Rebooting History

It’s been another tough week for the cast of Game of Thrones. Last Sunday saw the massacre of an entire royal family, and at a wedding to boot. The Internet has been buzzing for days with fan outrage and horror at this turn of events, but it’s been a blessing for fairweather viewers like myself who have had a hard time keeping up with the multiple plot lines and the cast of thousands. I came into the series late, and although I am now hopelessly hooked I find myself constantly asking the wife (who watched all the early episodes) “who is that character again?”

Even so, I now see the strategy of the author. Start off with a hundred storylines and whittle them down one by one (or the occasional massacre) and by the end of the story there will only be a few left to conquer the many kingdoms. The folks at HBO must have looked at the success of other series like The Tudors and The Borgias and figured they could outdo the intrigue and gore a hundredfold with Thrones. I’m still waiting to see what happens to the poor bastard who’s been trussed up in a dungeon all season long, at one point believing he was being rescued when he was led out of the castle and trudged through the forest before his savior sneakily brought him right back to the very cell he started out from. Even he doesn’t know why he is being tortured, or by whom. The last we saw of him, he was being fawned over by a pair of naked babes, until his captor showed up and threatened to remove his tallywhacker with the ugliest knife I’ve ever seen. Hopefully, we’ll see if he gets neutered before the season finale next Sunday.

In the meantime, we can amuse ourselves with this summer’s rebooted movies. It seems like Hollywood has decided to reinvent every superhero/sci-fi property to fit into the new century. Man of Steel retells the origin of Superman with the new version wearing an ugly costume that looks like something he picked up at K-Mart, and no doubt inspired by the success of the rebooted Dark Knight trilogy that earned Heath Ledger an Oscar for his creepy rendition of the Joker. Apparently Ledger was so involved his character that it drove him mad and led to his suicide. Now that’s dedication to your craft.

Another reboot that I’ll be skipping is Star Trek Into Darkness. I’ve been a trekkie for forty-odd years, having started out with the original when I was a teenager and faithfully following every sequel through the years. We all cheered when the original cast went to the big screen and then handed the captain’s chair over to Next Generation, followed by Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. There was continuity to all the spin-offs, a future that was intelligent and always full of hope for mankind as we ventured to distant worlds. I was thrilled when I saw the trailers for 2008’s Star Trek. Watching an adolescent Jim Kirk drive a corvette off a cliff in defiance of the establishment and seeing Zachery Quinto’s stunning transformation into Spock gave me hope that the new movie would add to the Trek universe.

So I was horrified when I went to the movie and saw what the new writers had in mind. The once celibate Spock is now involved in a steamy romance with Lt. Uhura, which goes against all Vulcan logic. Kirk goes from cadet to captain on his first mission, which also makes absolutely no sense. And worst of all, the entire future history of the Federation is thrown into a black hole, except now there are two Spocks, with Leonard Nimoy as a holdover from the original cast.

It’s easy to see why the writers went with this option. This way, they don’t have to spend hours trying to reconcile what happened in the original series with the reboot. They’ve wiped the slate clean and replaced intelligent scripts with stunning special effects, inter-species sex and lots of explosions. It’s an old trick, honed to perfection by several generations of Marvel Comics writers trying to keep old characters interesting. It used to be that Hollywood would wait twenty years or so to update their franchises, but it only took a few short years to reboot Toby McGuire’s Spiderman to an even newer version. Bah, humbug!

If it was up to me, I’d reboot history to remove all these bastardized storylines, and maybe some others. How about starting over from September 10th, 2001?

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27 Responses to Rebooting History

  1. Chris Peterson says:

    I totally agree that Spock having an affair with Uhura is an insult to Spockdom, but the one scene I liked was when Spock is fighting Kahn and gives him the Vulcan shoulder pinch, and while it gives Kahn immense pain, it doesn’t put him down.

    Other than that, it’s luke-warm crapola, especially where Kirk takes the role of self-sacrifice in a reversal of Spock’s original act. I mean, good gawd, there’s a whole freaking universe out there and they turn it into an Earth-bound soap opera?

    At least, at the end, they hint that they might finally get back on mission; To boldly go…

  2. Brad Croul says:

    How about all the face-lifted, action heroes being rebooted in movies like, “The Expendables” (wrinkley buns with guns)?

    One thing all these movies have in common that is cool is how seamless the CGI has become. It is hard to tell where the movie set ends and the green screen begins.

  3. TD Pittsford says:

    Sorry kids but CGI has destroyed more than one movie and there’s no end in sight. When the special affects overshadow (or completely replace) a good storyline, it’s time to dust off the old movies and return to a time when a good plot with interesting characters in interesting situations was the rule rather than the exception. I know I’ll probably take a lot of heat for this but the first Star Trek movie dedicated far too much screen time to establishing scenes of (what was then) innovative technology and not enough time developing a good story line. The same was true of “2001, a Space Odyssey”. Mel Brooks did a righteous parody in the opening scene of “Spaceballs” when the ship traveled past the camera…seemingly forever. It still amazes me that with thousands of screenwriters in Hollywood (most of them working at fast food joints) TV and movies are still being rehashed. This tells me that studio heads have absolutely no imagination and are going for the star power rather than any real stimulating content. Conversely, or perhaps perversely, I see the end bump in the current teasers that don’t even mention the players any more. The real stars got top billing and we didn’t really care what the film was about as long as we could see our favorite personalities on the big screen. Don’t get me wrong. There’s still plenty of appeal for a good old fashioned car crash and/or lots of exciting explosions, but you can’t build an entire script from special effects alone.

    • rl crabb says:

      While I agree that the first Star Trek movie wasted a lot of time showing off their big fx budget, 2001 completely changed the way I looked at outer space. I was lucky enough to see it in its original Cinerama edition, and it really conveyed the feeling that you were out there in that vast black emptiness, with no sound. The psychedelic stuff at the end was kind of weak, especially if you read what happened in the book. They probably ran out of money by then.

    • Brad Croul says:

      CGI effects are cool but many new movies have gone way overboard with special effects. I have seen enough flying ninjas and sci -fi critters to last me for a while.

      • rl crabb says:

        I feel the same way about the new computerized animation movies. “Toy Story” was okay, but can it ever compare to the beauty and lush colors of Snow White?

  4. Steve Frisch says:

    I was surprised so many people where disturbed by the “Red Wedding” episode of Game of Thrones. I would have thought that more people would have read the books–but I won’t be a spoiler. But I do have one observation about the end Game of Thrones, which can’t be a spoiler, because it is not written yet; avid readers have been waiting for final volume, The Winds of Winter, to come out, and will likely wait another 2 years.

    My prediction is that John Snow and Daenerys Targaryen rule the world as King and Queen, uniting Westros and Essos and Sothoryos; and if that does not mark me as the geek that I am nothing will.

    Compared to Game of Thrones the IRS looks like Bambi.

    • rl crabb says:

      Welcome to the club, Lord Frisch. I’m rooting for Dragon Girl too. Of all those misogynists and sadists, she’s the one that actually wants to free the people, rather than rule them.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      My beloved grandmother loved her soap operas. When visiting as a little kid, I used to hear her talking on the phone to her sister most every afternoon, chatting for a half hour or more about who did what to whom and what she thought about that… it took me some time to realize that those long phone calls gossiping were not about real people, but the characters on the soaps.

      Game of Thrones fans sound remarkably similar to Grandma Grace and Auntie Toots on their daily call.

      • Steve Frisch says:

        My grandma interspersed her entertainment with little gems of common wisdom like this from Matthew 7:6, “Nolite dare sanctum canibus, neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos, ne forte conculcent eas pedibus suis, et conversi disrumptam vos”

        This was clearly before Vatican II.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Enjoy your soap, Steve.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Must suck being you Greg.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Not only does it not suck being me, I never had to make up stories about my grandma to denigrate anyone who dissed her soap operas.

            Enjoy the show, Steve.

        • Steve Frisch says:

          I am not making anything up. My grandmother loved the Bible, liberally quoted from it, including Matthew 7:6, and counseled on the futility of casting pearls before swine.

          I still think it must suck being you if the first thing you think of doing when you read someone else’s comments on entertainment is critique the individuals taste.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Ahh, you think your Game of Thrones is *better* than my grandma’s Soap Operas? Who’s the denigrator here?

            Jt’s just TV, Steve, and just about any serialized drama is a Soap at heart.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            I still think it must suck being you if the first thing you think of doing when you read someone else’s comments on entertainment is critique the individuals taste.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            “I still think it must suck being you if the first thing you think of doing when you read someone else’s comments on entertainment is critique the individuals taste.”

            I didn’t; that’s a conclusion you came to all by your lonesome, Steve.

          • rl crabb says:

            Last warning before I send in Mr. Delete.

          • Todd Juvinall says:

            Good golly Miss Molly, I wasn’t even involved in this dopey conversation. LOL!

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        Back to the core, if I may:

        “I’m still waiting to see what happens to the poor bastard who’s been trussed up in a dungeon all season long, at one point believing he was being rescued when he was led out of the castle and trudged through the forest before his savior sneakily brought him right back to the very cell he started out from. Even he doesn’t know why he is being tortured, or by whom.”

        Sounds reminiscent of episode #7 of The Prisoner, “Many Happy Returns”, another serialized drama, one of the best and my all time favorite, though I think my grandma preferred “General Hospital”.

  5. rl crabb says:

    Okay, fellas, let’s move along. Nothing to see in this conversation.

  6. Greg Goodknight says:

    Bob, I loved your toon in yesterday’s The Union. “Thrones and Bones”, a “sword opera”? Where’d that come from?

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