The Last Starfighter

Top 10 Movies in Need of Reboots

Movies are all about the reboots now. Only, it seems, that the ones deserving them never get picked up. Instead, production companies opt for classics or movies NO ONE WAS ASKING FOR A SECOND TIME (I’m looking at you Point Break.)  In fact, some of the reboots have been so unsuccessful, they’ve killed any chances of the re-ignition of the franchise as a whole (The Great and Powerful Oz would have been much better with Robert Downey, Jr.). So here are 10 movies that either had great potential they never reached or have been shoved back into the vault, collecting dust. Just so you know, this is all strictly opinion and not any insider Hollywood news.

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10. The Last Starfighter

This movie was a gem among 80’s sci-fi flicks, coming in under the radar and never quite living up to the E.T. or Tron hype. However, the kids that did find it, loved it.  Now, with myself, I didn’t see the film until my twenties (we all have those films that slip through our fingers) and I enjoyed it. But I wasn’t fully saturated in the movie magic it had because I didn’t have (what I call) the nostalgia glasses on to forgive the lackluster CGI and poor practical effects. Set in modern time with all the advances in both computer graphics and the gaming industry, a remake could make this movie valuable for more generations. The only trouble would be not to lose the heart of the original.

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9. Mortal Kombat

Yes, I’m completely aware that this was turned into a web series starring Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan. That series makes me want a full-length film again. It was my favorite video game growing up and the movies hold a special place in my heart. Not because they were good by any means. No, no, no. But because they were so bad they were good. You plan this one out to be a series, trilogy, whatever. You have whole chunks dedicated to certain characters. There’s very little reason to have them all meet up beforehand and become besties. You start the tournament in the first film, having the villains change from Shang Tsung to Shao Khan to Shinnok. Lastly, the movies have to be rated R. You have to show some violence. You just have to.

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8. Masters of the Universe

Ever wonder why Courtney Cox was such a huge part of that movie? Yeah, me too.  It’s a tongue-in-cheek film of a tongue-in-cheek cartoon but missed the mark on being as loved as the source material. While Dolf Lundgren did his part well, he could not save the rest of the film from just looking silly. Now take our current and glorious movie scene and apply that to Masters of the Universe. All of a sudden you have big, hulking actors with the talent to show heart without cheese, special effects placing you directly in Skeletor’s palace, and no more Courtney Cox.

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7. Super Mario Bros.

The original is so bad. Just awful. But it had a few things that would be worth keeping and translating over. Instead of the weirdest Toad ever and this visually awkward dystopian Mushroom Kingdom, we should get the bright colors and the insane adventures with as many nods to the games as possible. Make it live action. Make it CG animation. I don’t care. The fact that the original film was able to convey a fun believable brotherly relationship between the main characters means there’s enough of a story there to do this right. If you want to hear us fancast our Super Mario films, you can listen to our podcast here.

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6. Land Before Time

I am well aware that this series has been producing a straight-to-DVD film every year (seriously, one was made this year), but the original remains a classic in our hearts. That is, until you watch it as an adult. The run time is only 61 minutes, yet the time drags on. Each character could use a little more adventure in order to grow more as individuals and friends. Updating it with a more exciting journey to the Great Valley and more detailed animation will ensure that this movie stays out of the $5 Wal-Mart bin.

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5. The Last Airbender

This one is fairly important to me because of what the original series means to its fans. It’s fantastical world set in an alternate Earth where more than half of the population can wield the power of the elements. One person, the Avatar, is capable of wielding all four elements and it’s that person who must keep the world balanced. The film was released in 2011 and was absolutely abysmal. Unnecessary changes were made to things as innocuous as the characters’ names and the martial arts heavy story was forgotten. This movie needs an update badly, but instead of another attempt at the big screen, this would be better suited to a live action series very similar to Game of Thrones.

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4. Witches of Eastwick

I love magic, but I’m an adult and I love grown up magic too.  This 80’s flick was a potential Halloween staple that just fell a little bit short. Now, it’s a forgotten favorite of mine that could use some dusting off and updates.  The premise of three struggling women falling simultaneously in love with the Devil himself doesn’t seem like it could have a lot of potential, but the four of them lived in a mutually beneficial quad-relationship that was healthy…until you know, the Devil is the Devil. This film could be a dark and sexy comedy with incredible special effects and a talented cast cherry picked from the incredible actors of today.

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3. Clue

What is an unbelievably good film, Clue has received cult status over the years, praised for its comedic timing and brilliant cast. That’s not why it should be updated. The fascinating thing about the Clue board game is its ability to create new story lines each time you play. Update the timeline (maybe try the 70’s this time or even place it earlier, like the 1910’s), update the weapons, change the casts. A reboot as well as the original can coexist without one hurting the other. If the reboot were to distance itself from the beginning and have the story play out differently, then comparisons would be few and far between.

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2. Spawn

Please bring back Spawn! Please! It’s an example of a movie that was so good but under appreciated. Spawn told the story of a man who was killed and sold his soul for new life. He came back scarred, but powerful, and fought his way through numerous demons just to protect his widow. Hollywood’s capabilities are almost immeasurable now. They can bring back Michael Jai White as the titular character or cast my personal favorite Idris Elba.  The best way to handle this one is to acknowledge the first one, much like Incredible Hulk did with Hulk, and continue the story. What is the demon fighter up to now? I know I’m curious.

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1. The Crow  

I know this one isn’t fair and could catch me a lot of hate. But it has to be done. Brandon Lee did a great job as The Crow during the 90’s, and his on-screen (and real life) death is beyond tragic, but the story is one that is so powerful that it should continue. And I don’t mean with The Crow 5: Demon Destiny or whatever the hell they’ve been working on. No, start fresh. Adapt the James O’Barr comic once again and pay some small homage to the first one without disrespecting all the little goth kids (who are now big goth grown ups).

What do you think of my list? Do you have any reboots in mind? Do you think we’ve had too many reboots and should focus on new content?

Comment below!

Top 10 Movies in Need of Reboots

Movies that Deserve a Sequel: The Last Starfighter

Over the last few years we’ve suffered through a long slog of reboots and sequels to films I used to think were untouchable. Ignoring the whole superhero reboot problem, a number of franchises have been rebooted or remade, and most have been unfortunate. Take a look at this motley crew of films:

Please stop making bad reboots. Please?

A Nightmare on Elm Street – 2010
Clash of the Titans – 2010
The Karate Kid – 2010
Tron: Legacy – 2010
Footloose – 2011
Conan the Barbarian – 2011
Fright Night – 2011
Red Dawn – 2012
Total Recall – 2012
Evil Dead – 2013
Carrie – 2013
Annie – 2014
RoboCop – 2014
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 2014
The Transporter Refueled – 2015
Terminator: Genisys – 2015
Poltergeist – 2015

Of that list, Fright Night was OK, Tron: Legacy was mediocre, and the rest of those films are pretty awful. Most beg the question of why they even needed to be remade in the first place. Most of the originals here have something that makes them classic, whether it be the Harryhousen Claymation in the original Clash of the Titans, or the perfect snapshot of Cold War paranoia in Red Dawn, or Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime.

To be fair, occasionally reboots/sequels do work. I am a huge fan of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was much better than it had any right to be. I actually enjoyed most of the new Godzilla film, which I realize puts me in the minority. The new Mad Max was a masterpiece. That said, the list of good remakes/reboots is pretty slim, and the bad films list is only going to grow in the near future. I have zero hope that the new Ghostbusters film(s) will be any good. Was anyone asking for a remake of Point Break? Though the following projects I’m about to mention have been cancelled, why was anyone even considering remaking Dirty Dancing, or Commando, or The Neverending Story (which may still happen)? Why?

All of this begs the question of what makes a good remake? A good remake requires a story that has a kernel of timelessness about it, but was itself not a great film. It needs to have a great premise that can actually be adapted to a modern setting. A great remake takes that kernel and updates the surrounding details while respecting the original idea and characters. The less established canon there is, the easier it will be to update the material. This is where The Last Starfighter comes in.

The Last Starfighter, released in 1984, follows Alex Rogan (played by Lance Guest), an average teenage boy from a small trailer park who is recruited by an alien defense force to fight for them after mastering an arcade game that doubles as a recruiting tool. It’s as much a coming of age story as it is a movie about space combat. The movie has great humor, real heart, and what were at the time groundbreaking special effects and CGI.

The Last Starfighter is a perfect candidate for an effective “rebootquel”. At the heart of the story is a relatable main character that feels isolated and trapped, who knows he was meant for more than his circumstances allow. He’s a gamer, and is, as far as we know, the only person to have mastered the skills of the game to be recruited. His skill is what allows him to be the hero the Star League needs to be their last hope.

“Greetings, Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada.”

“Greetings, Starfighter. You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the frontier against Xur and the Ko-Dan armada.”

With this as the kernel, there are so many places you can go and tell a compelling story updated for our time. Video game culture is on the rise, and gaming is nearly ubiquitous today. The idea of using a video game as a secret recruiting tool probably isn’t as novel as it once was, but can be effective if done right (and would be a great way to erase the blight that was Pixels from our minds). So many Young Adult films these days try to frame the coming of age drama in an apocalyptic setting, so this could be a fresh alternative that also appeals to a more family-friendly demographic.

Imagine having Alex take over the mantle of his recruiter, Centauri (played by the late Robert Preston). A new crisis has arisen, and after a series of military setbacks, the Star League needs recruits desperately. Despite Alex’s dramatic actions in the original film, the Star League still distrusts humans, so Alex sets out to prove them wrong. He uses the same approach of a space combat simulation game to find a couple of new pilots, and together they once again save the day. As a film we can explore the backstory of one or more of these new pilots, who, like Alex, gets to come of age and learn to have confidence in themselves through the film. Ideally, there’d be one focal protagonist, the main character who ties the film together the way Alex does in the first film, while also leaving plenty of room for a small cast of characters to shine together.  This also gives Alex the chance to play the Obi-Wan role Centauri fills so well in the original.

There’s a lot of room in this space to keep main plot serious while preserving the light-hearted comedy caused in the generational gap between Alex and the new recruits, whether or not we explore again the learning androids that ‘replace’ characters once they leave.  You could also explore the forced pair interactions with all new aliens like the dynamic between Grig and Alex. We have so much room to introduce new characters and settings. We know almost nothing about who the Star League is, why they are at war, and can create/explore a universe full of new peoples and things, not to mention covering what Alex has been doing for the last 30 years. We get the opportunity for updated graphics for space combat, which people will be clamoring for with the new Star Wars films releasing immanently. In many ways, there’d be a great parallel there, since many argue that The Last Starfighter was one of the last movies to ride the Star Wars wave before that wave finally broke.

The Death Blossom manuever is still one of the coolest weapons ever used in film.

The Death Blossom manuever is still one of the coolest weapons ever used in film.

The Last Starfighter may be a cult classic, but it doesn’t have the following that many other classics have nor does it have a particularly vast canon of lore, meaning you can comment on elements from the first film in this one, but you can also write this film for a new audience without having to spend a lot of time explaining the original setting. In short, it’s got the right kernel for a timeless story, with plenty of room to adapt to a modern audience. This film deserves a “rebootquel”.

What are your thoughts? Got another idea for films that actual deserve to be remade? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Movies that Deserve a Sequel: The Last Starfighter