Memo To Hollywood: Rip-Off, Don't RemakeS

With news of another CJ7 and Masi Oka's new Defenders coming on the heels of the (relative) failure of Terminator Salvation and (complete) failure of Land Of The Lost, we're left wondering: Are stealth reboots are the way to go?

Maybe we're jumping to conclusions. After all, Star Trek shows that audiences clearly don't have a problem with every franchise makeover that offers itself to them on a CGI-laden, lens-flared platter.

But we couldn't help but notice that Masi Oka's new project about videogamers who end up saving the world after it turns out that the game is more than just a game is oddly reminiscent of 1984 movie The Last Starfighter (in which a video-gamer saves the universe after it turns out that the game is more than just a game) in the same way that Stephen Chow's cute alien movie is "reminiscent" of ET (Oh, wait; he admitted that that was a rip-off). While it's arguably true that there are no new stories anymore, the similarities between these "new" movies and the 1980s originals have gotten us wondering whether ripping off cult favorites is the way forward for Hollywood's nostalgia-struck executives.

Think about it: With all the sequels, remakes and adaptations of much-beloved comics and television shows that make up the summer blockbuster slate these days, it'd be too much to ask for some genuine originality from anyone other than the animators - and, worse, we could end up with something worse than G-Force if they tried - but remaking movies with the serial numbers filed off gives moviemakers the chance to indulge their desire to relive their childhoods without risking the wrath of fans of the same childhood shows, movies and comics they want to revisit. Sure, you lose the brand recognition, but that's a double-edged sword these days: Who's to say that Terminator Salvation wouldn't have been more successful if it hadn't had the weight of the first two movies on its celluloid shoulders?

I'm not suggesting that we wish for a world where everything is Transmorphers instead of Transformers, but I can't help but wonder whether Defenders and CJ7 point to a new middle ground that would allow everyone to keep their sacred cows idealized in memory yet relive them in new forms, unencumbered by expectation, preconception and nostalgia. Put it this way: You don't want to watch a new Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie without Joss Whedon, but would you be that against a new movie about a teenage girl fighting monsters if she had a different name?