Reboots, like Sam Beckett’s leaps, are unpredictable. Some times you get awesome, realistic Batmannery; sometimes you get a fantastic update of Battlestar Galactica ; and sometimes you get a Bionic Woman no watches.
Misfires aside, there is a lot to be said for the reboot as a means of transferring a good story into a new time period. But why does it go so wrong sometimes?What are the do’s and don’t’s? Join us as the Blogbusters ask:
Prequels and reboots have a lousy, and often deserved, reputation, but what do you think would benefit from a prequel or a reboot? Can the do over be used for good rather than ill?
Matt Risley: Hmm. Batman Begins , Buffy and Battlestar Galactica aside, it’s hard to think of any reboots that have actually cut the creative mustard. The only things to be learnt from their lessons – other than starting your programme/film’s name with a B – are that there needs to be a worthy and truly justifiable reason to revamp in the first place. If it’s been dead for a while or come to a canonical creative dead-end, then fair enough. If you just want fresh faces to front your latest marketing campaign, then you're doomed before you even begin. Other than that, a stressed importance on focusing on the franchise’s core appeal is the fundamental key factor; any modernisation or “artistic license” has to come after.
Laura McConnell: Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything I’d like to see given the reboot treatment, but I do think the reboot can be used for good rather than evil. Personally, I enjoy the new Thundercats cartoon; Star Trek XI is a favorite; and while it’s not exactly genre, I don’t think one should forget Sherlock in this discussion. It’s lovely, too! So, not all reboots are the great pools of suck that give the idea its reputation. Most, mind you, but not all.
Steven Ellis: Hmmmm, prequels... Guess what I’ll probably end up mentioning...
Prequels and reboots are just like anything else. If the script and the idea are good, and the film is well made then they can be a good thing. I won’t dismiss a remake or prequel off hand. I know some people do. There are good sequels and bad, there are good reboots and bad. We all have different loves and hates and it comes down to how we feel about them individually. There are remakes and reboots that we think we don’t need until we see them and end up loving them love them. On the other hand if we don’t love them then we feel vindicated in our initial, “Don’t need a prequel/reboot” opinions and say Hollywood should do some new stuff for a change...
Hollywood seems to like to remake and reboot stuff a lot, not that that's a bad thing. We’ve been doing it as a society since the first stories were told and I doubt we’re going to stop. That isn’t to say original films and first time adaptations don’t happen. They do happen; they happen all the time, they just don’t seem to have the same stigma attached to them as reboots and prequels do for some reason.
As to what I’d like to see given the prequel or reboot treatment; I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. I am looking forward to the Dredd reboot coming later this year, and I’m also looking forward to Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel. There’s plenty of new books and comics out there that I’d like to see given the movie treatment and Hollywood is tackling some of them as we speak; Spielberg filming Robopocalypse and the upcoming movie adaptation of Max Brook’s World War Z are two that come to mind.
Prequels and reboots can be a great thing, Chris Nolan’s Batman reboot for example or JJ Abram's 2009 Star Trek or 2011’s X-Men: First Class , all excellent examples of reboots and prequels that have gone down a storm. It’s when somebody looks at a film from 30 years ago and decides they have something new to say about it when in reality they don’t and we just end up with a rehash of something that didn’t really need rehashing. The Wicker Tree , Superman Returns , The Day the Earth Stood Still and most of the remakes of Japanese horror. I think it’s probably examples like these that give the reboot/prequel a bad name and I don’t think that's going to change any time soon...
Hey look... I didn't mention Star Wars (except for just then)…
Alasdair Stuart: Yes the reboot can absolutely be used for good. Look at the Nolan Batman movies, as my learned colleagues have pointed out, or Star Trek XI , or...well...
… Doctor Who
Because let’s face it, Doctor Who ’s on its 11th reboot, in terms of leading actor at any rate, and that seems to be working out rather well.
Anyway, in terms of what would benefit from an actual reboot, I actually have two answers, the first of which is Reboot .
Anyone who didn’t see this missed out on an absolute treat. Reboot was a very early 1990s cartoon about the inhabitants of a computer, which as far as they were concerned was a huge metropolis. There were the usual heroes and villains but what really made it stand out was the idea of the games the computer user playing being inflicted on the city. The games would download, change the city and it would be up to Bob, the city’s defender, to defeat the User and shut the game down before it did irrevocable damage.
The design of the show was extraordinary but what really made it sing were the narrative choices. There are a couple of genuine, and huge, surprises in there that I won’t spoil. Suffice to say it does some incredibly brave things, especially for the time it was created and they would all plug, beautifully, into a reboot of... Reboot .
The other one is Quantum Leap . The story of the nicest man in the universe, Doctor Sam Beckett, and his journey up and down his time stream, Quantum Leap was alternately ridiculously cuddly and cheerfully willing to break its format. A two-part episode saw Sam leap into Lee Harvey Oswald and the team frantically try and stop him killing Kennedy whilst another dropped him into a NASA test chimp. There was also a pretty clear implication Sam was being “leapt” around the time stream by some form of controlling force that may have been good but most certainly looked like American character actor Bruce Mcgill.
The series ended supremely weirdly, and frankly, on something of a downer, but it also ended in a place that’s rife for a reboot, do over or sequel. In fact, the SyFy channel were apparently talking about this a few years ago, with Sam’s daughter, now grown up, taking over the project and going looking for her father, a near-amnesiac adrift on the seas of time. It's a hell of an idea and I’m gutted no one’s gone for it yet.
Although personally, I think you could go a little differently. Maybe have a group of people who all know each other realise they have... absences, periods of their lives they can’t remember. They realise these periods correspond with crises and in each case, they seemed to have been acting a little erratically. Then have Sam leap into one of them and explain they’re all in incredible danger as outside, the forces of Project: Quantum Leap close off the neighbourhood... Although I still mentally transpose the ‘leap in’ effect on Scott Bakula every time I see him on TV so I may be a little too close to this one.
So there you have it, the reboot can be a force for good. Aren’t you relieved? Aren’t we all? And aren’t we all ready for huge, honking great movies? Yeah we are! So join us next week as we take a look at this year's crop of blockbusters and answer the questions:
What summer movie are you most excited about this year?
And which ones do you think will flop?
The Blogbusters go Blockbusters – on this site tomorrow!