The Jurassic Park franchise seems a lot like its main draw – it keeps dying out, then getting resurrected through increasingly flimsy means as an excuse every few years. We’re getting another movie soon, and while the temptation to see it remains because I both love Chris Pratt and dinosaurs, I also know that there’s literally no movie that has been made or will ever be made that can actually live up to what was done with the first film.
Which itself was less of a great film and more of a long love letter to special effects with a fairly straightforward plot, but at least it inspired one of the best fan videos of all time.
But I have to say, the discordant screeching of that right there is how I feel when I fire up pretty much any video game based on the franchise. Every single time. I’m not saying that every single one of them is terrible, I’m saying that none of them really replicate what Jurassic Park is or was, and we might need to find a different way to get our dinosaur-shooting impulses out in video game form. A different, non-Turok way, preferably.
I was excited for the launch of the Combiner Wars subline for Transformers, because I really like giant robots that transform and I really like when those giant transforming robots themselves transform into combined robots. But I was also apprehensive, because I had a pretty strong feeling that it was going to mean a whole bunch of the same thing we see every time. And sure enough, we have another Optimus Prime, and the first two combiners are the Aerialbots and the Stunticons.
This was not altogether surprising. As we prepare for another Spider-man movie that yet again sets the clock back to the earliest stories, it’s worth asking the question of why we keep feeling the need to retell these stories until we’re all blue in the face. It’s not that there’s a problem with remaking things; I quite like when someone takes something familiar and puts a new twist on it. I am, however, less thrilled when that “new twist” is just an update in the time of release.
The Matrix is one of those things that was a very big deal when it came out and then faded in importance about five minutes later. It’s been a decade since the last film, and the odds of us seeing another one are slim to none. Which is a shame, because it’s still a franchise I like quite a bit, even if I’d like it more if we had gotten the prequel-and-sequel the Wachowskis had originally wanted instead of the single sequel split into two parts.
If you like pretending the two sequels didn’t happen, imagine them as one lean two-hour film and start falling in love again.
We’ve seen three games based on the franchise, with one of them (The Matrix Online) both failing to live up to the promise of that concept and completely failing to deliver on what was originally conceived of in a persistent universe. It kind of makes sense, if you think about it. Even though the movies look great and prompt lots of thoughts vis-a-vis “man, it’d be great to play this as a game,” the whole thing winds up being a really hard project from the word go.
Being a fan of Transformers insulated me pretty well. I don’t mean a casual fan that didn’t realize the franchise had run pretty much continuously in one form or another since 1984, the generation that played with the toys as kids and then realized that Michael Bay was making a movie based on that franchise. I mean that I was a fan as soon as I was old enough to understand what the show was. I wrote a long string of fanfics about stuff during Beast Wars. I was a big fan.
So I sure as hell was disappointed when the film turned out to be a terrible cluster of explosions and bland, ignorable characters. But I also knew the difference between that and childhood ruination, which would be impossible without the aid of a multi-directional time machine.
I’m not saying that this franchise and the characters it contained were not childhood icons, because they totally were. I’m saying that the internet is full of people who have either never ended their childhoods or have some really weird ideas about how things happening now would affect their younger selves. If your childhood is being ruined by a modern remake of something you enjoyed when you were younger? Your childhood is way too fragile.