Recently I happened across a foolish post on Collider.com, and I’m not providing a link on purpose. I may be a teeny little blog in the vast cacophony of the Internet, but I’m not giving them any added traffic for their clickbait.
The question of the article was whether Lucasfilm should remake the Star Wars prequels. I was prepared to rail against the idiocy of this article, because the prequels are beyond “just fine.”
They’re art. As with all art, there are detractors. That’s fine.
After all, a lot of people “hated” Picasso’s works, and other artists’ for that matter, at first. Citizen Kane wasn’t regarded one of the greatest films of all time until decades after its release.
So I decided not to go down that road. Instead, I decided to examine it as a symptom of a very troubling and lazy trend. The trend of franchise reboots by erasing previous continuity, but retaining the mythology of at least one of its predecessors.
To be sure, one of the easiest examples is the Halloween franchise. The 2018 sequel was a direct offshoot of the story of the first film, ignoring everything else from the predominantly-respected Halloween II to the Rob Zombie’s whole-cloth remake.
To be sure, so much garbage had accumulated in the intervening years – it’s a horror franchise after all – that it was the only way to move forward. But the remaining question is, why did we have to “move forward” with this at all?
Wasn’t it good enough to leave our entertainment behind? It happened. We reacted. We argued. Let’s move on.
But this desire to remake franchises by hook or by crook is a self-sustaining circle that’s powered by the studios and our own crippling nostalgia. So I decided to ask a simple question.
Is It Time to Remake The Godfather Part III?
Is it time to remake The Godfather Part III? What is your initial reaction to that question?
I imagine that, like me, the very idea is preposterous. The Godfather Part III is a much-reviled sequel, and considered to have besmirched an otherwise sterling example of incredible filmmaking.
Whether I agree with that is immaterial. Whether you agree with that is immaterial.
The fact is that The Godfather Part III exists. You may hate it. You may love it. It is a product of a team of filmmakers that belongs to its time and their vision.
If you don’t like it, you don’t have to watch it. This sickening drive to try to recast the past by erasing what we don’t like, and reshaping it to be more in line with that which makes us happy and content is a sickness.
But remaking The Godfather Part III would be completely in line with today’s sensibilities. If we just remade it, we could make it go away! We could pretend it never happened, like some sort of character from an early season for a television series.
An Alternative Idea
Alternatively, we could collectively grow the hell up. You’re going to encounter things you don’t like, and there are going to be things you cannot control.
Even if you remade The Godfather Part III, or the Star Wars prequels, or created the latest in a series of sequels to Terminator 2: Judgment Day by promising that this time everyone can get it just right, so that “everyone” can be happy and spend time with each other again.
This makes no sense, and is a painfully childlike way of approaching things. There are two great reasons why.
Reason 1: The original versions will still exist. Unless you are concurrently mandating that every copy of the existing version be confiscated, collected, and destroyed, it will still exist. Remaking it won’t erase it. You’d have to go on a rampage of finding and destroying every print, disc, digital copy, and memory of the original.
Reason 2: You’re considering your opinion superior to everyone else’s in the world, and mandating that every person must like what you like. Without exception, you’re telling the world that just because you didn’t like something, they shouldn’t even be given the opportunity to make up their own minds.
Both of these reasons expose the fundamental truth that the people calling for the remake of sequels and prequels they don’t like have an unhealthy obsession with their own opinion. They’re showing that they can’t handle disliking something.
One of the first lessons parents teach their children is that you’re going to encounter things you don’t like, and you’re just going to have to deal with it. If you cannot, you have no right to call yourself an adult.
But There’s Money to Be Had from We Suckers
Movie studios used to be able to handle this, and franchises as well. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country gives you the space to ignore Star Trek V: The Final Frontier if you wish, but also doesn’t contradict it in any substantial way. Hell, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan allows you to ignore Star Trek: The Motion Picture if you want.
Now, we’re in a feedback loop where any series can “just keep trying” to make the “perfect” sequel. The Terminator franchise is going to give it another shot, too, by ignoring everything after Terminator 2 so we can have the…whatever.
How about we all just call it quits while we’re wherever we’re at, quit obsessing over things we dislike, and just try to see something new? Seriously, let’s all just grow up.
[Also, I think I’m finally going to rewatch The Godfather Part III for the first time in decades. I just watched Beverly Hills Cop III, so I can have a Three-Off and see who wins.]