I think everyone in this country of ours has come to accept the fact that the consumer artifacts of our childhood will continue to be sold to us as we progress through the many stages of life.
Childhood: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are awesome! I?want all the toys!
Teenage years: Hey, did you hear they're making another Ninja Turtles movie? There is no way it will be anything but 90 minutes of CGI garbage ... let's preorder tickets now.
20s-30s: Well I know I like the Ninja Turtles, I'm sure my kids will too!
40s-60s: I'm buying my son the old Ninja Turtles cartoon on Blu Ray. I don't care if he wants a baseball glove, he's getting the Ninja Turtles!
70s-over: "Hey Grandpa, what are you watching?"
"Oh, this is the Ninja Turtles show on that Cartoon Classics channel ... also, watch out for roving motorcycle gangs when you go outside."
I just assume when I?reach my 70s there will be endless hordes of roving motorcycle gangs.
I got used to having my childhood marketed to me over and over again. I?got used to the idea that gummy vitamins for adults were just a real product now and I learned how to move on.
And however pervasive I once thought this youth product re-branding was, it pales in comparison to the recent onslaught of that most heinous of re-branding tactics, the Gritty Reboot.
The Gritty Reboot is when a beloved character or TV show is taken from the recent past (for example: Bill Nye the Science Guy), is stripped of everything you liked about it (No more learning! Kids have iPhones for learning) add a whole bunch of things to confuse previous fans (Bill Nye is now called Bax Nyland, Brain Hunter) throw in a war crime's worth of dead bodies (Bax Nyland shoots thousands of cyborg zombies with his Science Gunz) and cut a movie trailer so dark and atmospheric the producers must have deluded themselves into thinking they were in contention for an Oscar.
Viola! Gritty Reboot achieved!
Just how many of these wretched remakes are coming soon to a theater near you? In the past two years we've already had to sit through gritty reboots of Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, the board game Battleship, and Santa Claus, thanks to a little piece of claptrap called "Rise of the Guardians."
And I've already seen the beginnings of the marketing machine rolling out "Jack the Giant Slayer," which is, of course, a gritty reboot of Jack and the Beanstalk.
"But Wes," I'm sure at least one of you is saying, "these old fairy tales used to be pretty gruesome; maybe they're just making them more accurate to the source material?"
There is no such thing as an "accurate" fairy tale. And if they wanted to be more accurate to the source material these movies would all involve the kids dying at the end. And the bubonic plague. And they would be racist ... super racist.
Selling me expensive collector's edition Blu Rays of old cartoons is one thing, my generation's love of nostalgia operates on a hair trigger. But as soon as I saw Jeremy Renner dual wielding witch killing handguns with the words "Hansel and Gretel" below I?knew that a corner had been turned.
And never being one to fight the inevitable I offer you a brief sampling of my gritty reboot of "A Nation Burns," entitled
"Burns: An Oath in Steel and Fire."
Get down! What are you doing? Reading? What do you expect to read? The forgotten words of a man lost in a world he doesn't understand? Jokes? Nothing is funny. We're already dead and we don't even know it. Now get behind the bunker, here comes another wave of cyborg zombies! EXPLOSION SOUNDS!
Hilarious, right? It's everything you love about the column (it has words) and a whole bunch of stuff you're bound to hate (I'd imagine the zombie stuff and the nihilism). Look for the movie in the summer of 2014.
Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.