While first and foremost there is great truth to Hollywood becoming less original and reliant on franchises. Often a franchisee reaches its peak and can no longer be milked. Enter Hollywood’s current default solution, the reboot. The simple act of taking a beloved movie, preferably a franchise (to maximize profits) and restarting it with new everything.
Lens flares aside JJ Abrahams Star Trek reboot is a perfect example of a good reboot. Essentially spinning of the original franchise it used time travel to kick off a new timeline. Even bringing in an original cast member. It worked. However not every reboot is as successful.
So how does a reboot go wrong? Well in short too many changes. A case in point is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Now some may argue it isn’t technically a reboot. I beg to differ. The base of what defines a reboot is a version of the movies that exist. Moving forward. The turtle’s movies by our favorite anarchist Micheal Bay was received poorly. Sure he got the personalities of our favorite mutated ninjas right but missed so much of canon. A key aspect of the turtles was their master/ dad’s relationship with the Shredder. The movie sacrificed this to put Fox as the center of attention.
Original canon is super important. There is a reason why the previous movie was successful. That is it had a story that resonated with the audience. A story that over time became critical to the growth of the characters. In the case of the turtles, it added weight to their battle against the Shredder. It was more personal. Also, it gave the villain more depth, rather than some generic plot of domination.
Change the bad, Keep the good
Change is good, but only when carefully crafted. Updating aesthetics to current times is a given. Adding modern-day tropes such a social media and technology helps the updated movies be more relevant. And sure you can’t simply repeat the original formula without it becoming repetitive. But taking away the core essence can’t leave a bad taste in the fans mouth.
Power Rangers reboot should have been a sure hit. It updated the teens beautifully. Adding current issues such as autism and homosexuality to the characters. Removing certain racial stereotypes. Even the story felt like a good update. Adding new elements like Rita being the original Green Ranger. This actually made sense as no real explanation was ever given to her acquiring his coin. So how did it go all wrong? The Zords and the suits. While of course the original suits could not be used. However, a gentle update to them would have gone down better than the abomination that we got. Even the Zords were too radically different. It had almost zero homage to the original. For returning fans it was really off-putting. This also would have hurt the sales for the toys. The bottom line is don’t change too much.
Reboots Can be Good
The Dark Knight trilogy is how a reboot is done correctly. It kept all the fundamental attributes of what makes the Cape Crusader tick but so put him in a “real” world. It never touched on the supernatural elements of his lore but cleverly only utilized villains that had no “power” thus keeping close to the source material.
Essentially reboots fail because too much is changed from the original. Hollywood often forgets that the reason to reboot a franchise is that the original was a success and has a huge following because of what it is. Change too much and it won’t be what is loved. While the new Jurassic movies are fun it will never have the charm of the first. It comes down to not forgetting your roots. Change to the future but never forget your past.