Very, very minor spoilers for Jurassic World follow.
The past few years have seen a large influx of remakes, reboots, sequels, prequels and everything in between. These films have to strike that hard to gain balance of pleasing diehard fans of the franchise while appealing to new audience members at the same time; to homage the earlier films while also bringing something new and fresh or without it falling into pastiche territory. JJ Abram’s reboot of classic sci-fi franchise Star Trek is an example where it was done right by setting up a new timeline while not discounting the one that came before. The inclusion of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock was a nice touch for fans and set up the idea of the dual timeline for newcomers. Then the sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, descended into a retread of classic original cast adventure Wrath of Khan. It’s a balance hard to get right but one which Hollywood is constantly trying to achieve.
This year’s big screen summer blockbuster that got it right was undoubtedly Jurassic World. The film has received mostly positive reviews and while there are few people who were disappointed the dinosaur filled action romp which harkens back to the classic Amblin adventure movies, the homages and Easter eggs are done very well. Whether it be a picture of Jeff Goldblum’s character from Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm, on the back of a book, a statue of John Hammond, the discovery of the visitors centre from the first film or a brief cameo by the 10,000 volt fence that the incredibly annoying Tim wouldn’t climb down, they were all done without ruining the pace of the film.
Terminator Genesys, the fifth in the Terminator franchise and the first to be misspelled, seems to have got the balance all wrong. While I have yet to see the film, and I probably won’t at the cinema, early reviews have slated it as a pastiche of the first two films and wanders dangerously close to self-parody. There are some lines such as “Come with me if you want to live” that are still pretty cool when you hear them in the trailer while Arnie’s “I’ll be back” is, to be honest, pretty laughable. It’s become too well known in popular culture to be taken seriously especially after he mocks the line in ‘Far too old to be doing this and you can’t understand anything half the cast are saying 2’ (Expendables 2).
A couple of cheesy lines are forgivable but from what I understand the film then goes on to alter the already messed up timeline meaning classic scenes from The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day are shown again in a style similar to Gus Van Sant’s awful shot-for-shot remake of Psycho. Hollywood should learn to remake the flawed films and make them better not classics and make them worse. Much like Salvation, Genesys is the first in a planned trilogy and if Genesys is a success the two sequels will have to be produced very quickly because rumours are circling that it’s only a couple of years before the rights to the franchise go back to James Cameron. Thankfully this would probably mean the end of the Terminator franchise due to Cameron being busy making 3 unnecessary and unwanted sequels to Avatar.
Star Wars. Millions of people, including myself, can’t wait to see those big yellow words appear onscreen this December followed by scrolling text that hopefully won’t talk about trade federations this time around. Audience members simultaneously want something new and fresh in the Star Wars saga and to catch up on old friends like Han Solo Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia (who technically isn’t a princess). The pressure is on Disney to deliver a perfect mix of call backs and easter eggs while introducing a drastically different universe 30 years on from Return of the Jedi. I’ll be disappointed if no one says “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” but I don’t want them to go too far with the references. This is a new era of Star Wars but it is still Star Wars.
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