If you have been to the cinema in the last five years it is likely to watch a Marvel movie or a nostalgic reboot of an old classic. These have been the headline movies for the last number of years and it is a formula that is working for moviemakers so is set to continue for the foreseeable future. Although we at ShowMarker are getting a little fatigued of superhero movies telling the exact same story we want to focus on the reboots today. The reboots are something that had us incredibly excited when they were each announced but it is fair to say that every single one has fallen short of the originals. Is it just because of our nostalgia or are they simply not as good?
Let’s first talk about the Disney classics. We have seen remakes like Aladdin, The Lion King, Lady, and the Tramp, Dumbo, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast. With Bambi, the Little Mermaid, Snow White, and Pinocchio all the horizon it is clear that this trend will continue for a long time. The Lion King and Aladdin both brought in over $1 billion dollars worldwide so the movie makers likely feel they are onto a sure thing. However, the critic’s response has been far more underwhelming with most of the movies rating around 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’ll go a step further and say they are terrible. Will Smith is a nice guy and does a fine job as Aladdin but he was never going to come close to Robin Williams. The entire movie works far better as a cartoon than it does as a live-action movie. The same is true for the Lion King. Even though it has an all-star cast it feels more like actors trying to do the cartoon rather than doing a new movie. If these stories had tried something different and altered the story for a new era we could have given some credit but for the most part, they follow the exact script and just do a worse job. I thought about showing my niece the Lion King recently, but instead, I turned on the cartoon and its timeless appeal won another fan.
Disney is also to blame for the recent Star Wars trilogy. The original Star Wars trilogy clearly has some loyal fans and they were never going to be easy to impress. The second trilogy was average and this annoyed the legions of followers. When the third trilogy was announced and the names associated with it were released, there was optimism. Many fans felt that these movies would set right what the second trilogy did wrong. J.J. Abrams took charge of the first movie and produced an incredibly enjoyable film for anyone who was once a Star Wars fan. However, he played it safe. He produced a movie that shadows the original plot almost exactly (it is a giant planet weapon instead of a giant moon weapon) with similar story arcs for the main characters as well. This movie appeased but did not delight.
The sequel then came with a new director. This was both a smart move and a mistake. Rian Johnson is an excellent director and has made some fun movies in Brick and Looper. However, he didn’t want to follow the same plot lines that Abrams had set out and so started to change the course of the plot in the second movie. There were more twists and turns yet the overall arc was losing shape. For the final movie, Abrams returned and quickly tried to make his trilogy storyline make sense packing many plotlines into the final movie. Overall it was fine but messy. Not what it should have been.