Sequels, Prequels, Remakes and Reboots. These days, nary a week goes by when we don’t see one of these hitting theaters. OK, fine. We understand: it’s familiar stories and familiar characters and familiar franchises that help guarantee the modest levels of financial success required for the ballooning budgets of Hollywood. However the disturbing trend of darkening and dirtying up these franchises in comparison to their predecessors (which became de rigueur in the late 2000’s with the release of The Dark Knight) has continued, and often to disastrous results. And while it’s not ALWAYS a bad idea, it’s becoming more and more evident we may be reaching the tipping point with our obsession with all things gritty. I thought perhaps that was the case when we got the recent Power Rangers fan film (courtesy of music video director Joseph Kahn), complete with headshots and a NSFW warning.
But then came the news that Hollywood has apparently run out of existing modern, nostalgia inducing properties to give the gritty treatment and turned its attention to the classics. Yes, like it or not, the CW is reportedly ready to give the world the gritty Little Women TV show we’ve all been clamoring for.
Fuck it, right? To hell with “why?” and on to “how fast can we get these MF’ers greenlit and sold to the highest bidder!” That, unfortunately, seems to be the case. We understand why and we know it’s likely product of some simple equation studios and [shudder]…content creators apply to ANY property that completes the decision making process for them. And hells bells, if they can do it, so can The Stake!
Here are five movies you had NO idea you needed to see given a gritty reboot…UNTIL NOW:
The Lion King
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Why a Gritty Reboot: Hey, Lions are hot… and with that, the live-action Disney remake trend continues. But who’s concerned with making movies for kids and nostalgic adults? Not us! If we’re gonna do this, then let’s do this right! Make this a revenge thriller, plain and simple. Instead of Scar as the villain we replace him with the real villain of Lion’s everywhere…OK, yeah legal will probably have a problem with making him a dentist, so we’ll say he’s just uh…uh…a businessman…it doesn’t matter this shit will write itself. Anyways we make it about Simba hunting down the poacher he killed his Dad, throw in some hot big cat on big cat love scenes for the Unrated Blu-Ray and some dope world music for the soundtrack and we’ll be rolling in cash. We can also turn this into a massive initiative for fundraising. Set up some dummy non-profits and by the time it’s all said and done we’ll be rolling in more cash.
Director: Dario Argento…after a weeklong bath salt bender.
Why a Gritty Reboot: The master of horror is back and ready to shock you ‘til you projectile vomit with glee. Hostel and the Saw series introduced the western world to the horror genre it never knew it needed: Torture Porn. Well, what better way to reboot one of the masterpieces of the genre than to make it even darker, grittier, achilles-slicingly rad! The price of admission will include a Hostel-branded zip tie and plastic tarp to help with any clean up that may be needed after the credits are done rolling. Argento will up the ante with a special made rig designed to fit an IMAX camera into any flesh wound.
Director: Jonathan Glazer (unknown if any black sex goo will make an appearance)
Why a Gritty Reboot: One of the best rom-coms of all time isn’t quite old enough by conventional standards for a remake, but screw it…you’re not our real Dad and you can’t tell us what to do! The new version sticks to the same basic plot (gorgeously aloof guy, meets impossibly famous actress), but with…you know…grittier undertones? But how you ask? Well, to start it has the most f**king hardcore meet cute you’ve ever seen (who needs a used bookstore when you can have a grimey adult video store). Keep around Hugh Grant and swap Jennifer Lawrence for Julia Roberts (because that’s how Hollywood works right?). Swap out London for Vegas. And throw in a tribute of the original soundtrack featuring Tom Waits’ cover of “She” and you’ve got yerself a Valentine’s Day box office bonanza.
12 Angry Men
Director: Park Chan-wook
Why a Gritty Reboot: Sure the Sidney Lumet version is OK, especially as it nears 60 years old. But at The Stake our idea of “angry” sure as hell differs in the age of the gritty reboot. I mean it’s not too difficult to imagine just HOW ANGRY these guys could get? So ANGRY!!! Jason Statham, the dude from The Raid, and that guy from that one Korean movie you saw on Netflix will topline. Blood, broken bones, and parkour (because the kids love parkour). Possible tag line: “Justice is served, even if there’s a hung jury.”
Studio Note: Explore possible franchise opportunities. Like every time Statham’s character is faced with jury duty shit gets REAL!
The Dark Knight
Director: Chrizztopher Nolan (it’s grittier when you change S’s to Z’s)
Why a Gritty Reboot: Where better to go for a gritty reboot, that then gritty reboot that started the gritty reboot trend. Let’s be honest, we all thought it could have been a little edgier right? Right? I mean a PG-13 doesn’t get you much these days. This version eschews all subtlety and storytelling and gives us the ass kicking, guns-a-blazing, bat-shit crazy showdown (no really, Batman will take a dump in a dark, gritty alley and plague Gotham with a viral incident that Commissioner Gordon believes to be the work of The Joker). So dark and gritty that the entire 2nd act takes place in complete darkness while ushers run up and down the theater aisles hitting you with 16-grit sandpaper. Cha-FRIGGING-CHING!