You Can’t Go Home Again …
Or can you?
My generation (I’m talking 30-mid 50s here) may not be the greatest generation, but at the moment, we’re writing the scripts, doing the directing, the acting etc etc. Sure, there’s an odd straggler and some precocious kids in the mix, but we are Bob’s economically relevant demographic (though we probably rank behind the tween Disney set) meaning prime time and movie night are, to a large extent, ours. And like every generation, we have kids and jobs and bills and and we’re tired and sometimes miss freedom and spontaneity and simplicty.
We find ourselves longing for the heady days of our youths.
We wax as our parents did before us, nostalgic.
Deny it all you want. I’ll wait.
Done? Good. Because we need to talk reboots. They’ve been all the rage the last few years and there’s a reason for it.
First, let’s differentiate the reboot from the remake. A remake is a copy, usually inferior, of the source material. It may have a few new elements thrown in for spice (Dune mini-series? Spice? Did you see –) at its core, lacking in imagination or originality. You are likely to walk out shaking your head and mumbling about how it wasn’t worth the $14 an hour you’re paying the babysitter. A reboot is a new beginning. It starts at or borrows from source material, then goes off in its own direction, presenting something new, the guts of the original overlain by a new skeleton, new muscle, new skin. It probably dyes its hair and gets colored contacts.
A remakes can’t fulfill your craving for that which was because a remake can never be more than a ghost.
A reboot, though? A reboot does exactly that.
Star Trek. Hannibal. Robocop. X-Men. Fantastic Four.
We (again, with the generation) were too young for TOS, but we all watched it on reruns or *gasp* VHS. Beta max if you were really cool. We knew the characters from the time we could talk and we could quote on demand. Some of us may have run around Vulcan death gripping one another (wait, you didn’t do that?). We drooled over TNG because it was a Trek of our very own. And now that TNG is outdated and the shows made to vill the void were all pretty much crap? Viola. Reboot. Same roots, new story. Hipper, edgier, shinier. New faces, a new timeline. Our Trek. But more.
Did Silence of the Lambs terrify you? Because it scared the shit out of me. I was 13 in 1991 and I don’t believe I saw it in the theatre, but “fava beans and a nice chianti” was common parlance and I went to the video store and I got that fucker and I sat curled up against the back of the couch in a corner the whole time. Then came that ridiculous sequel garbage and, suddenly, Lecter was a farce and I was disappointed. One of the first villains of my childhood, reduced to a prat fall. The Ray Liotta brain eating scene left a hole in the bogeyman part of our psyches. Flash forward, 2013: enter the Chesapeake Ripper. Enter a pre-farce Hannibal Lecter. Hello, new nightmare. I missed you. And I’ll be hiding over here under the covers with a flashlight.
Robocop. Ah, Robocop. How many of you popped your sci-fi violence cherry on the toxic waste soaked villain being plowed into by a car and exploding? As many of us as popped out dick joke and vulgarity cherry on Coming to America and our geek cherry on Max Headroom, I’ll wager. But 1987 was a long, long time ago and though Peter Weller has gone on to a long distinguished career, we were left bereft. Because CGI is pretty and it can conjure up some pretty gross stuff. But there is nothing like that first jaw-dropping, heart pounding, sweaty palmed hindbrain moment of first ‘splosion. Whether it happens or not in the new version isn’t the important thing and, honestly, I sort of hope it doesn’t. The important thing? Sitting through a movie called Robocop which is connected, plot and image, to the original, will allow us to relive the squelchy explosion of our innocence.
Can we go home again? Not exactly. You can’t unsee TOS/TNG or Silence of the Lambs or Robocop or those horrible, horrible moves that were supposedly The Fantastic Four. None of us can unsee X-Men: Last Stand or Origins: Wolverine. No matter how hard we might wish for it. What we can recapture are the emotions we had upon first viewing the former group and another chance to find them in the later. Drop us off in the neighborhood and though our house may be gone, we can find something almost as good or, if we’re lucky something equal. Perhaps, though the chance is slight, we might find something better (you know Mads is creepier than Anthony ever was).
<posted by Shiri>