I think there was even some doubt by Joel Hodgson and company on whether or not fans wanted a reboot of MST3K. Sure, the merchandise sells well, but most reboots of nineties properties have either stunk or just failed to deliver, period. Plus it’s not like the show was around for a short time like “Firefly” or “Freaks and Geeks.” It was on ten years and even earned a movie of its own. Surprisingly enough fans proved that the show is just as special to them as it is to Joel Hodgson and his crew of brilliant creators that gave us the original series. Like all the other fans, “MST3K” has a very special place in my heart and I have such a deep bond with its characters and love for its formula. So naturally I was frightened the reboot would be stale.
As we all saw with Tarantino a few years ago, the idea of Will Smith in a Western isn’t a bad one. Smith has a modern look that’s not accessible for every film, but with the right director Smith could shine. It’s just too bad he straddled himself to Barry Sonnenfeld who casts Will in one of the most poorly conceived TV to movie adaptations of all time. “Wild Wild West” is worse than “Beverly Hillbillies” and “Charlie’s Angels” combined. What’s worse is that director Sonnenfeld has absolutely no idea how to utilize Smith in a Western setting. So by the time the movie has started, rather than rely on the pulpy martial arts theme from the original series, the movie just becomes a showcase for Will Smith to be Will Smith. Even in the old West, Smith is the wise cracking, shade wearing, cowboy who is a hit with the ladies.
I like the premise behind “Superargo,” and while he’s not the most competent superhero, I think in the serial world he could have thrived. The Spanish Italian superhero is a wrestler who once accidentally killed one of his opponents. Seeking redemption he spends his time as a superhero known as Superargo. Superargo is a man who has a ton of superpowers, none of which are ever too effective against his enemies in “The Faceless Giants.” He knows martial arts, and has the power to persuade people to do his bidding. He can also hover in mid-air as a means of meditation, can bend matter to his will, and is apparently bullet proof when it’s convenient to the narrative.
Before the public at large were aware of Nick Fury, ABC’s long struggling “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” and the overall organization from the Marvel Cinematic movies, there were 1998’s “Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Long ago when comic book movies were still concepts and properties that studios were hesitant to touch, FOX Studios in America aired the TV movie/pilot movie to little fanfare. Said movie starred David Hasselhoff (cast by virtue of the fact that he looks like classic Nick Fury and nothing more) fresh off of “Baywatch,” and starring as the classic Nick Fury before his re-imagining in the aughts in the Samuel L. Jackson mold. The classic Col. Nick Fury was a tough and grizzled war veteran with dark hair and signature white on the sides. He also donned the trademark eye patch and cigar, leading one of the most covert and top secret organizations in the Marvel Universe.
I’m not going to argue that “Power Rangers” isn’t a movie made by a committee. The action loving, kid in me, however, really enjoyed what “Power Rangers” had to offer. It really is a re-imagining of the “Mighty Morphin” era of “Power Rangers” but tackles every plot element and universe building idea with so much more finesse and logic. The reason why these Rangers control robotic dinosaurs makes sense. The reason why Alpha Five is so important makes sense. Zordon being so crucial to helping the Rangers makes so much sense. The diversity is so much more natural and fluid than the original TV series, where everything just felt tacked on for broader appeal. Best of all, the blue ranger finally gets his due in a movie where he is the heart and soul of the entire group.
I loved “Ben 10” when it premiered back in the early aughts. I watched it for a long time, and even followed a few of the unnecessary reboots. While the more modern iterations have stunk, I still love the mythos, and how the producers took a failed attempt at “Dial H for Hero” and transformed it in to a unique science fiction series. Cartoon Network and Alex Winter go to great pains to keep this an accurate film for the audience. Ben looks just like Ben, Gwen looks as if she lifted off the one dimensional series, and Max is pretty close. Not quite, but I accepted Lee Majors in the role, since his gravitas compensates for the inherent lack of faithfulness to the character mold.
It’s such a shame we never got to see more of “Star Kid” down the road, as it had potential to break out in to its own kids franchise. Sure concepts like these are a dime a dozen these days, but “Star Kid” had a lot of interesting ideas behind it. It’s “The Guyver” meets “ET” with a hint of “Green Lantern” and I wouldn’t have minded seeing this idea explored with other alien species attempting to invade Earth, all the while exploring the larger abilities of this suit. “Star Kid” is one of those science fiction action films that came and went with barely a notice in 1997. I think it deserves a lot more credit for its ideas and great monsters.
By 1993, Robocop had turned from a Christ allegory with a vicious blood streak to a bonafide kids’ mascot who was appearing on lunch boxes and Saturday morning cartoons. Thus was the weird period of the eighties and nineties where even folks like Conan, Rambo, Chuck Norris, and heck, even Freddy Krueger became kiddie fodder. The official final go around for Robocop is a tame and pretty dull 1993 film that director Fred Dekker is saddled with, that takes Robocop in to more family friendly territory right down to having a spunky child sidekick. Not much has happened for Robocop and Detroit since the first two films, as the city is still very much under the death grip of crime, while OCP still controls every going on. Dekker has a lot of catching up to do and sadly doesn’t deliver much in the way of a great sequel, as “Robocop 3” essentially repeats a lot of the same beats from the first two films.