Monday, November 22, 2010

"Buffy" to join the reboot ranks

We're now approximately a little over a year and a half away from me being proven right about the wisdom behind "Spiderlight" (though it'll be an additional 2 to 5 years before many/most are willing to admit it...) and the "reboot" mini-trend is still ramping up. Next on the docket: Warner Bros. today announces that they're going ahead with a new "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" movie.

Without Joss Whedon involved. At all.

For those not "up" on how this all works behind the scenes, Whedon doesn't actually "own" Buffy. He wrote the original screenplay that was turned into a sort-of-okay movie back in 1992, but wasn't a fan of how it ended up. When given the opportunity to expand his concept into a TV series, he went for it and the rest is recent-history.Warners has been talking about doing another movie seperate from the show for years now, but apparently a "reimagining" pitch by a completely-unknown screenwriter named Whit Anderson, who thus far has offered up little solid information about the project other than the profession of being a "big fan" of the show and the now-mandatory namedropping of "Batman Begins" as a kind of preemptive defense of the reboot concept.

All in all, some really, really depressing news.

The story behind the story, of course, is that Warner Bros. is clearly still looking for a new stable cash-cow franchise. They've been able to rely on "Harry Potter" for a yearly garaunteed mega-hit for almost a decade now, and with that ship about to sail they've been scrambling for replacements. Hence, the sudden rush to get a Marvel Studios-style "machine" in place for the DC properties and now this.


Dave said...

Gee, how did I know you were going to try to turn news about buffy into "they changed spider-man now its GAY!!!!"

Tell me something...when you engage in such obvious and dishonest attempts at manipulating people..does a part of you die inside? Because I can't imagine how it couldn't.

What makes this horrible news (and why the spiderman reboot is not) is the creator of the franchise is essentially being frozen out by people who screwed him over on the first movie. It's even worse considering that the true buffy timeline is STILL GOING ON. Season 8 is just ending and they are already setting up foo season 9.

In this case the twilight comparison is also apt because back in 2009 when they first announced this, the head of vertigo explicitly mentions that twilight made vampires "relevant again"

Scott Glasgow said...

@ Dave

just curious, which buffy series is still going on? because I was under the impression that that boat sailed a long ass time ago?

and while I'm not going to defend Bob (seriously, man, I thought of all people YOU'D be against audience subversion, but you've been proving me wrong lately)
he does have a point about the 'reboot' thing, it used to be hot topics or genres that fueled the Hollywood machine, i.e. buddy cop, slasher, Japanese horror, but with the even the 'remake' pool running low the rebooting franchises is lame sauce,
the whole point of doing a remake anyway is to improve the previous 'attempt' in some way, or at least look at the core concept from a different angle, usually with a more complex eye. i.e. Mary Shelley's Frankenstien, Scarface, Phantom of the Opera
but this doesn't seem to be happening anymore, just Hollywood cashing in on a known property
This Buffy remake is sad news though, especially more so for Joss. If the Hollywood hounds are so worried about fanbase and media stink, they'll probably cancel this like the Tim Burton Superman movie, and suffer the loss. But the fact that they've been shitting on Joss for this is sad and pathetic.

Daniel said...

Whenever a long running or successful franchise is placed in the hands of a new or different director or writer or artis- you get the idea, they always assure everyone that they have always been a huge fan. Sadly fans are maybe the worse people to put in charge when reimagining something since they are convinced that the franchise is exactly the way it should be flaws and all. This way the reimagining doesn't build upon the original and doesn't rectify any flaws it might have had, instead it just wallows in the source material.

In any case, this is obviously depressing.

Dave said...

@ Scott. The comics continue both buffy and angel form where they left off. It's not directly on tv but the buffy canon has not stopped. They are still making new issues.

And as bob himself has shown, remaking movies is old hat. many movies considered classics are in fact, remakes of previous films. The maltese falcon, the 10 commandments etc.

While there have been a swath of reboots recently, most of them were needed. Batman, bond, spiderman and star trek had all become bloated, superficial, critically panned, self indulgeant wrecks that had none of the spirit and charm their franchises are supposed to have.

Batman and bond has excellent reboots. As did BSG. Star trek I was not remotely fond of, but something had to be done after nemesis.

The thing is, people never bitch about the reboots they LIKE. Bob can claim TOO SOON with spiderman all he wants but we all know damn well that if Fox were to reboot tranformers despite its commercial success and place say...zack snyder at the helm, he'd be all over it.

And to be fair, there are plenty of properties that could use a reboot. Hitchhikers guide,GI joe, XMEN, his dark materials, resident evil, godzilla could use one....and probably still will once the new movie inevitably fails to get what the franchise was about.

Though I'd trade all of them for someone to option the movie rights to leviathan or animorphs. Or exosquad.

Scott Glasgow said...

@ Dave

Yessssss! Animorphs, I was such a fan of those books growing up, and while the TV show was never good, it will still hold a place in my heart.

And as fans of cinema, we all have biases against certain genres, directors and producters (Micheal Bay + TNMT = Ass, but will probably make more money than the last animated movie)

Back to Animorphs though, It would be great to get this series on the big screen, but WAY too easy to over produce. Like Transformers, it could way too easily become an opportunity to aim a film at as many targets as possible, though, I'd go as far as to say that was what Transformers was even before Bay castrated it. Never was a fan of that stuff, upon closer inspection, TNMT is very similar to Transformers that way, created for no other reason but to sell itself.

If they followed the route that Harry Potter did, respecting the franchise and immersing itself in the world the stories created, it would be the next big thing for the youth of today.

Dave said...

@ scott

I can't really comment on tmnt. Hard to ruin something I always thought was stupid. Though in all honesty with the exception of transformers 1, Bay's films have always been entertaining. Though I always felt he should have gotten GI joe, where his explosion fetish and borderline self parody hyper jingoism could have made the most most meta film in history. Summers should have gotten transformers. He shoved enough robots into gijoe.

Animorphs IS getting a relaunch. Essentially scholastic is reselling the books with updated pop culture references, since the biggest flaw in the series (which is astoundingly adult at times. I just reread the time travel one, where they have a discussion as to the relative morality of killing a pre holocaust hitler) was how bloody 90s the dialogue is.

So I assume Rachel's nickname will be buffy instead of xena, and jeremy jason mccole will now be a thinly veiled take that to rob pattinson instea dof Jonatham Taylor Thomas. Presumably joe bob fenestre will no longer be an amalgam of Bill gates and the founder of AOL, but of Steve Jobs.

There is talk of doing a movie series. The marketing writes itself: It's harry potter meets avatar!

And yes, we do all have our biases. but its important to not be ruled by them. Hence why my attitude towards "Webb of spiderman" is one of cautious optimism. I WANT it to be good, but am still well aware of the many, many things that could go wrong.

Bob WANTS it to be bad. Let's not act like we all don't know he's got the majority of his review already written at this point. If the movie legitimately is bad, he'll gloat about how he told us so, and if it's good, he'll still act like its bad but call people sheep for liking it, probably throww out some ad hominems about how we are all homophobic or secret racists or whatever his attack du jour is in 2012.

Bob said...

"The thing is, people never bitch about the reboots they LIKE."

I've accepted that this is an exercise in futility at this point, but what the hell...

Yes, Dave, generally speaking people "bitch" about things they don't like and don't "bitch" about things they do.

I've never said I'm anti-reboot, remake or whatever else. I'm against bad films, production decisions that are very likely to RESULT in bad films, and particularly bad films being made from stuff I LIKE and would like to see become good films.

The ONE difference between the Spider-Man reboot and this Buffy reboot, conceptually, is that Sam Raimi didn't "invent" the title character. Other than that, it's the same basic setup: The filmmaker largely responsible for almost every GOOD decision in a popular franchise is being kicked-off by the people responsible for almost every BAD decision in said franchise for short-term, purely financial motives.

Dave said...

@ Bob

Ahh so you CAN read my posts. And here I thought you could only see the spelling errors.

"I've never said I'm anti-reboot, remake or whatever else."

Don't really recall saying different. What I have maintained is your criteria for determining what will be a bad movie is arbitrary at best.

You used to go on about how it was too soon...but of course the Bond films rebooted even faster and Casino Royale was a resounding success.

Your questioning of the 'motives' is also extremely spurious. Spiderman 3 cost a quarter billion dollars to make. Avatar was cheaper.

And you know, I doubt very much that it was the suits that forced Raimi to take the humour out of spider man. Or to have the same basic plot structure in all 3 films. Or to horribly miscast the lead romantic couple. or to go with organic web shooters that make no sense. Or to add magic butlers and flying skateboards and secret weapons caches that make no sense and the bullshit "sandman isn't really evil because he has a sick daughter whose subplot will never be resolved". For all the crimes they visited on our lord and savior sam raimi...he still took it. He still put his name on the project and he still took vast swaths of money to make it and he still procrastinated in adding venom even though he knew since number 2 came out that they were going to put him in the third film. And even after all that, he WAS STILL GOING TO MAKE A FOURTH.

He is responsible for plenty of the flaws of the films. And even if he were the untarnished virgin flower you try to paint him as, it still has no bearing on the new cast and crew. Who to date have proven to be with no major exceptions I can think of, extremely competent, if somewhat untested filmmakers.

You can bitch about Raimi all you want, but the circumstances of his departure have NO bearing whatsoever on the quality of the new film. The fact that you keep going back to this just underscores my point. You don't care about the quality of the film. Big bad Sony hurt something you cared about and you want everyone to hate them for it.

Skepticism is fine. Despite my love of Joss whedon I have almost no confidence in avengers being a good film. If you want I can outline why but that's not important. But I would LOVE to be wrong.

You don't just want to be right, you want everyone to know you were right before hand and were oh so clever for it.

And while we are on the subject of futility, I'm still waiting for that evidence for the twilight connection. Or really any response to the points I raised way back when. Apparently you found the time to correct my spelling, but not to actually address any of my points.

bee.z.ness said...

Don't know why their bothering to find a new franchise to replace Harry Potter, why not just reboot 'The Philosophers Stone' as a 'edgier, more modern' version, written by someone who once did cover work for J.K. Rowling. Makes about as much sense as rebooting Buffy.

Bob said...

"but the circumstances of his departure have NO bearing whatsoever on the quality of the new film."

Except that the circumstances most-certainly DO have bearing on the potential quality of the new film. Some of the most important "groundwork" in pre-production of any film - particularly "genre" film - involves the mindset of the people setting out to make and/or the overriding rationale behind their decision.

I'd be MUCH less-inclined toward overt skepticism of this project if not for how it came to be. The TIMELINE here is incredibly important, starting with Sony and the producers forcing Raimi to shove Venom into his already-set narrative for #3 - the first fatal bad decision on that film from which almost all of the others would grow out of. It isn't even debatable that this happened - Raimi spent 2 movies repeatedly insisting that he had no interest in Venom, and the producers in question on the DVD commentary for #3 (Raimi didn't participate) essentially come right out and say they had to make him do it because Venom is more marketable (which, to be fair, is true: Venom has NEVER carried a book or been interesting outside of his origin story, but he moves a CRAPLOAD of t-shirts.)

After #3 was panned and publically derrided by most involved - but still made a fortune - they got Raimi back onboard to do a fourth film on the terms that he'd be allowed full control again to finish his story the way he wanted to.

The producers... did NOT make good on their end of those terms: They pushed him to do it in 3D, complained about his using another wacky golden-age villain (Vulture) they didn't think was "cool" enough and insisted on finding a way to get Black Cat into the story even though they'd just DONE the "other-woman" story in the last one. As a final indignity, the hired a new writer (James Vanderbilt) to "polish" the script the Raimi bros. and their collaborators had already written and - apparently - to set up follow-up sequels. Soon after, rumors of the project stopping production because of "creative differences" started to hit, and then much more SUBSTANTIAL Raimi and the main cast had gotten fed up and walked.

Finally, Raimi confirmed it publically, mainly citing inability to finish 3D shooting in time for the release date... and then, essentially in the same "moment," Sony press-released the reboot plans: Big surprise, Vanderbilt's mystery "follow-up" script WAS The Reboot, all written and ready to go. Translation: They'd decided on this awhile ago and torpedo'd the 4th film (AFTER tying-up Raimi etc. for about a year) in order to get it going.

Then you look at the setup of what they're going for: Cheaper cast, cheaper script, younger actors for tween-appeal, director with zero clout and no tentpole experience who won't be doing as much backtalk, etc... if you know the first thing about film production, it's not hard to see that NONE of these calls are being made with an eye toward anything other than making sure Spider-Man remains a net-profit Sony-owned product - because make no mistake, if the rights revert back to Marvel and they make a BA-ZILLION dollars off of "Avengers 2: Enter Spider-Man" or whatever, whoever at Sony is the "let it get away" fall-guy will be UNEMPLOYABLE in Hollywood. Hell, I'll give you an even SIMPLER metric: If the people now fully in-charge of the Spider-Man movies cared about making GOOD Spider-Man movies, they wouldn't have forced Venom into the 3rd one in the first place.

KevinCV said...

Bob, I swear to God, you are my hero. Well, one of them, anyway. You've basically said all I wanted to say to Dave and MORE regarding that "Spider-Man" reboot. I especially liked the little sum-up at the end. That's exactly how I feel. Thank you for saving me the time and effort.

However, let me also add that the producers used that age-old pretense of "It's what the fans want" to try to justify Venom's presence in the film when they were promoting "Spider-Man 3" at SDCC way back when. I've recently taken that at as buzzwords that the producers are putting things in the movie that the director didn't want in there in the first place.

Sophie said...

ok...quick thoughts here as I got to run to class... but a) not news, heard that before. There have been buffy movie talks for ages, most of them already freezing out Joss Whedon.. however personally I thought " please".
B) Someone should really check the response from the people making the comics, how they will deal with that
C)... yeah, sorry, moviebob...but even though the news is really really sad it is not about Spiderlight ...not this time.

Jonnyp555 said...

It's not so much the reboot I'm bothered about. Buffy is too popular and far too recent for anyone to risk fucking it up.

My worry is the period it may get released in. It'll either get mixed up in all this vampire crap that's going on and feel pressured to Twilight it up a bit or it'll come out when everyone finally gets sick of the vampire trend and it will be ignored.

Sadly, my money's on the former. The Buffy/Angel love story is pure Twi-hard gold.

Popcorn Dave said...

Piss off, Bob. EVERYONE else - sceptical or not - has said they'll judge the new Spider-Man when they see it. YOU'RE the one who refuses to admit he might be wrong, and you're the one who'll be lying through his teeth if the film turns out to be good, because you committed yourself to a negative review before the film even went into production.

Your statement that no-one will admit you were right until years later is an obvious attempt to cover your ass in case the film is good and you end up being the only guy who gives it a negative review. "Yeah, you just wait five years and see how well this holds up!", the last refuge of the naysayer who got proven wrong.

You don't need to tell us about the "bad signs" again. Bad signs don't automatically make the film bad - talented people can still make good films under bad conditions - and besides, most of the worst signs are just fan speculation (like "it's going to be like Twilight!") that you keep repeating in the hope they'll catch on. Even good news, like the much better casting, is turned into a disaster because you only see what you want to see. It's pretty easy to find bad news if you look for it.

Don't get me wrong now... I'm quite sceptical about this reboot as well, I would have liked to see Raimi's Spider-Man 4, and yeah, it would be just desserts for the fatcats if this flopped, but your posts have gone way beyond that. It's pretty obvious you want this to fail so you can get hipster points for predicting it.

@Johnny: I agree, it's an obvious cash-in on the Twilight craze, I hope they don't "sparkle it up" too much. ;)

Dave said...

@ Bob. Yes, believe it or not I had heard that stuff the 1st through 78th times you brought it up as though it was even slightly relevant.

I don't give a damn about the circumstances surrounding Raimi's departure. I'm just glad we have a chance to get a great spider-man film now.

Your continued obsession with Raimi's leaving just underscores my point. This has nothing to do with the overall quality of the film. They sacked the guy you like and you want to make them pay. You yourself in this very conversation invoke a separation between the film makers and the studio by giving raimi credit for every good idea. If a competent director is all it takes in your eyes to overcome bad ideas from the suits, as is kindof your operating thesis here, then what company is behind it shouldn't matter all that much as long as they've got a competent cast and crew...which they've been assembling to your obvious chagrin. They are even starting out with one of those wacky goldenage villains and are looking to be truer to the comics than ever before. If I recall, your reaction to this news was furious incoherence.

And I repeat, for all your talk of raimi's complete innocence, he put his name on the films. And would have done a 4th. He could have alan smithee'd it, he could have warned people not to go spend money on a subpar product with his name on it. He chose not to. He'd rather sit back and collect his money. From where I sit, he's as guilty as they are.

And I don't care that sony wants to make money. Welcome to every society on the face of the planet. I don't care that they want to keep the rights. Pretty much everyone with a money making property does. I don't care that they want to do it cheaper. Raimi pissed away over half a billion dollars on the 3 movies and where did it go? Vastly cheaper movies have had much more impressive special effects. And better casts and scripts. a quarter billion dollars on one movie that still manages to look as cheap as spiderman 3 tells you something is wrong with the people MAKING it.

I also don't care that they have younger actors. Its an origin story. Casting 30 year old looking actors to play high school students ALWAYS looks stupid. I also don't care if tweens happen to like it. Because I'm not so self absorbed that I want to limit who can enjoy my hobbies and pass-times. If some girls get turned onto spiderman because they happen to find Garfield hot then who the hell cares? Hell, I first started Buffy because of michelle trachtenberg.

I also don't care that much of the crew is largely untested. Actually I do. GOOD. Let's give up and comers a chance to do something special. Let's try to find the next Neil Blomkamp or Peter Jackson. Hollywood is filled with Brett ratners and McG's who could have a popular franchise farmed out to them the throw out a mcsequel, if that's what sony wanted. Someone there chose to take a chance on a crew that had a vision. It might pay off. It might not. One of the differences between you and me is that I want it to.

Literally every point you've made has no bearing on whether the movie will be good. Merely on why we should not want it to be good.

If it's good then you won't get spider-man in the avengers! If it's good you might have to deal with GIRLS!!! If it's good then the terrorists WIN!

Me? I just care about a good movie. As i said before, I've no confidence in the avengers movie. But would LOVE to be proven wrong.

Still waiting on that twilight response, BTW. That coming anytime soon?

@ everyone

My verification word is whormat. Finally an anti spam device that entertains.

Silens Cursor said...

To address the new Spider-Man film that seems to come up in the comments every single time, both have a point here, and I can see this from both perspectives, so let's try to dispense with the growing insult-fest and break this down into rational terms.

@Dave - Bob's skepticism that the Spider-Man movie is going to be worth a damn is based upon some pretty monumental douchebaggery in the case of Sony, and what appears from our standpoint as a desperate cling to the Spider-Man rights before Marvel finally gets the chance to snatch them back. He's uneasy about the new 'teen-focus' (although I will cite Bob himself in suggesting that comic books and said literature should be geared towards the younger generations in order to keep the genre fresh and accessible), and he's uneasy about the untried crew, director, and the lack of real innovation in the casting.

In short, to him, this feels like a Sony cash-in and a betrayal of the Spider-Man film legacy that Raimi began, the 'true-to-the-comics' feeling that made those movies pretty damn good. And this is a valid point. But, it's not the only point in this case.

@Bob - in all due fairness, while everything about this might scream bad news to you (and to me as well, not going to lie), and while there is still massive potential for this to be a disaster, there's also potential for this film to be good as well. We haven't seen the script yet, we haven't seen a trailer yet, we don't even have definite proof who the villains or 'the girl' even is. Hell, maybe the new director might have the same reverence for comics as Raimi did and blow all our minds by pulling off the death of Gwen Stacy. We know MJ's not the love interest, so it's a definite possibility.

Case in point, Sony already knows they have a hell of a row to hoe if they want to sell this to the fans, they aren't THAT stupid to piss in all our faces. In short, by the way they've been behaving, they DON'T have the same confidence you yourself spoke about in your Deathly Hallows review.

So yeah, this could be terrible, but it could be really good. This could be 'Spider-light' - or it could be a fantastic origins story with some solid actors and a good script. Case in point: WE DON'T KNOW. It's pointless to argue this over and over again until we have more information. A trailer, a poster, some spoilers, SOMETHING that might put people's fears to rest.

Buffy, on the other hand, looks a different story. The series is still going on, and frankly, I'm more than a little concerned Whedon's not involved, considering his presence was one of the trademarks of the show. But as it is, while my gut might be screaming this is a bad feeling, I want to see more first.

Sara said...

So, I first heard about some of this last year when the Kuzui's, the directors and executive producers of the original film, began optioning the film to different studios, however, here's the rub with what I've been hearing of late. It's a Warner Brothers film. Anyone realize what major league wrong with that?

In case you don't take heed of these things, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is, and always will be, barring a failure to renew the copyright, a Twentieth Century Fox owned property. Both Paramount and Warner Brothers were attached only as hosts for the series during its original airing, however, Fox still owns complete rights to any film based on the property, no matter if it's for the silver screen or the television one.

Moving past the fact that it's a bad idea anyway, Whedon does have excellent material in the form of Season 8, the comic series if an idea for a revival was even thought of at this point. If you haven't looked at it...any writer who openly smashes Twilight in such a way generally gets my seal of approval (so, yeah, Season 8's Big Bad being called Twilight and all the similarities attached...really funny).

Moving on though, there's really not that much you can do with the character at this point. Not enoughs changed in the world to really allow for it. Season 8 continues the series, sure, but outside of doing that, Buffy isn't in need of a reboot yet. Then again, neither is Spider-Man. Beside the point, I know, but still needs to be said.

If Warner Brothers really wants a new story to tell, something that can give them an annual hit, ala Harry Potter or the Marvel Universe films...they have it. They've had it for a long time. The DC Universe. If Green Lantern does well at all, and the rebooted Superman, too, I have a feeling they won't even need to be looking at things they don't own to work on.

Oh well, only time will tell what we'll see with all honesty, I hope it crashes and burns. I adored the series, and was one of the few that could look at the film and say, well, it's really not that bad, campy as hell, but that was the point.

No offense to Whit Anderson, but let's face it, without Whedon's support on this in some form or another, this isn't going to be Buffy. She may be called Buffy, she may be a former cheerleader turned vampire hunter, she may have a watcher (but hey, so did the later Highlander pieces and we all know how well they turned out), but she, and the project in general, will not be Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Jonathan said...

Now that dave has made this thread about twi-hrt-man, what is all this fuss over mechical web shooters?

CrunchyEmpanada said...

Man, and here I am actually agreeing with Bob on something. That hardly ever happens!

Although I do agree he brings it up too much, but hey, he brings EVERYTHING up too much. My head's still spinning from hearing Bob talk about the Expendables twenty times a day.

But the circumstances of a franchise's previous destruction and the apparent reasons and situations in which it's picked back up again do have a significant impact on the potential quality a reboot might have. Bob is correct in this. Looking at it from this angle, all signs point to a shitty film.

But, I'll agree that he's being too pessimistic. Oh, there's a major shock there, Bob being pessimistic! The casting and direction seems to be going well, better than the situations would have predicted. This happens every now and then, but then it starts to become a toss-up over if it'll be good or not.

Man, I also hate having to say that both sides have a point. I don't like being the middle of two opinions.

Smashmatt202 said...

That kind of sucks... No Joss Whedon? Not interested...