I am happy to bring you Part 2 of my Spotlight on film remakes, reboots, prequels and sequels found in this year’s lineup. (Part 1 can be found here.) 2012 is yet another jam packed year filled with some of the most hotly anticipated films in years, despite a fair amount of them not being of original content.
Is it a good thing or a bad thing? You won’t really know until you’ve seen the films. Until then, you can only speculate about each upcoming movie and that is what this piece aims to do. I’ll be providing reasons why two films—my most anticipated of the category and a wild card—could either succeed or fail, and I’ll leave it up to you as the audience whether you’ll see these films or not. Some may not even need my convincing, but for others you, might.
Once again, note that several films fall under multiple categories.
Most Anticipated Remake: Total Recall
Why it could succeed: The film has assembled a very solid cast of actors including Colin Farrell, Bill Nighy, Bryan Cranston, Ethan Hawke, John Cho, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckinsale. I’m a fan of these actors and their most recent work has me thinking that they can create as good a remake, if not better, as the original, depending on the tone of the film that director Len Wiseman (Underworld, Underworld: Evolution) has decided on.
Why it could fail: I don’t expect the film to carry the same fun and campy tone that the original Paul Verhoeven film had, based on Wiseman’s line of work, but I do expect something to keep me interested throughout the film. I was underwhelmed with how dull the first two Underworld films were, however, I was pleasantly surprised at how fun Live Free or Die Hard was. It’ll all really come down to how he’ll handle the screenplay, which was partly written by Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium).
Wildcard Remake: Snow White and the Huntsman
Why it could succeed: Despite this being a summer, tentpole movie for Universal, this film is really just a vehicle for Kirsten Stewart to help distance herself from the Twilight franchise. Stewart may be the lead in this film, but Universal has done a great job of assembling a great supporting cast for her. Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Ian McShane, Toby Jones, Nick Frost, and Ray Winstone are all included and, from the trailer, I’m really liking what I’m seeing from Theron and Hemsworth. The film is a unique take on the classic fairy tail and it does intrigue me with the direction they’re taking this movie in.
Why it could fail: To me, this entire film will hinge upon the performance of Kristen Stewart as Snow White. She’s been a terrible actress in each of the four Twilight films. I could almost attribute that to the poor writing of Stephanie Meyer, but her other two recent performances in Adventure Land and The Runaways didn’t do much to make me think otherwise. Furthermore, upon seeing the debut trailer for the film, I couldn’t help but notice that no inserts of her dialogue were included. That may not mean anything, but it was concerning for me.
Other 2012 Remakes: The Woman in Black, Silent House, Mirror Mirror, 21 Jump Street, Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Killer, Dredd, Red Dawn
Most Anticipated Reboot: G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Why it could succeed: Surprisingly, this sequel/reboot to the G.I. Joe franchise trumped The Amazing Spider-Man for me, simply for its debut trailer, which completely changed my perception of the franchise. Whereas, Stephen Sommers’ Rise of Cobra came off as a complete campy joke, with over the top and silly action, this Jon M. Chu helmed reboot feels completely different. With only Channing Tatum, Ray Park and Byung-Hun Lee returning from the previous film, all the other major and slight changes bring a totally new look to this franchise and it feels like it could be a really great action movie this summer. The additions of Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis have the action junkie in me excited.
Why it could fail: The biggest thing that could hold this film back is that it is being directed by a first time action director with Jon M. Chu. Having only previously worked on the dance films Step Up 2, Step Up 3D and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never it can be easy to dismiss this film based on that resume. Still the debut trailer for the movie does help to reassure any fears of his ability to direct and does serve as a nice teaser. Hopefully, the film can live up to what I love about the trailer.
Wildcard Reboot: The Amazing Spider-Man
Why it could succeed: It’s been 5 years since the last Spider-Man film by Sam Raimi and this is a complete reboot, with a new Peter Parker and a new story to tell. It’ll be interesting to see how Marc Webb handles this after his big hit, 500 Days of Summer. This is only his second major project so there’s not as big a body of work to compare this to, so it’s really up in the air for me. Andrew Garfield does fit the look of Peter Parker. Emma Stone has been riding high on a string of hits, and I loved Rhys Ifans who last appeared in Anonymous. So, this could be a great film.
Why it could fail: The first trailer that was released for this film was absolutely terrible for me. The CG rendering for the first person perspective sequence in the trailer was horrible and the humor I’d come to expect from a Spider-Man film was absent. The film looked and carried the tone of something dark and I just don’t see Spider-Man working in that manner for the first film of a rebooted franchise.
Other 2012 Reboots: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Bourne Legacy
Most Anticipated Prequel: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Why it could succeed: Virtually every possible person they could have brought back on one of fantasy’s greatest film trilogies is returning, from actors to production staff. There’s also the addition of Guillermo Del Toro, who did help pen the script and screenplay for this film adaptation of the classic fantasy tale by J.R.R. Tolkien. The film will also feature a solid cast of new additions, highlighted by Martin Freeman who will be taking over the role of a younger Bilbo Baggins, previously played by Ian Holm, who is also set to reprise his role in another manner.
Why it could fail: It is really hard to imagine this film failing with all the work that’s being put into it. There isn’t a single actor that’s been cast that has raised eyebrows and the early images of the design for the film look amazing. If there’s anything to be wary of, it’s in the format they’re choosing to film the novel, which is splitting the story into two films. Where An Unexpected Journey will end may affect the overall feel of the film, but regardless, it’s nearly impossible to see it fail.
Wild Card Prequel: Prometheus
Why it could succeed: This is Ridley Scott returning to the universe of film that really put him out there in Alien. Now, this isn’t an exact prequel to Alien, but it is set prior to those events in the same universe. This time around, it centers around the origins of the “Space Jockey.” The film also boasts a splendid and solid cast of actors including Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace and Guy Pearce.
Why it could fail: On the very same merit that it could succeed, it could very well fail. Despite the setting being in the same universe as Alien, and being an entirely new story, the teaser trailer released thus far carries many of the same imagery that Alien featured, so it may have some fans confused. There’s also the fact that Scott’s last two films haven’t been up to par both critically and financially.
Other 2012 Prequels: STAR WARS Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D
Most Anticipated Sequel: The Avengers
Why it could succeed: This is a film that’s taken five years to make ever since Marvel announced it’s strategy for it’s line of films involving The Avengers. Starting with 2008’s The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man to last year’s Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers is the culmination of all the work into one mega block buster of a film. The film is highlighted by an all-star cast, in both leading and supporting roles, including the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Evans just to name a few. The few teasers that have already come out look promising and still manage to keep a few things hidden away, whetting the appetites of movie-goers. All in all, this could be one of the most memorable film events in cinematic history.
Why it could fail: Joss Whedon really has his work cut out with all the movie stars in his film. It’s going to be a challenge telling a story that involves so many big name stars and balancing out the screen time given out to each and every name in this film. Not only that, but the writing for the film has to be solid to bring everything all together. The Avengers cannot just be a visual spectacle in terms of both action and effects. There has to be substance to it that doesn’t make the film feel shallow and vapid.
Wildcard Sequel: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Why it could succeed: If there was one thing that could have saved the original Ghost Rider, it would have been the action that is to be expected from a comic book film. Needless to say, that film was especially disappointing in that regard, but that does not appear to be the case at all with Spirit of Vengeance. With Brian Taylor and Mark Neveldine helming this sequel/reboot, the film looks exciting with a ton of great camera shots and angles for its action sequences. Nicholas Cage could be a great Ghost Rider for this film, and the addition of Idris Elba gives the film a little more credibility.
Why it could fail: Even with the directing duo of Brian and Mark, and the addition of Idris Elba, the writing could unravel it all. Yes, the film may be visually exciting and amazing, but there still needs to be an interesting story that needs to be told to make it all work. When it comes down to it, this needs to be on the level of what Marvel did with its Avengers line of films, and so it’ll be important that other studios follow suit with the film rights of Marvel properties they still hold.
2012 Sequels: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Wrath of the Titans, American Reunion, Scary Movie 5, The Avengers, MIB 3, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Dark Knight Rises, Step Up 4, The Expendables 2, Resident Evil 5, Taken 2, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, Paranormal Activity 4, Halloween 3D, Skyfall, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2