Comics Culture – Attack of the Reboots

With the release of the Ghostbusters remake on the horizon I thought I’d take a look at what exactly these big budget re imaginings mean, if anything, for the originals.

When the first trailer for the new Ghostbusters went live on YouTube it rapidly became the most disliked trailer in history. People were crying and angry claiming that it had ruined the original and that newest of clich├ęs that it had ruined their childhood.

I’ll declare now that I’m a life long fan of Ghostbusters. The original two movies hold a very special place in my heart. The Real Ghostbusters was my favourite cartoon as a kid. I had almost all the toys. Fast forward to today and I have the Lego ECTO-1 and I’m ordering the Lego Ghostbusters Firehouse. My dream is to one day own a screen accurate Proton Pack.

So yeah… I’m the kind of fan that you’d expect to get angry about the reboots trailer. But you know what? I didn’t mind it. It wasn’t great but it definitely wasn’t bad. It made me curious enough to want to find out more. I am truthfully at a loss as to why it’s gotten the hate it has.

A lot has been written it’s because this time round all four Ghostbusters are female and their Secretary is a dude. Sadly I think this is a large part of it. I’ve no idea why either. The original Ghostbusters featured a cast of actors who cut their comedy chops on America’s long running Saturday Night Live. The reboots cast have also all come from SNL. On paper the film has pedigree. The writer director Paul Feige has a proven record of funny films and the main cast are all very funny women.

When Gotham launched a large and vocal part of the Batfan community were angry that it’d ruin their characters. That obviously didn’t happen as it instead gave us an insight in to them at a different part of their lives. Seeing The Ridler and The Penguin evolve in to the characters we love has been a particular joy.

The same fuss occurred over Michael Bays Transformer films and actually… he’s my personal exception. Those films were not MY Transformers I grew up with. I got very angry about those. Why did he have to add a flame job to Optimus Prime? Why? Truthfully though I still have the original on DVD. That 1980s animated classic almost single handedly got me in to heavy metal at a young age. It really holds up too.

The thing we have to remember is that these remakes and reboots don’t mean we lose access to the original. They don’t take that magic away. They can’t.

The Crow is no less an all time classic despite the many awful direct to video reboots telling in essence the same story with slightly different characters and significantly lower budget actors and special effects.

When Tim Burton released his Batman in 1989 it didn’t diminish people’s love for Adam West’s caped crusader. Similarly when The Dark Knight came out we still had and enjoyed Batman 89.

The problem, I think, is that we feel a sense of ownership of these characters. Because we grew up with them they become a part of us. We, however, are not a part of them. They’re not ours to control and we have no say over them. If we accepted this fact we, as fans, will hopefully be a lot happier. We also must accept the economics of the situation. The companies that own the character rights are out to make profit. If that means the third, thirteenth, or thirtieth, reboot that’s the name of the business. As long as the quality is good fans will keep on coming back.

At their very best remakes and reboots will draw attention to the original and add new fans. They’ll grow the franchise and give us new adventures in familiar settings.

At their worst however? They’re very quickly forgotten leaving the original to shine on untainted. Going back to The Crow we all know the original. The straight to DVD stuff? It’s already forgotten.

Just remember that no matter what happens your experiences are with the originals are safe in your mind and nothing, nothing at all, can take that away.

Apart from Jar Jar Bloody Binks. That guy really DID ruin my childhood.