Neo-Classical: The Case for a rebooted Matrix

Neo-Classical: The Case for a rebooted Matrix

It's like the five stages of grief, but for film nerds. And with fewer stages.

A studio announces a remake/reboot/sequel to a beloved film and the twitterverse goes berserk. First you get anger (how dare those fuckers remake/reboot/sequelise this movie), then you get denial (no way will these fuckers get this remake/reboot/sequel off the ground, no way will it be a success). And then, finally, there's acceptance. Acceptance here takes many forms. Some will resolve to hate a movie because they can't countenance any remake of their beloved source material (I'm looking at you, crazy 'Ghostbusters' people), some will resolve to hate it because it's a symbol of the evil Hollywood remake machine, some will judge a remake on its merits and hate a remake simply because it's a rancid pile of shit (shout-out to those who sat through 'Point Break 2015' yo), others will accept to judge a remake on its own terms and (sometimes) be pleasantly surprised and some will just accept a movie exists and simply move on with their lives. Regardless of its final form, acceptance is the final stage of film franchise grief.
Now, at this point, I'm not saying the film will be good or bad. What I am saying it's way too early in the cycle to even speculate as to whether it's even worth pursuing, let alone pre-judging the final product (if, in fact, it even makes it that far).

Most recently, this phenomenon has struck with the news of a possible 'Matrix' reboot, which was met with instant, almost universal condemnation.

So to recap, we know exactly two things.

Thing number 1: Zak Penn might write it (according to reports, Warner Bros is considering hiring him to write a treatment).

Thing number 2: Michael B Jordan may star in it.
At this stage, there are far more things we don't know about this potential reboot (which, if it gets off the ground, I am hoping will be called 'The Matrix: Have You Tried Turning It Off and Back On Again?') - we don't know if the Wachowskis will be involved in any capacity, what the storyline may be or whether it's set in the original 'Matrix' universe or will be a full-on remake.

Hell, we don't even know if it'll be live action. For all we know it could be one of those 'Final Fantasy' CGI lovefests. Which, when you look at it, is an awful lot of unknown unknowns.

Sure, Zak Penn's filmography may not inspire confidence (I loved 'Incredible Hulk' and 'X-Men 2', but have yet to find another human being who has even seen 'PCU', let alone someone who would rate it as a solid comedy), but... as the wise Wesley Snipes once told us in 'White Men Can't Jump', even the sun shines on a dog's ass some days. Every writer's got a range of good and bad in their background. Akiva Goldsman's got 'Batman & Robin' and 'A Beautiful Mind', David S Goyer has 'Dark City' and 'Blade: Trinity' and even the mighty Chris McQuarrie has his name on the Johnny Depp abomination 'The Tourist' (to be fair, though, McQuarrie, maintains very little of his work made it into the final product. I'd like to think his contribution started and ended with the e-cigarette).
So, you never know, Penn might actually pull one out. This may be his masterwork.

Alternatively, the studio may pass on his treatment (if he even writes it) or hand it on to a different writer to flesh it out... one that people actually like - for example, the aforementioned McQuarrie, Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith from 20 years ago (time travel's possible... those fat cats in Hollywood just don't want you to know about it) or Jane Campion (admit it... you'd watch Jane Campion's 'The Matrix'. You know you would).
It's so early on in the process that the possibilities are endless.

And, speaking of endless possibilities, you know what else has endless possibilities? The world of 'The Matrix'. We got one limited story (more if you count the 'Animatrix') out of this world and there's so much more to explore here. And, with the current political climate, there is vast potential to make a big-budget sci-fi epic that's socially relevant.

So yeah, I'm not willing to write this off just yet.

And, if history's taught us anything, a huge fan outcry doesn't mean it's a justified outcry. Fandom didn't want Michael Keaton as Batman or Daniel Craig as James Bond. Fandom was also pretty excited when Zack Snyder said he was going to tackle 'Batman v Superman'... so, y'know, the hive mind don't always get it right.
It's undeniable that, as studios grow more risk averse, we're seeing more remakes, more sequels and more films based on pre-existing franchises. And, unfortunately, a lot of the time, profits are put well before quality story telling.

But this doesn't always stop a remake from being good. The odds may not necessarily in its favour (for every 'Brady Bunch Movie', there's five 'Beverly Hillbillies', and for every John Carpenter's 'The Thing', there's a dozen Jean-François Richet's 'Assault on Precinct 13's), but there's potential here. And that's exactly what's needed as the springboard for a good film.

The deal won't end well. The steak's not real, Hugo Weaving can't be trusted and no matter what happens, you'll still be Joe Pantoliano with an IV drip in your arm while your slowly rotting carcass helps feed . Sure, by accepting that a remake may not stink - and by accepting there are better things you can do with your life than have a hissy fit over a film that will most likely live or die regardless of your own personal opinion on its relevance or otherwise - you open yourself up to the potential for hurt.

But, what is life without a little risk every now and then? And let's face it, while there's every chance you might end up with Tim Burton's 'Planet of the Apes', there's every chance you could end up with 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'... a fantastic little film from Matt Reeves, writer of 'Under Siege 2'.

What can I say? Even the sun shines on a dog's ass some days.

Anotherfilmnerd's earliest cinematic memory was seeing Don Johnson throw up all over a suspect in John Frankenheimer's 'Dead Bang'. Ever since, he's devoted his life to searching out cinema that's weird, wonderful and features vomit in the most unlikely of places.