In the San Francisco Chronicle, Peter Hartlaub noses around the long-rumored, now a reality "Rocky 6," aka "Rocky Balboa," then notes that most franchises now follow a neat cycle of steady decline, apparently series-killer, and inevitable "reinvention."
The ability to forget the last flop in a franchise may be the most important skill a modern mainstream moviegoer can possess. With sequels and remakes becoming the norm in Hollywood — there have been more retread films than original concepts in each of the past three summers — audiences are being asked to ignore past atrocities with increased frequency.
The makers of "The Omen," which opens on Tuesday, want you to forget four previous films — including "Omen IV: The Awakening." This summer’s "Superman Returns" reportedly will accept the events of "Superman" and "Superman II," but "Superman III" with Richard Pryor was apparently just a bad dream. Michael Mann‘s new "Miami Vice" movie not only does away with Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, but also pretends that the colors pink and aqua, Jan Hammer‘s synthesizer music and all those Phil Collins cameos never existed either.
Hartlaub points to the geekdom term "retcon," but the best of this new rash of films (see "Batman Begins") seems to be benefiting from not being concerned with dismal predecessors at all. There may be no new ideas in Hollywood, but we thinks there’s an odd, interesting aspect to the reinterpretation phenomena â€” as these story-lines become familiar to people outside (particularly in the case of "Superman" and other comic-book interpretations) the original source material fanbase and take their place in the pop culture canon, these back-to-the-beginning stories gather the weight of foreknowledge, a kind of low-rent dramatic irony. So we have, say, the TV series "Smallville," which recasts "Superman" as a teenage soap opera, but still retains an air of weightier tragedy than it probably merits, because we already know that everyone will grow up and go their separate ways and end up heroic, unhappy and/or evil. Speaking of, at the New York Times, Michael Joseph Gross offers a closer (if fairly rosy) look at Bryan Singer‘s take on the series:
As the movie begins, Mr. Singer explained, Clark returns from a mysterious absence to discover that Lois [Lane, played by Kate Bosworth]
has a fiancÃ© and a child. This creates what may be the film’s central
quandary. "Even if you’re the strongest man in the world," Mr. Singer
said, "if the woman you love has found someone else that she’s nearly
married to that’s not a bad guy, how do you figure out what your place
is in that woman’s life?"
He added, "I call it my first chick flick."
In "Omen III," Damien has blossomed into a young Sam Neill, and is now head of his family’s industrial conglomerate, which he’s using as a springboard to the presidency – a lot like Halliburton, I guess – the better to bring about the Apocalypse. It’s impressive that in order to achieve this, the devil still has to get elected. Touching to learn of Satan’s abiding faith in democratic institutions.