Rebootan Verboten

The Salem Witch trials, the Satanic Panic, QAnon, feminist reactions to completely normal things, or Joe Biden getting asked a question. These are examples of dramatic, unjustifiable responses by a group of paranoid people to a perceived and imagined threat. In many cases the responses are like a hair-trigger, getting set off by the simplest things. This is my response to the news of any of my childhood favorites getting a reboot; dramatic, paranoid, and unreasonable. And I’m fine with that.

You see, my experience with reboots is replete with trauma and disappointment. Ghostbusters (2016) a movie the franchise owners now pretend doesn’t exist (except in their nightmares). Star Wars Battlefront (2015) had all the delights of a mugger who just stole fifty bucks from you (conveniently how much that game cost). The Star Wars episodes 7-9 make me think fondly of Darth Jar-Jar and the totally-not-creepy “romance” of 1-3 (I like putting things in parentheses don’t you?). Other reboots include He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (it was rather ominous when they removed He-Man from the name), She-Ra (just canceled), James Bond (definitely shaken and not stirred but probably not in the way you want), and apparently King of the Hill (not yet out, but I tell you hwhat, I’m nervous).

Now you might be thinking, “Franklin, you are overdramatic, paranoid, and rambling.” And I say “yes.” But you know what, I stand on this hill and will probably end up dying on this hill (an aneurism?). Reboots are nice in thought. But when they come into existence they always seem to leave so much to be desired. Are the effects better? Usually. Is the acting better? Depends. However, these benefits always seem to come with the downside of the refurbished property losing what made it so. Its pathos and ethos. The thing that originally made you love the thing; say what you want about all those old 80s metal bands, they still sound the same as they did back in the day. You know, except way older.

When you make a reboot, too often they are trying to find ways to “improve” it. Sometimes they do. The Mandolorian does a masterful job of having amazing effects, music, and reasonably good acting. However, the most important factor is that it manages to encapsulate and project something that is sufficiently and necessarily Star Wars. Or at least one aspect of it. That being the gritty, Western-esque feel.

That is the most important thing. Capturing the original pathos and ethos of the original. We love what we love for a reason. They are not perfect. But attempts to improve usually invoke the rather disturbing image of someone walking around in a skinsuit pretending to be the thing. It produces a real sense of revulsion, resentment, and rage. If someone were to walk into our domiciles and completely reorder them, i.e., paint the walls, switch around furniture and belongings, and then claim to have improved them, we would likely be outraged. Yes, there might be real improvements, but that’s OURS.

This whole discussion can easily be linked to the overuse of the sequel. Something that is painted as being familiar, being clearly not. In the end, I am unlikely to watch these reboots (unless annoying people promise to buy me popcorn; I am easily bribed). Because at the end of the day, my paranoia is usually warranted it would seem. Essentially, movie executives, directors, and producers are incentivized to take the route of least resistance to our wallets This is, of course, taking something we know and love and making it their own. It doesn’t matter the untold trauma it causes poor little nerds like me (*the world’s smallest violin*).


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