By Filthy Rich (New York)
There is a very thin line between a remake and a reboot that most actually get the two confused with each other. Neither one of them possess a concrete rule that classifies its structure and exhibits an obvious difference from one another. For example, a remake is supposed to honor the source material and not deviate from it, but instead, is constantly modernized with new philosophies that collaborate with older, more dated concepts that identifies further with the original, and usually just results in being an inconsistent mess; and a reboot, basically takes the original story and manipulates it until it reflects something completely different, which, on the surface may seem worse than a remake, and if done completely the way the guidelines insinuate and as incompetently as these corporations tend to do, then it’s about the same in my own eyes. It’s like asking in which way I prefer to die, being slowly digested over the course of a thousand years in the Sarlacc pit or spend a year with John Doe from Seven, participating in all his wacky shenanigans?
If a reboot is done correctly, it could actually assemble an artistic vision that is more appealing to the crowd then just letting sleeping dogs lie, or developing an original formula. Like pressing the reset button on the computer when you’ve received a virus that is untreatable. (Sequel to a movie with a large probability of failure) First you bring it back to the beginning, but then re-downloading the same software and components that made your computer functional in the first place; rebuilding the foundation of what you were comfortable with and that enabled your convenience and satisfaction.
When rebooting, all one wants to do is just get rid of the unwanted material that was sabotaging the progression of one’s operating system. For instance, Mad Max Fury Road: which was actually incorporated between films, instead of the beginning, continuing directly after their best film, Road Warrior, and possibly eliminating their weakest film (Thunderdome) from the franchise in the process; or at least pushing it into the far off future that doesn’t have to be acknowledged ever again in this brand new timeline, where the sky’s the limit with the amount of material that can be displayed with a young new actor in Tom Hardy and the introduction of brand new characters that can either be used as familiar supporting actors or actually branch off into separate movies, enriching the world with more deep considerations, covering additional ground that Max could not possibly do on his own. They stayed true to the history, continued the story as if it was just a sequel to the first two, and re-downloaded an upgraded version of the prior software: by hiring Tom Hardy to replace Mel Gibson, who is now too old for the part.
This guideline seems to endorse the best quality of success, displayed in other movies like Planet of the Apes, National Lampoon’s Vacation (that may or may not be good, depending on the craft itself, but conceptually in abidance to the rules), the outline of the new Aliens reboot: picking up with the original actors, where the second movie left off, erasing all the horrible films that came after it. Theoretically, a great idea and again, following the science; but whether it is accepted or not all depends on the quality of the art itself and the loyalty to the source material. Unlike, what I hear about the new Terminator reboot, where they are actually terminating the historical foundation of what people loved about these films, and reintroducing a new idea in order to profit from a forced expanded universe, breaking the first rule of a crisis situation. Their franchise was dead after T2, with repeated failures in their attempts to continue the story, so instead of stimulating these movies with a more energized feel and rebirth, their solution is to wipe out everything they actually did correct, and involve these characters in an alternate, unrecognizable plot? Big mistake!
All this will cause is a divisive position with fans who will despise it on principle, semi-fans whom will be uncertain on how they feel about it, and regular movie fans whom just liked it or didn’t care to see it, but either way, this limited following keeps the film in mediocre or below average status that will eventually destroy the franchise completely, no matter how good the movie is on its own. Without the love of super-fans and percentage of normal fans, it will never remain in cult status, which is what issues the longevity a franchise needs to become legendary. You don’t alienate the super-fans because they are the minority; you use the tool that works in order to create more and repeat history in a positive way, not a negative way; like what they did with the Star Trek reboot.
Star Trek is a prime example of what happens when the art itself is exceptional, but ironically, the laws of science in creating a successful reboot is not followed. A good movie was made, but they destroyed its legacy and the fans of the original Star Trek films with it. By not respecting the source material and foundation established; by simply taking the eraser and wiping everything clean, they killed the true crew of the Starship Enterprise, in all versions and every adventure they experienced; and every tear that was shed in sacrifice for the rest of the universe; and every laugh that helped to build touching relationships between them and the audience… all gone.
It was a prime candidate for a remake because of the age of the actors, and all the different versions of the show and their movies; or maybe a new version in an alternate dimension, where the old and new meet, giving a new outlook validation through identical history, with a threat that alters the progression to their bad movies, giving a perfect opportunity of a retelling, opening up the future as an undiscovered country. Instead, now they are only reliant on the superficial physical appearance of their new films, and when gone, whether through a few unsuccessful attempts or lack of interest, without the Lore that assembled the cult following of devoted Trekkies, Star Trek will simply vanish in the altered time as if it never existed.
They made this transition perfectly in X-Men: Days of Future Past. They were not only able to establish younger actors in future roles like James McAvoy as Charles Xavior and Michael Fassbender as Eric Lehnsherr, but also allowed fans to revisit the memories they had for the older actors like Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellen as the older versions of these characters; and at the same time, eliminating all the unwanted material that caused so many inconsistencies with the plot and distain with the fans who legitimately wanted to love this project, but still, not only keeping the core principles of the story, but readily enforcing it. Rebuilding a new house on a great foundation, not tearing up the foundation as well or why bother building there in the first place.
The key is, to take specific elements from each: remake and reboot and create a hybrid of all the best qualities, arranging them in a particular way that assists the audience in feeling that it is more like a sequel than anything else; an extension from where they left off, or where the fans preferred them to have left off. A perfect example of this is the James Bond franchise: with constant plot revival and alternate actors, they abide by the fundamental laws of a reboot, but also incorporate the story guideline of a remake by not changing the origin of the character’s participating in each movie, just reintroduces them in some form or fashion that assists the hero in his new adventures and circumstances; and because of this method, James Bond can live forever as the longest running franchise and the most iconic character on the big screen without the threat of being surpassed by any other; and when possible, to try and reuse the same actors from the first run in order to legitimize the revival, when introducing an alternate cast, like Judi Dench for example, who played M, Bond’s boss; but this is the an anomalistic scenario for a reboot.
Ultimately, these corporations will continue to remake and reboot any property they can get their hands on, and mostly, not abiding by the rules with complete naiveté or arrogance, like: Annie, Conan, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or the soon to be released Lethal Weapon, Gremlins, The Crow or Fantastic Four. As long as there is money to be made, there will always be successes to exploit, and although, those successes DO, on occasion, wind up doing its job precisely how one would want, I still stand my ground with absolutely no confidence in their decision making or intentions and cry out with a heavy heart from all the failures weighing on my mind, knowing that at least 90% of the time I’ll be correct when saying, “You’re doing it wrong”.
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