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Hollywood Is Officially Ruining Your Childhood

Hollywood Is Officially Ruining Your Childhood

Hollywood is obsessed with reboots. For an industry based on creativity and originality, what could possibly be a better strategy for success than simply remaking something they know people will shell out $10 to go sit through just like they did 20 years ago?

With a slate of reboots, remakes and sequels all headed to theaters soon, we look at five franchises from your childhood that Hollywood should just leave alone.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

When it was great:

Though TMNT started as a gritty, surprisingly violent comic book series, the franchise hit its cultural peak in the late ’80s when a toy line and children’s cartoon made Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael household names. They even spawned a great arcade game and one of the world’s hardest Nintendo games. If you were born between 1981and 1988 there’s a good chance you owned a few pieces of Ninja Turtle merchandise.

Why it now (could be) terrible:

There have been no shortage of TMNT adaptations since their ’90s heyday, but the latest iteration—due out this summer—may be the final straw. Along with unsettling, human-like noses, questions about distorting the origins story and some ill-advised marketing, the film is also allowing for the promotion of the world’s worst theme song. What have you done Wiz Khalifa? What have you done?


When it was great:

In the ’80s, not only were Transformers the coolest toy you could own—they were awesome vehicles that reshaped into laser-gun wielding robots from outer space!—they were also a great entertainment franchise. The TV show and original animated film are classics that actually managed to give space robots compelling human narratives. I remember crying when I first saw this scene (I was 5 years old, but still):

Why it’s now terrible:

You may not have realized this, but the last three Transformers movies have gotten 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes—that is, if you add all three of their rankings. (The sequels made the first installment, that got a 56 percent, look like Citizen Kane.) To date though, the franchise has brought in more than $1 billion in box-office ticket revenue, and with at least two more movies in the works, Transformers aren’t going anywhere. The movies have basically become large-scale car commercials stitched together with special effects, lame dialogue and the worst one-liners ever unleashed by Michael Bay. I remember crying when I first saw the 2007 film (I was in my twenties, but still, it was just so bad).

Spongebob Squarepants

When it was great:

Depending on how old you are, this one might not qualify as a “childhood” favorite (it debuted in 1999), but most millennials have some memory of tuning into Nickelodeon for some surprisingly high-minded slapstick from Spongebob and the gang. It was a weird, subversive, old-school style cartoon that worked on a lot of levels.

Why it now (could be) terrible:

The trailer for the new 3D movie (which is technically a sequel to 2004’s The Spongebob Squarepants Movie) was just released, and seriously, what the heck is happening in this clip from SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water?

Why is the Bikini Bottom gang all muscled up to the point of being unrecognizable? Who thought it would be a good idea to make a beloved cartoon into a creepy-looking live-action movie? Why is Slash playing an acoustic guitar? So many questions.


When it was great:

Sure, the 1982 movie opened to mix reviews—even though it was one of the most commercially successful films of the year. But, the Broadway musical and original Little Orphan Annie comic strips are beloved classics. The soundtrack alone, anchored by iconic tunes including “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and “Tomorrow,” is a gem of late ’70s and ’80s American pop culture. By all accounts, it’s a franchise that should probably be left to Broadway revivals and nostalgic sing-a-longs.

Why it now (could be) terrible:

The Internet was not kind following the release of this trailer for the upcoming remake starring Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz:

Along with laugh-free punch lines, (Diaz: “Aren’t I supposed to be married to George Clooney?” Orphan/foster child: “Who’s George Clooney?” Diaz: “Exactly, girlfriend. Exactly.” Seriously, this is the most well-crafted joke they could find in the entire movie to open the trailer with?) and overacting and overall unnecessariness of the entire project, trying to bring a Broadway hit to the big screen is known to spectacularly backfire. Come on Hollywood, Quvenzhané Wallis is a phenomenal young actress and deserves better than this.


When it was great:

Gremlins was the perfect blend of ’80s movie magic. It was a mix of scary fun, coming-of-age heroism and slapstick comedy. There is no reason to revisit a movie that is firmly grounded in such an immediately-identifiable era of pop culture.

Why it now (could be) terrible:

Part of the charm of the Gremlins was the weird animatronic characters that blurred the line between movie magic and actual toys you could buy at the store. No one wants to see terrifying life-like, CGI monsters on the big screen. Especially not 12-year-old kids that the movie was originally marketed to.

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