What is the deal with movie reboots?

Photo from 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle'

Photo from ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’

What makes them not suck

By Katie Czenczek, Contributor

Oh, the wonderful world of movie reboots. At times they can offer nostalgic reinterpretations of films from our childhood that are adapted to a modern audience… or they are absolute garbage.

Before I get into what makes a good reboot, we need to differentiate between a remake, sequel, and reboot. Remakes are when a (usually) old film is brought to a new audience where most of the plot, characters, and setting remain the same. Sequels are the follow-up to a story, and there are often returning characters. The plot needs to line up with the first film, but preferably does not completely imitate it. Movie reboots are neither remakes nor sequels. They are the complete revival of a previous character or world, where new actors are brought into the mix along with new stories. Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy would count as a reboot when compared to the 1989 Batman. For all of the Michael Keatons and Christian Bales of the world, it can be absolutely fascinating to revamp a seemingly closed film or TV series by giving it an entirely new direction. Alternatively, they just cause heartbreak and disappointment to the hard-core fan base.

Now that that’s been cleared up, let’s get into what makes a good movie reboot. First, we must discuss how it ruins a film to crush a writer and director’s vision all for the sake of maintaining the status quo. Movie reboots are not supposed to be about completely copying every single detail the previous movie had. They are supposed to go off the beaten trail to find a way to revive a series that already has five different interpretations of how a main character should act, or what they should look like. The reason that any series reboot works is hinged on whether there has been a noticeable change in plot, how the character is viewed, and the antagonist. However, everything cannot be completely changed or else the story will alienate fans of the “original” series. Mad Max: Fury Road does this the right way by introducing new and interesting characters, while still keeping to the same twisted and dystopian world. New and old fans alike can enjoy the new movie without feeling like it completely ripped off the first film or made it unrecognizable.

Another huge error that goes overlooked in film is rebooting a franchise that has not been dormant for very long. From the Spider-Man series to the Amazing Spider-Man series to this year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, there has been only a 15-year span between the three reboots. This is only a problem if the upcoming film allows for it to be. Where Amazing Spider-Man crumbled was that it went into Peter Parker’s origin story just as Spider-Man did, while adding nothing that made the origin story seem worth retelling. The origin story may have been important to recreate if there was a 20-year gap in order to introduce the story to new fans, but within such a short span of time it was needless. This differs from Spider-Man: Homecoming. From what we know thus far about the upcoming movie, they do not relive Uncle Ben’s death scene, and pick up with a more seasoned Peter Parker, when he has been Spider-Man for longer. This gives me hope that there will finally be a Spider-Man that is beloved by hard-core comic fans and causal superhero movie lovers alike. Also, Tom Holland is arguably the first Spider-Man to actually look like a teenage boy.

Whether or not producers of a movie remake are just trying to make a quick dollar by using a character’s famous name or not, the least they could do is ensure that the movies they reboot are well-written and original, and provide a new way of looking at a character. This is why it is pivotal that writers and directors have agency when creating reboots.      Hugh Jackman’s goodbye to X-Men is a testament to the need of supporting artistic vision. Though Logan can be considered part of the X-Men franchise, the way this film brought Wolverine into a new light allowed for character development not seen in the previous films. He was centered, humanized, and not simply an action hero with cool one-liners.

With all of the movie reboots that are happening, all I can ask is that they take more time to really delve into a world or character. That way, a story’s—and character’s—full potential can be seen, original or not.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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