Modern Hollywood thrives on reboots. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the industry is out of original ideas, as many like to suggest. But producers do know the easiest ways to make money, and one is certainly to tap into a known, or even legendary title and bring it back to life. It’s something we’ve seen a lot in recent years and will certainly continue to see moving forward. So I’ve put together a list of 10 of the best candidates for a fantastic modern reboot (in no order).
1. 1984 (1984)
There are mixed opinions regarding the 1984 adaptation of George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel. One review praised it on very lofty terms, calling it tremendously underrated, visually stunning, and properly depressing. Others viewed it as being too bleak to get its point across in a way that entertained or engaged even marginally. I’d fall into the latter camp, but Orwell’s work still deserves a better adaptation. A more modern film with some star power behind it would be very interesting to see. I’d even say the one-off dystopian adventure V For Vendetta set a tone that could be echoed by a proper 1984.
2. Eragon (2006)
Say what you will about young adult fantasy novels, Eragon was quite an achievement. It’s not the most well-written novel you’ll ever touch, but its author, Christopher Paolini, was still a teenager when he wrote it. Moreover, the story is very engaging, and could have made for an absolutely stunning fantasy film. Instead, we got a lazy, dull, and forgettable adaptation in 2006. A second attempt could be worthwhile.
3. Seven Samurai (1954)
It might be considered blasphemous to redo any work by Akira Kurosawa, and this 1954 film is actually still great if you watch it now (so long as you understand it’s going to look dated in ways). But a modern take on this story from a restrained, skilled director would likely clean up at the box office. Just look at how excited the TV-watching world recently got over Westworld’s brief foray into “Shogun World.”
4. Casino (1995)
Casino is just about perfect as is. It’s known as one of the best gambling films of all time, and one article labeling it as just that points out that it’s also on most film buffs’ top ten all time favorites lists. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it speaks to the classic quality of this Robert de Niro/Joe Pesci mob/gambling film. But as long as some A-list talent was on board it would be fascinating to see an updated version of this story, simply because perceptions of mob and casino culture have changed so much since 1995.
5. Man Of Steel (2013)
Yes, this film came out only five years ago. But it was also awful. Man Of Steel had a thrilling trailer, a loose association with Christopher Nolan coming off of his excellent Batman trilogy, and some really beautiful imagery. But Henry Cavill’s Superman is soulless, Zack Snyder’s direction is dull, and the film relies more on familiar action sequences than any kind of meaningful narrative. We need a better modern Superhero movie.
6. Star Wars Episode I (1999)
Wouldn’t this be something? It’s not going to happen, because the Star Wars canon is set, and the franchise is now set to spiral forward into endless spinoffs and extensions. But Episode I and the ensuing sequels have taken enough heat that at some point someone should simply try them over again. The broad arc would need to remain the same, but the films could be done a great deal more effectively.
7. First Knight (1995)
Really, pick your King Arthur film. The one released in 2017 was frankly a generic joke of a blockbuster, and we haven’t had a good Arthur film since 2004’s, which was fascinating, but also nothing like the typical style of this fantasy. First Knight was a flawed but fun movie and may represent the most recent major attempt at a films depicting a semi-realistic version of the idyllic Camelot. It’s time for a fresh one, if for no other reason than to go head-to-head with Guy Ritchie’s 2017 dud.
8. Les Miserables (2012)
Maybe this famous and beloved musical just isn’t made for the big screen. Despite an Oscar nomination, the 2012 attempt was widely panned. The film made casting decisions with little regard for who could or couldn’t sing, and the director’s decision to do all of the songs without voiceovers, while commendable, seems to have backfired. Trying again with a more vocally focused cast, however, could produce a good film.
9. Spider-Man (2002)
In 2015, when we were first learning about Marvel’s Spider-Man reboot, the question was asked: Do we really need another Spider-Man? I’d actually still answer yes. The Tobey Maguire series fizzled out, the Andrew Garfield version never seemed to get off the ground in a meaningful way, and the ongoing Tom Holland saga has been Marvel-fied, such that he feels like just another Avenger. We may have seen three attempts, but none have been perfect. A reboot more like the 2002 version, as an independent, carefully structured trilogy, could still be very effective.
10. Forrest Gump (1994)
Okay, so this idea is a little bit ridiculous. This might be one of the hardest films of all time to reboot, and one of the least necessary. However, there’s one point that makes it interesting to think about, which is that Forrest Gump is in some respects a history lesson – and one that ends around the late-‘80s. A similar film reimagined to include vignettes from the last 30-35 years could actually be fascinating. The trouble would be finding an actor equal to the task.