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SALT LAKE CITY — The movie reboot is one of the great mysteries of the film industry.
Audiences demand Hollywood stop updating beloved material. Hollywood openly ignores the concerns of paying customers, and somehow reboots consistently generate billion dollar returns for studios.
While I can't explain the obvious disconnects in this proven formula, I can tell you I'm not as antagonistic toward Hollywood remakes as some fans. I mean, not every remake ends up with Johnny Depp in a chocolate factory. Occasionally, we even get a "True Grit" from the process.
So as we stare into a summer of Ghostbusters and Jungle Books, let's talk about a few properties that might just benefit from higher budgets, some gratuitous computer animation and an updated concept.
Here are five films that might benefit from a remake:
I was 8 years old when Disney ran its final theatrical release of "The Song of the South" back in 1986. From what I remember, the movie consisted of long and painfully boring live-action sequences, which occasionally crossed over into bright and colorful animated short stories that made me smile.
Most modern-day commentary available on the movie suggests my 8-year-old self didn't pick up on some obvious and racially insensitive material, so I imagine that's the first thing the remake would need to address. However, if there's a way for the Mouse House to celebrate the stories collected by Joel Chandler Harris while also capturing the fun of Disneyland's Splash Mountain attraction, well, I'd love to see it.
"Monster Squad" was kind of like "The Goonies" meets "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein." For a smaller 1987 film, it did the job, and there's even a fan base today still happy to revisit the movie on especially nostalgic evenings.
To be honest, I'm not dying to see the property get remade; however, rumors continue to persist concerning Universal modernizing its monster library. There is even talk of Universal copying the Marvel Cinematic Universe by creating a string of movies that all crossover in some way.
If those rumors are to be believed, or if Universal is just looking for a fun way to electrify new life into its classic characters, well, why not bring them all together again in a modernization of "The Monster Squad?"
As a general rule, I'd say leave Buster Keaton's material alone. Not only did he get his movies right the first time, but I can't think of an actor capable of giving his signature, expressionless stare the respect it deserves — though a small part of me would love to see Robert Downey Jr. play both Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in his lifetime.
That said, "The General" is one of the few silent movies that plays on regular rotation at my house, and every time I sit down to watch it, I can't help but imagine what the Civil War comedy would look like with a proper, summer blockbuster makeover.
Sure you'd need to change Keaton's character from Johnny Gray to Johnny Blue, but after that detail was sorted out, imagine how much fun a period high-speed train chase could be with today's technology.
"Sneakers" is still a late night favorite of mine. Even if Hollywood did pull off a successful reboot, I imagine the classic 1992 movie would remain my go-to ensemble heist movie.
But like any movie dealing with technology, there's always room for some upgrades. I'd love to hear Mother's latest conspiracy theories, and an updated point of contention for Marty and Cosmo could be great fun as well.
One item I'd never quite get over, however, would be the soundtrack. James Horner's "Sneakers" music is absolutely brilliant, and with the composer's tragic passing in 2015, there would be no way to recapture the magic from the original.
Still, I'd pay to see an updated "Sneakers." In fact, I'm totally game for a direct sequel.
For the record, listing "Age of Ultron" here isn't a knock on the very successful 2015 Avengers sequel. Like many fans, I wish they'd done a few things differently, but as far as the cinematic universe goes, it worked as a standalone movie while also offering more content for the ever expanding cinematic universe.
The reason "Ultron" is listed here is simply because I'd like to see a true adaptation of the 10 issue comic series — or at least something a lot closer to the time traveling, post-apocalyptic setup from the original material.
This is of course a total dream since many of the characters, including Wolverine, are owned by other studios, and Marvel has made it clear they're not interested in going too dark with their films. But while we're discussing remakes I'd like to see, why not drop a pie-in-the-sky project in the mix. Someday the world will be ready for Hammerhead, She-Hulk and Morgan le Fay.