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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

ROCKY BALBOA and retconning movie series

Apparently Rocky Balboa - which premieres in theaters tomorrow - references ever single previous Rocky movie... except Rocky V. Sylvester Stallone is now being quoted in a few places as saying the reason he wanted to make Rocky Balboa was to make people forget about how bad Rocky V was.

In other words, as of this week, it's possible that Rocky V should no longer be considered part of Rocky continuity at all.

Remember a few months back when Superman Returns came out, and how it "wiped out" the third and fourth Superman movies from "really" happening? Now the same thing is happening to the Rocky saga: the biggest mistakes are being erased. They're being eliminated by "retroactive continuity", AKA "retconning". And I think it's terrific!

In hindsight, there are a lot of movie series, that were otherwise brilliant before getting tarnished by mediocre sequels, that could be getting this treatment. F'rinstance: Burt Reynolds should play the Bandit one more time... and play him throughout the movie this time... in one final installment that makes us forget that the series ended with Smokey and the Bandit Part 3...Then there's this possibility that comes to mind...King Conan: Crown of Iron was an actual movie project about five years ago. John Milius had written the script and was set to direct it, with production by the Wachowski Brothers (of The Matrix fame). I was able to read the script in 2003 and it was one of the most beautiful and brutal screenplays I've ever found... and it ties in perfectly with the original Conan the Barbarian, like the scene where he's again praying to Crom. Had it been produced, King Conan: Crown of Iron would have made us all forget that Conan the Destroyer ever happened. Sadly, with Arnold Schwarzenegger now in politics (with no signs of returning to acting), and now that both Mako and Basil Poledouris have passed away, this one doesn't stand much chance of ever getting made. But it would have been a wonderful thing to have been able to behold.

And then, there is this: the movie series that I think most deserves, if not outright screaming for, a chance for a make-over...Alien 3 went through something like 40 writers: that should tell you how big a mess the movie was even if you've never seen it. Alien Resurrection had moments of pure genius, like when the queen is giving birth with a human reproductive system (and it didn't hurt to have Ron Perlman in it either). Otherwise, it really didn't resonate along with the first two entries in the Alien series. In my mind at least, the last thing we saw of canon story from the Alien saga was Ripley and Newt and Hicks and Bishop turning-in for the long journey back home. I believe they're still en route to Earth and whatever happened in Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection are just bad dreams that Ripley is having while in hypersleep... if even that. There needs to be a new Alien movie: one that completely repudiates the events of the third and fourth installments. Heck, William Gibson wrote an awesome script for Alien 3 almost twenty years ago and it was never used: why not just adapt that and set the story 20 years later after the Sulaco returned to Earth? Actually, I would love to see the alien be brought to Earth and start multiplying, and an older/more world-weary Ripley get called back to help eliminate the creatures. Even if Sigourney Weaver wouldn't agree to return to the role of Ripley, I think a top-quality Alien story that picks up the story from the end of Aliens would definitely be appreciated, so long as it does away with Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection.

There's probably more movie series that would benefit from the treatment that the Superman, and now Rocky sagas are getting. In the long term scheme of things, this might be the one strategy that will ensure that these movie series would still be discovered and enjoyed by future generations, instead of writing them off wholesale because of lackluster sequels.