20th Century Fox announced at Comic Con that they’re still moving forward with their reboot of Marvel’s first superhero family Fantastic Four and that they’ve attached Chronicle director Josh Trank to helm the project. Going the route of reboots can be a tricky endeavor just as likely to back fire as it is to work. While The Amazing Spider-Man is raking in a huge amount of loot, many critics have voiced their disappointment with it and rumors were running rampant before its release that even Sony itself was unpleased.
While some reboots can work out well (such as 2009′s Star Trek) others aren’t so well received (like 2010′s A Nightmare on Elm Street which only grossed $63 million domestically and no one is waiting around to see a sequel of) and fall by the wayside.
With such a dire stakes in the offing, we here at What Culture would like to offer up some thoughts on how Fox can make their new version of Fantastic Four more Star Trek and less Elm Street.
7. Don’t Go Halfway, Make This A Fully Rebooted Reboot
You may or may not have noticed, but in the past few years two new hybridized forms of film continuation have arisen to stand alongside the reboot. There’s the “requel” which includes movies like the aforementioned The Amazing Spider-Man where what was supposed to be a sequel instead becomes a reboot that still feels kinda sequelly. Harry and Norman Osborn’s absence, plus the presence of Gwen Stacy along with Curt Connors makes it rather obvious that the plot was originally supposed to be Spider-Man 4. Same thing with The Incredible Hulk and Punisher War Zone. While it can be a good thing to salvage a decent sequel that can’t be filmed into a reboot, it also closes off avenues of reinvention.
Even more confounding and recent is the preboot, which stradles the lines between prequel and reboot but runs the risk of being too much of both and not enough of neither. A good example of a preboot is Star Trek (2009). The use of time travel allowed JJ Abrams to make a prequel that could still be radically different and let the audience know what’s going on. A bad example would be X-Men First Class. While it’s a great film in and of itself, most viewers walked away unsure of whether it’s a prequel or a reboot. Hell I’m still not sure and I loved it anyway.
If Trank and the other people at Fox are smart, they’ll avoid this pitfall by going the Batman Begins route of starting over from the ground up. By cutting ties with the previous movies altogether, a new path can be set that allows the film to be completely unfettered. Although one thing that should not be considered requisite for Batman approach is showing how the ordinary people becomes the heroes they’re meant to be…
This article was first posted on July 18, 2012