This is more likely an issue of semantics really, but I really have an issue with the term rebooting when it comes to movies or TV shows. Especially with long running franchises where you’re not totally re-starting from scratch but re-using and building on what is already there.
Take for instance the new Superman movie that is coming out next year. The majority of mentions it gets adds the word reboot to it. The same thing happened to Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, the Amazing Spider-Man movie and Star Trek (which as much as I disliked that movie, might actually be the closest to fit the definition of a reboot).
Using Batman for one example, he’s been around since 1939, so 83 years. In that time all the main building blocks have remained the same. One caveat, I realize there is some new stuff with DC doing a “reboot” on all their stuff, I’m not counting that in this. The story of his parents’ deaths, his training, his rule of not killing (at least not directly) his adversaries and there’s more, but you get picture, has not changed through the years. However certain things have changed, his costume, his car, his gadgets, to put it simply he’s evolved with the times. The Nolan Batman fit our time, like the Burton Batman did its and Adam West’s way back in the day. You wouldn’t go saying every time there’s a new evolution that Batman was rebooted, so why are we saying it with these movies and other movies with iconic long lasting characters, when the main important things stay the same it’s just done with a different vision.
Moving to Star Trek as a contrast and why I consider it closer to a reboot definition, J.J. pretty much threw out almost everything but the character names and ran with it. He totally changed the status quo in the Star Trek Universe by throwing out the canon and making his own. It was ballsy and while I personally didn’t appreciate his vision, it was successful. The real beauty of what J.J. pulled off by doing what he did is, love him or hate him, he’s got buzz generating around Star Trek that hasn’t been seen in some time. He’s got people guessing what the heck is going to happen next and it’s because of his throwing out the old and totally rebooting.
I realize the whole “reboot” thing is just a word and doesn’t actually mean anything when it comes to the movies. I’m sure Hollywood has their own definition of reboot that we wouldn’t understand. Why can’t they simply say, “We’re making another Spider-Man with a new director and cast with a whole new vision and set of ideas.”, rather than saying, “We’re rebooting Spider-Man.”
One more thing, and I add this for disclosure purposes. Personally I did not like the direction J.J. took with Star Trek. Maybe at some point I’ll do a whole article on that one explaining why I didn’t. I know there are a lot of people out there who do like it and I’m glad they do. My hope is that it leads them to the Original Series, TNG, DS9, Voyager and even Enterprise. As long as there is buzz mentioning it I’m happy.
So, until next time….
Originally posted December 14, 2012