THE PLANK MAY 28, 2009
Yes, I know that's an awfully high bar, especially of late. But the news that producer Fran Rubel Kuzui is considering a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" movie that would probably not involve Joss Whedon in any capacity, nor any of the cast of the television show, nor even the subsidiary characters from the show (Willow, Xander, Angel, etc.) may put it into contention for the honor.
The idea, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is that the project would be a relaunch/reboot, or perhaps even a remake of the original 1992 movie that spawned the TV series. That film, of course, was at best a marginal success, and surely the only reason there's any appetite for a remake is the long-running fan- and critic-beloved show, approximately no elements of which Kuzui evidently intends to replicate.
In the article, a comparison is made--as I fear it will be by any human being who owns the rights to any memorable franchise for the foreseeable future--to the success of Star Trek. Now, I would point out that one difference between the two situations is that the original "Star Trek" series went off the air forty years ago, so the cast was far too old to reprise their roles--I would point that out, but director J.J. Abrams worked in 78-year old Leonard Nimoy anyway. More germane perhaps is the fact the Star Trek reboot did feature all the subsidiary characters from the show (Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Chekhov, Sulu). It's a pretty safe bet that if, instead, it had been about Jim Kirk's first journey to the stars with Captain Pike and a crew made up of new characters, its box office would have suffered dramatically.
But most foolish of all is the (apparent) freezing out of Whedon, who invented--and then reinvented--the character in the first place. Whedon's only real bite at the feature-film apple to date was the terrific (if terrifically underviewed) Serenity, which I maintain would have made a bundle if a) Universal had forced Whedon to abandon the ironic title, which made the picture sound like the story of a divorcee who moves to Tuscany; and b) the studio had spent as much money promoting the movie as I spend on a typical lunch. Whedon deserves another shot at the big screen, and it's hard to think of a more obvious project than "Buffy."
But though he created the character, he doesn't own the character, and Kuzui can do with her as she pleases, even if it infuriates afficionados and earns a shrug from everyone else. Still, while fans may lack the resources to make their own "Buffy" film, that doesn't mean some enterprising soul can't make a new "Buffy" trailer, as Peter Suderman points out folks have done recently with Transforminators (arguably better than the McG film) and The Green Lantern (likely better than anything Hollywood will offer). Sometimes, if you want something done right...