20 Of The Worst Reboots, Retools, and Remakes
In both film and video games, there’s a massive movement to tap into the nostalgia of of viewers, bringing back the titles that they loved when they were younger, in new and hip ways. Unfortunately, many of these suck. They’re often soulless cash-ins, devoid of any real content, that serve only to make mockery of the titles so cherished by many. These 20 titles are perfect examples of just how wrong they can go.
20. Superman Returns
I thought Singer’s attempt at a Superman film had a lot of potential, and actually could have been excellent if it weren’t for one glaring flaw: the plot was fucking stupid. Routh made an excellent Superman, Spacey was perfect as Luthor, and Parker Posey is always hilarious, so what went wrong? This soft-boot should have managed to make a plot that didn’t involve Superman’s bastard son, or an incredibly stupid and nonsensical thing about creating artificial kryptonite islands. And why can’t we have a Superman movie with a proper earth shattering brawl in it?
19. Alien vs. Predator
AvP is a concept that should be impossible to fuck up. You have aliens — possibly the hardest to kill critters in the galaxy — fighting predators — space’s greatest hunters. Yet both AvP movies sucked beyond all comprehension. It could have been done so well, if they had just lifted one of the many amazing stories from the comics or novels, or even done anything where they could have used the Colonial Marines, instead of that tedious small group of survivors they insist on using in everything that might be even vaguely scary. And did they really have to include pyramids?
18. Knight Rider
The short lived 2008 TV show lasted for just one season, for which I am incredibly thankful. Technically a sequel, it was for all intents and purposes a reboot, with a new Michael, a new Kitt, but none of the heart and soul of the original. When you’re out acted by Hasselhoff, you know something’s wrong. Essentially one long advert for Ford cars, Kitt could change shape into pretty much the entire range of that years models, all of which were displayed prominently whenever they were on screen. The series was a soulless commercial shell, incapable of anything close to decency.
17. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
There should be an award for fucking up in spite of amazing actors, which GI Joe would definitely win. You had Christopher Eccleston and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the bad guys! They’re so utterly perfect as a pair of villains that you should have had an Alan Rickman situation, where everyone was rooting for them because the good guys were stupid. Instead there’s just an utterly inane plot, boring special effects, and tedious action. All of which was capped by the monumentally stupidity of using hunks of an iceberg to drop on an undersea base, despite ice’s tendency to float.
16. Planet of the Apes
I think Tim Burton deserves a pat on the back for Planet of the Apes, only because he managed to go an entire film without casting Johnny Depp, though he did still manage to squeeze Helena Bonham Carter in there. Planet of the Apes wasn’t entirely horrific, and I was frankly impressed with the set design and costuming, and the actors in the ape suits did a terrific job despite their huge layers of makeup — convincingly out emoting Mark Wahlberg. Every good point it had came crashing to the ground in a final scene twist that made no fucking sense! Any good will it had was instantly smashed in those three minutes of utter stupidity.
The 1998 Godzilla film was such a bad idea that it rapidly became known amongst fan circles as GINO — Godzilla in name only. The only good thing to come out of this movie was a scene in Godzilla: Final Wars where the real Godzilla beat the American one to death in a fight in Sydney. Let’s ignore the scene of Godzilla humping a building, Maria Pitillo’s pathetic attempt at acting, or the blatant stupidity of the plot. Just look at what they did to Godzilla! While the new redesign was kinda cool looking, there were no special moves, no radioactive breath, and no sense of being entirely indestructible. Jean Reno managed to maintain his legacy as a monumental badass, though.
14. Flash Gordon
There’s a reason you joke that super shitty movies and TV shows look like a SyFy (née Sci Fi) original series. Case in point: Flash Gordon. A completely unsuccessful re-imagining of a classic action strip, movie serial, and camp classic from 1980. The 2007 show lived up to the awesomeness of none of these, and instead of amazing costumes, insane characters and camp fun, you have wooden acting, cheap sets, and just a generally terrible show. British mag SFX called episode 3 of the one season wonder “possibly the worst episode of anything, ever,” and rated the series as the worst they had ever reviewed.
13. Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows
Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows was meant to be a mammoth reboot of the classic franchise, with John Romero and Josh Sawyer on board, a substantial amount of new features, and new classes invented by the pair. However, the pair left partway through development, and all the promised features were left on the cutting room floor. Instead, you were stuck with an incredibly tedious remake which had none of the charm or color of its predecessors, stuck in a world of murky browns and greys. Bland, repetitive, short, and stupidly easy, it was a total flop.
12. Lost in Space
It’s impossible to totally hate the abysmal 1998 remake of Lost in Space due to it having to superbly talented actors in it. Both John Hurt and Gary Oldman were criminally misused in this muddled and tedious attempt to tell the story of space family Robinson, which decided that stupid and paradox filled time travel was the best way to introduce us to what should have been a fairly straightforward story of a family lost in an alien galaxy. The only other high point for this terrible film were the special effects, which were pretty impressive for 1998, and after five minutes of Lacey Chabert, you’re happy just to put it on mute and watch for the graphics.
11. Wild Wild West
Hot off the success of the first MIB movie, Will Smith rapidly signed up for what should have been his next summer hit — instead it was that abomination of a film Wild Wild West. Yes, it was a blockbuster, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was a horrible movie that Smith was utterly miscast in. The original James West was hotheaded and smoothtalking, which Smith had half right. But he’s just too damned cool to play anyone as impetuous as James West. And let’s not forget just how over the top and stupid the gadgetry was. Critically panned for a good reason, it won five Golden Raspberries, and was nominated for four more.
10. Pink Panther
I can’t think of a single movie more offensive to a dead actor than the Pink Panther remake. Steve Martin is a legitimately funny actor, but attempting to fill the shoes of Sellers’ incomparable Jacques Clouseau is offensive and hideously unfunny. There’s not a single thing about the remake that was funny, instead just groan-inducingly tedious and banal, with the stunt casting of Beyoncé rounding out a hideous cast. Hell, when Jean Reno can’t manage to play an ass kicker, then you know you fucked up. The originals are classic comedies, and this remake (and its even worse sequel) are just terrible.
9. Dragonball Evolution
I don’t have the words to express the number of ways that the very concept of a live action version of one of the most hyperkinetic, over the top, and famous anime series of all times is a bad, bad idea. Then you cut out most of the violence, all of the sex, criminally miscast most of the roles, have the plot make no sense, and patch it all together with murky and uninspired CG. There was a single redeeming part to this movie: Chow Yun-fat slumming it as Master Roshi. Other than that it was an immense crapfest, without even the tiniest semblance of style or substance.
8. X-Men: First Class
This one hasn’t even come out yet, but sometimes you just get a feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is a bad, bad idea. This is one of those times. X-Men: First Class is actually a long-running comic, expanding on the origins of the team in the 60s and 70s as they struggle to understand their role in human mutant affairs. Some of the stories from it are excellently written bittersweet affairs that could be adapted well. Unfortunately, the film version won’t be the case. They’ve ditched all of the original team members except Beast, the special effects look sub-par, and Professor X isn’t even bald. The guy didn’t have hair since he was a young child, giving it to him in a prequel just seems wrong. The worst part is the inclusion of the character Azazel, who was created in one of the worst storylines that has ever graced the X-franchises.
Is there really much more that can be said about Bay’s take on Transformers? They’re mired down with incomprehensible stories and the worst shakeycam that the industry has to offer. The volume is constantly cranked to 11, making the explosions deafening. The designs of the robots were horrible piles of mangled spikes, making it impossible to tell the difference between the sides during fights. Shia LaBeouf has the leading man charisma of a moldy brick. The human plotlines did nothing for the overall story, and instead just dragged it down. Redesign the robots to make them visually unique, get rid of the humans, have the plot make something resembling sense, and then we’ll talk.
6. Final Fight: Streetwise
There’s something about updating classic arcade games to modern(ish) systems that makes them just doomed to suck and failure. So few of them make the leap to 3D well, and many of them are utterly, utterly atrocious. Take, for instance, Final Fight: Streetwise, an attempt to bring the venerable street brawler to a new generation of gamers. Man, was it ever bad. There’s no character selection, the fighting itself is pedestrian, and it had the world’s worst minigames. There’s one where you have to squish cockroaches. The AI was horrific, the controls mangled, hit detection was off, let’s just face it, the entire thing was unutterable crap.
5. Project Altered Beast
Linked to the original by name only, Project Altered Beast ditched the high fantasy and “Rise from your grave!” of the original for a clichéd plot about genetically engineered cyber-beast people, which allows you to change into different animals courtesy of a datachip. Man, the original didn’t have to explain shit, you just magically changed form. Never released in America, it was put out in Europe and Japan where it was widely derided for attempting to cash in on the original, but being utterly crap in doing so.
4. Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Ew…just…ew. Nothing about this movie was good at all. The original Street Fighter film was horribly camp and stupid, and we loved it for it. And face it, Raul Julia was a badass Bison. This atrocity, on the other hand, wasn’t even fun. It was just astonishingly dull. Kruek was an unconvincing Chun-Li, the guy from the Black Eyed Peas was horrible as Vega, and don’t even get me started no their lame take on Bison, who wasn’t anything even near the psychopathic dictator we know and love. The screenplay was as wooden as the fights — if you’re going to make a Street Fighter movie, you’d think they could at least grab a decent choreographer.
3. Alone in the Dark
The 2008 version of Alone in the Dark gifted us with something very impressive: the most boring and cliché protagonist the world has ever seen. Gone is early-20th century investigator Edward Carnby, and the creepy historical Lovecraftian madness that surrounded him. Instead you have your standard survival horror protagonist, the slightly scruffy looking, gravelly voiced lead with an emphasis on combat rather than puzzle solving. In terms of gameplay it wasn’t too horrendous, and had some very interesting level skipping mechanics — if you ignore the problematic controls, it’s actually quite fun. But as an entry into the world of Alone in the Dark? It fails miserably, ignoring what made the originals good despite keeping the same name.
2. Golden Axe: Beast Rider
Made by the same crew as Final Fight: Streetwise, the obviously learned nothing from their previous endeavor. Again, a classic arcade beat-em-up stripped of multiple characters, interesting settings, or any redeeming features. No dwarf? You have to be shitting me. Instead you just have an overly slutty version of Tyris Flare in a game with boring levels, stupidly high difficulty, and none of the sword and sworcery craziness of the original. Described by GamePro as “a terrible game that feels like a slap in the face to fans of the original franchise,” it was a total disappointment to anyone who grew up with the original, and obviously rushed out to try and ride the coat tails of God of War’s success.
1. Bomberman: Act Zero
There’s something uniquely disappointing about Bomberman: Act Zero, and idea so horrible that it boggles my mind it was ever introduced. The Bomberman games are universally light-hearted and silly, playing up the cartoony aspect of tiny robots throwing bombs at one another in a maze. Act Zero recast that in a hideously dark form, making it into a dystopian future where you have to battle other vicious cyborgs to the death in order to escape to the surface world and survive. What? The pinnacle of the shitty grimdark reboot, it took all the joy and love of the series, and sapped it into a mediocre game of browns and greys. It was a hideous abomination if ever there was one, and universally reviled for shitting all over a much loved series.
Written by Tim on May 24th, 2011 | Tagged as: Popular Culture