Reduce, reuse, recycle: Four franchises that should be rebooted

Charlie's Angels hits theaters Friday, and the reboot fatigue strikes again. It'll only continue: Next year already promises new takes on (or sequels to) The Grudge, The Invisible Man, Dr. Dolittle, Scooby-Doo, Mulan, Legally Blonde, Candyman, Top Gun and Ghostbusters. Remember all that pointless internet drama surrounding the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot? Get ready for more reasonable discourse.

The recycling of intellectual properties is a practice as old as storytelling itself. And there are great remakes out there — The Departed, The Thing, Ocean's 11.

Since there's no way of stopping this cinematic recycling, allow us to suggest some older films that have been done dirty (or not at all) in the remake department and could potentially be reworked into something entertaining and kinda original.


Just about every horror franchise gets rebooted eventually, but you could do something trippy and Lynchian with Don Coscarelli's scrappy, low-budget nightmare-logic series, which started in 1979. The 40-year-old original is driven by surrealism and disorientation, and an arty studio like A24 would be a perfect fit.


Married detectives Nick and Nora Charles were hugely popular in the '30s and '40s, appearing in six Thin Man films. Played by William Powell and Myrna Loy, they were constantly sniping at one another, always swilling a fresh martini, and had a clever canine sidekick. What's not to love? A Veronica Mars-style reboot could bring them into the 21st century without too much tweaking.


Based on a Philip K. Dick short story, Steven Spielberg's 2002 blockbuster imagining a future in which you can be arrested for crimes you've yet to commit is one of his best. The movie focused on one man's plight — Tom Cruise is a cop incriminated by the very system he advocates — but the wider implications suggest endless possibilities. There's already been a botched TV adaptation, but give this premise to another filmmaker of Spielberg's caliber and you could have a winner.


Another contemporary sci-fi classic, Paul Verhoeven's vicious dystopian satire was rendered cartoonish and bloodless in increasingly awful sequels, a series spinoff and a forgettable 2014 feature reboot. But I don't think the core premise of Robocop is worth giving up on: In the hands of a visionary director, its commentary on the uneasy relationship between corporations and the police state could easily be plugged into a contemporary story that's as socially conscious as it is grimly satirical. ♦

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About The Author

Nathan Weinbender

Nathan Weinbender is the Inlander's Music & Film editor. He is also a film critic for Spokane Public Radio, where he has co-hosted the weekly film review show Movies 101 since 2011.