5 Disappointing Franchise Reboots
With Riddick rearing its head this coming weekend, fans of Pitch Black and/or Vin Diesel will be holding their breath and hoping the rebooted franchise, once thought dead in the water, won’t be a colossal disaster. They’ve been there before, of course, when Chronicles of Riddick left even the most forgiving devotee slightly cheesed off, but there’s nothing worse than a languishing franchise being resurrected only to disappoint all over again.
As we prepare for Riddick, let’s revisit five other resurrected franchises that left fans less than thrilled:
Superman Returns isn’t actually as dire as some people would have you believe but, after nineteen years away from the big screen, Superman enthusiasts were expecting something a little different from Bryan Singer’s stab at the character. Instead of rebooting the narrative entirely, as this year’s Man of Steel did, the film decided to continue on from Superman IV and give Clark a super-child by Lois Lane. There isn’t enough action and the rest of the ideas didn’t go down well with expectant fans, making the film enough of a disappointment to spark a complete reboot six years later.
People like the Alien franchise, and they also like the Predator franchise, so why not put the two together? Because then you get a mess like Alien vs. Predator, that’s why. A complete cannibalization of film ideas that resulted in something that pleased pretty much no one, this amalgamated franchise almost killed off one (if not two) of the most beloved science-fiction franchises of all time. Populated by cardboard cut-out characters designed to simply be picked off one by one, any promise the concept had was quickly squandered.
This one is simply a case of studios not letting go when they should, with a fourth American Pie movie arriving after two terrible sequels and a bevy of dreadful straight-to-DVD releases. Did anyone want to see the gang in their thirties, returning home for their high school reunion and dealing with issues like marriage and babies? Not really, and the resulting film is a strange mix of maturity and utter childishness that makes watching the crass humor and sexual jokes a jarring experience. It was going for nostalgia, but got stuck in a time warp.
Though Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull received a lenient critical reaction when it was first released, there’s a reason why the 2008 film hasn’t been followed up with another installment. These reboots tend to be entirely focused on comforting an already courted audience, bathing them in nostalgia and completely alienating a potential new fanbase – Crystal Skull does introduce a protégé for Jones to mentor, but it’s done in such a half-hearted way that they may as well not have bothered. It’s comfort food, and offered nothing new to the franchise.
Do I really need to explain this one? Rarely has a film been so anticipated for so long, only to deliver so little. People who grew up on Star Wars could finally take their children to see a new installment on the big screen, only to be greeted by 2-hours of eye candy and no substance. There’s absolutely nothing to hold on to in Phantom Menace, with Jar Jar Binks and a child protagonist robbing the film of its high stakes and the action sequences rendered wholly soulless. It’s definitely something to think about now, with a new trilogy looming.