Nostalgia's the name of the game in Hollywood these days. Remember your favourite film from your childhood. Ah, happy memories. No, don't tell me what it is. It doesn't matter. There'll be a new movie of it soon anyway. From Ghostbusters to Jurassic Park, none are safe from the reboot machine.
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. I for one enjoy seeing what elements of my favourite movies will be brought out in their inevitable remakes. And next on the roster is Independence Day 2! Less a reboot, more a sequel, this movie will be set 20 years after the attempted invasion of Earth. It will explore a post-war culture, in a world that has been forced to accept that we are not alone in the universe, and nor are we safe.
"It's like a post-World generation that's unified, and that's amazing to see a world come together with a common enemy. That's resurgence."
So yes, the aliens will return, and they've got more firepower than ever. But so do we! Director Roland Emmerich revealed that humanity's been busy preparing for the next assault.
"Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens' advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction."
And Jeff Goldbum's returning! The indomitable David Levinson will play an important role in the plot, perhaps advising a new team just how to beat those alien suckers. Unfortunately, Will Smith will not be starring in the sequel, but his character's stepson will be "a central character". Shame. The dynamic duo was one of the best parts of the original, although they only teamed up at the end.
But can the reboot live up to the promise of the original?
Welcome to "Earf"
One of the pitfalls for reboots is if they take themselves too seriously. There has to be a good balance of individuality and homage to the original. There's a good chance that will manage to get this balance right: the first story is open to continuation, it has the same creative team behind it, and from the synopsis the writers are definitely considering the world shaking consequences of an attempted alien invasion.
With stars like Liam Hemsworth slated to appear in the film, Independence Day 2 could be the sci fi action flick of the decade. There have been many films that have tried to replicate Independence Day's success in the classic alien invasion story, but failed miserably (I'm looking at you, Skyline). Is this why we keep getting reboots instead of new films? Is it just because of nostalgia value, or is there another reason studios keep churning out tried and tested formulas?
Fanfic for the big screen
New films are a risk for studios. They have to have a good writing and directing team, a premise and plot that will appeal to audiences, and a cast that will bring fans in and carry the story well. In an age of media oversaturation, everyone is a movie buff. There are thousands of films that people can access at the click of a button, and let's face it, there aren't THAT many stories.
Most of the original films we see take inspiration from somewhere, be it a book or an older movie: Apocalypse Now is basically Heart Of Darkness, The Lion King is Hamlet, even Independence Day is essentially War Of The Worlds. Any fanfiction writer will tell you that emulating and recreating an existing story has its own challenges, but it's also really fun, both to create and to read. Isn't this just what Hollywood is doing: writing fanfic for itself, whether in the form of rebooting a franchise, adding sequels, or creating new(ish) films that mimic past successes.
And of course there's the nostalgia value: people love to see what they love, shinier and bigger and with better CGI. Even if you'd rather your faves were left alone, there's a kind of morbid curiosity in finding out just how they've been rebooted. In the case of Mad Max, a reboot can totally revolutionise a cult franchise that had sunk into fond memories.
So while it would be fantastic to see lots of new films, a new golden era of Hollywood, maybe we should just embrace the fact that everything is a reboot of something, be it a sequel of a long franchise, or a new film that borrows heavily from another story. Will we ever get tired of seeing the same things over and over again? Probably not. Each iteration brings a new perspective, slightly new characters, and a chance to relive the adventure.
Plus, I'm super excited to see the people of "Earf" kick more alien butt!