reboot and focus everything on the quality of the story. Hire writers who are fans of the original so they will take great care of the script. I would also encourage you to focus on another part of the hero’s life. The original has a great story already so I don’t recommend redoing it which often times mean changing so many parts of it. The movie has been done, please don’t repeat it. If we were to use the rumored Highlander reboot as example, focus on another part of Connor’s life maybe after Villa-Lobos was beheaded, perhaps a time with Kastagir or maybe Introduce a new immortal friend. A female immortal sounds really good right now, in my humble opinion. Get creative here writers, but most importantly give it heart.
"If the direction, script and selected actors suck to begin with, no amount of money spent even with the best music and most revolutionary visuals will ever save the movie"
2. Actors. Please choose people that can really act and perform. There’s an abundance out there, known and unknown who are very hungry. Solid acting with a solid story is a great way to start. I’d lean toward actors with unmistakable talent that aren’t overused on the silver screen. All the actors should have chemistry on and off the set. If there’s no chemistry or something is not fitting right, it’s time to spit out that one bad seed.
3. Characters. The original most likely has great characters. Please don’t change the tone for any one of them. Think of the most recent Nightmare on Elm Street movie. Freddy just wasn’t the same. If you decide on a reboot-remake, then do not change, add or subtract any of the main characters. Find the characters that were lacking and build a better version of them. If you decide to focus on a non-remake-reboot as I suggest, then the sky’s the limit. Just make sure you include good, heartfelt characters and build them up. Please don’t just whip up characters for the sake of fillers. Make them relevant and memorable like Baldwin in Glengarry. Make us want to care about them or at least intrigued.
4. Soundtrack. This is another good reason why reboot-remakes will never work, and that’s because the original soundtrack was intended only for the original movie. Call it alignment of the stars or a positive perfect storm, but the original movie with it’s original soundtrack is perfection. One can’t just slap the original soundtrack onto the new movie and expect them to breathe in harmony together. You’re better off posting your reboot in youtube. If you do decide to use the original soundtrack, please do so with caution. I’d advise to use a re-recorded, full sounding cover of the original version. That’s one way to rekindle that feeling original fans had when they first watched it and to grab new, younger fans in the process.
5. Cinematography, production design and special effects.
I’ll throw these in just because 5 is a good number to end with. Please use excellent CGI if it’s applicable but do so sparingly. Again, using Highlander as an example, the original one had tasteful special effects with excellent and witty cinematography. In fact, I’d give Highlander’s cinematography a perfect 10 over their special effects. Think back on the intro at the wrestling match, the Porsche driving scene and the iconic switching-between-timelines scenes. They were all masterfully done by Gerry Fisher which I sadly just found out, died in 2014. Focus more on the cinematic aspects of it and don’t try too hard to wow the audience with CGI. It will just come off as a distraction. The original movie in target probably didn’t require much of it and so should the reboot.
If you follow these simple steps and you capture the glory of the original movie for old and new viewers alike, they will want to see the original movie. At that point, the original still remains intact and still remains a classic for all to see and enjoy. And for which Netflix, Amazon Prime and Fandango will be more than happy to squeeze an extra $2.99 out of those viewers, or $3.99 in HD. It’s a win-win situation.