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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 October 2017 at 12:28pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I must admit, I struggle to define the word "reboot" when it comes to the context of movie reboots.

When rebooting a PC, it remains your PC. You may install new software (that's one reason), but it's your PC - and for the most part, all should hopefully remain the same.

I struggle with the terminology when it comes to films as it seems rather tenuous. Let me try and explain.

I'd consider the debut of a new actor playing Bond to be a reboot. The Dalton era (if two films constitutes an era) was a reboot of the 007 franchise. It was the same franchise, just going in a slightly different direction. There's a reference to Bond's marriage in LICENCE TO KILL, the films clearly take place in the same universe.

Where I struggle is when something like DREDD is called a reboot of JUDGE DREDD. Other than the character, what is the same? One was released in 1995, the other was released in 2012; the films feature different actors; and different production companies/distributors handled the film. Other than the fact that they both feature a character called Judge Dredd, there's nothing else linking the films: the fact that they were produced by different companies means that I feel the word "reboot" is not appropriate here.

Were the Keaton BATMAN films a reboot of Adam West's BATMAN movie? 

None of this is facetious, I am genuinely baffled. I wonder if the word is overused. I bought a Chromebook not long ago (having previously used a Windows laptop), I wouldn't have referred to it as a "reboot", it was me buying a different device. Had I retained the Windows laptop, and simply installed new software, that would have been a reboot.

Anyway, maybe others here can help. It's more a matter of curiosity, I don't lose sleep over it. I just wonder if the word is overused or misused by film journalists. Dalton taking over from Roger Moore is a reboot because it's the *same* franchise, but I'm not sure DREDD, produced by a different company/distributed by a different distributor, counts as a "reboot" of JUDGE DREDD, filmed 17 years earlier and handled by different companies/creative personnel.

If DREDD can be called a "reboot" of JUDGE DREDD, despite only having the title character in common, can we not refer to Adam West's BATMAN as a "reboot" of the 1940s serials? 

Shouldn't we only use the term "reboot" if there's a change (e.g. casting or studio) within the same universe, e.g. Brosnan's Bond being a fresh, new era after the Dalton era?

Interested in all thoughts.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 06 October 2017 at 3:10pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

One Fogey's opinion...

Were I you, my friend, I wouldn't cleave too strongly to exact definitions. I interpret "reboot" just to mean a clean restart. To push it a little, a reboot of Star Trek would still be in the universe of Starfleet and the Federation, would almost certainly include one version or another of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and would probably have a cast that was recognizable - be it Archer's, April's, Pike's, Kirk's, Spock's, Harriman's, Garrett's, Picard's, or Riker's. (Whew!)

To that end, I don't think that Star Trek: Discovery is a reboot, but I only saw two thirds of an episode; it might conceivably be so, but I likely will never know.

So I interpret a reboot as: the same lead character(s), the same setting and situation (e.g., James Bond is a British intelligence agent, not a seller of melons in a Pakistani market), and it is set up to tell more stories with those parameters.

If a movie carries on the same storyline, with the same characters, but in the future (well, or the past), then it is not a reboot; but a sequel, e.g., "Blade Runner 2049" or "Red Dragon", or umpteen James Bond movies.)

Ah, James Bond. I feel that from "Dr. No" through "Die Another Day" are easy to identify as sequels. Then we get the Daniel Craig era, when he is, supposedly, Bond as a rookie - but with very little to indicate it. It was a sea change for cast, but still the same characters. I would call it a reboot, save that those films seem so vague of when they take place. COROLLARY: If the studio would finally concede that "James Bond, 007" is not a person, but an identity that various agents have filled over the years, it would make me so much happier...

"Superman Returns" is a sequel. "Man of Steel" is a reboot. "The Dark Knight Rises" is a reboot (and as far as I'm concerned, "Batman v. Superman" is a Batman reboot as well.)

One other qualifier; I don't think a redo of a lone movie is a reboot or a sequel (e.g., "The Thomas Crown Affair"). I think it is, literally, a redo.

How, then, do I qualify "Star Trek: Into Drabness"? It's a sequel of a reboot, and it's also a redo, and confound you anyhow, Paramount.

Hope my viewpoint is thought provoking to you. Will welcome all comments.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 October 2017 at 3:48pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Yes, thank you. Very thought-provoking. It's why I started the topic. We'll all see things differently (maybe), but it'll be interesting to read.

I think for me, a gap is important. Danny Cannon directed JUDGE DREDD - and I think it was distributed by Buena Vista Pictures. DREDD was directed by Pete Travis and distributed by Lionsgate. And there was a 17-year gap. Feels a stretch to call it a reboot.

Imagine I bought a PC from a Microsoft store in 1995, which had Windows 95 as its operating system (obviously). If I had to install Windows 98 on it a few years later, well it's the same laptop so I'd probably call it a reboot (I could be wrong), but if, instead, I threw that laptop away and bought a laptop in 2007, one with Windows Vista on, would I describe that as a reboot? No, I'd simply say I bought a new laptop.

Imperfect analogy, I know. The laptop would be different (it may be produced by a different manufacturer, e.g. Acer). It's a different machine. I do realize that if a film series, or whatever, is producing a Superman film, even 20+ years after another one, then that's where my analogy falls down.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 06 October 2017 at 9:08pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I think you're being at once too literal by worrying about computers but also a bit off the mark in your understanding of rebooting a PC. This is insofar as when I reboot my PC I don't need to fiddle with the software or hardware in any way; I'm simply restarting it.

Reboot to me is just that -- a restart. The perfect example being JB's reboot of the Man of Steel (I know it's not a movie!). Continuity is resprung back to the beginning and off we go, possibly in a different direction than before.

For me, to have a reboot, you need to have a strong, established continuity that is consciously wound back to the beginning to re-establish a new continuity.

I don't see Dalton's Bond as a reboot in any way. He is the same Bond as Moore and Connery and Lazenby, just played by a different actor. As we'd expect with a long-running piece of serial fiction, the continuity may not be air tight (or even hugely important), but elements like Q and M and the references to Tracy are lynchpins that establish the films as standard sequels. As Eric says, the Craig era is a thornier issue. Primarily this is because of Judi Dench's M, which suggests this must come after Brosnan, but then it is pre-Dr No because he's a rookie, but then later on he has the DB-5. One's head spins.

I'd hesitate to call Keaton's Batman a reboot of West's Batman because of the lack of continuity in the West version and because Batman is so much bigger than the Adam West show. They are both merely adaptations of a cultural phenomenon from a different medium.

But I do see the Garfield Spider-Man as a reboot, even though that same 'mere adaptation' description could be applied. I think because of the Raimi films having a relatively strong continuity. They'd eventually twined their threads up to the point that rather than just recast and carry on, they wanted to go back, wipe the slate clean and retell the story from the starting point. Hence a reboot.

I do agree that the word reboot is totally overused.


Edited by Peter Martin on 06 October 2017 at 9:09pm
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Mario Ribeiro
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Posted: 06 October 2017 at 9:35pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

What about Fantfourstic? It's a reboot of the Alba movies, but if they ever make another movie with the FF (and they probably will), will it be a reboot of a single movie?
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Matt Reed
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Posted: 07 October 2017 at 1:33am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

 Robbie Parry wrote:
Danny Cannon directed JUDGE DREDD - and I think it was distributed by Buena Vista Pictures. DREDD was directed by Pete Travis and distributed by Lionsgate. And there was a 17-year gap. Feels a stretch to call it a reboot.

I respectfully disagree.  The directors and studios involved don't matter, the character and direction do.  Doesn't matter that the director changed hands (that has been done with regularity with the Bond films) but that the direction itself has changed. With Bond, no.  None of them have changed even the most recent Bond films.  They're all the same. And in this instance, a simple change of actor in the lead role doesn't make it a reboot.  It's just recasting. Otherwise, everything essentially remains the same. 

Also, the time/distance between a project doesn't matter at all.  Just that the difference between an earlier take and the most current take is substantially different makes it a reboot.  I'd say SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is a reboot despite the fact that just a few years separated it from the last iteration because it now takes place within the MCU.  I'd also call the latest APES films reboots even though decades separated them from the originals.  Especially because it's substantially different from its predecessor while still maintaining the same themes and characters.  
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 October 2017 at 5:54am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

You've all given me food for thought (which is what the topic was about, pedantic though it may have seemed). Thank you for that.

Definitely going to think about it. It's not an issue that keeps me awake, but there are times I feel the word is overused. But you've all made points which have made me think. And in addition to having fun on this forum, I'm here to learn, too. :)
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 07 October 2017 at 1:18pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

BATMAN - 1966: part of the Batman TV series universe. Same production team, casting, etc.

BATMAN - 1989: not a sequel . A "reboot". New take on the character, new casting, etc.

BATMAN RETURNS: sequel only to the 1989 BATMAN.
BATMAN FOREVER: sequel to both 89 BATMAN and RETURNS. Val Kilmer takes over as Batman. Tommy Lee Jones recast as Harvey Dent. Commissioner Gordon and Alfred casting retained from the first two. Events from both movies are referenced.

BATMAN AND ROBIN: Batman is replaced, again. Robin and Alfred are  the same. A sequel to the previous three.

BATMAN BEGINS: A total reboot. New cast, new origin. The only holdover from the previous movies is the all-black "armored" suit.
THE DARK KNIGHT and RISES are sequels to this.

BvS: Another BATMAN reboot. Instead of having spent basically a year and a half as Batman, this guy has been at it for decades.

And apparently, there are other versions coming...???

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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 9:09am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

BATMAN BEGINS (as may be suggested by its title) is a reboot, straight up. It's in no way linked to the story or history (or pre-history) of the Burton/Schumacher films.

In 2015, we had (at least) three movies that were sequels but also kinda reboots: CREED, JURASSIC WORLD, and THE FORCE AWAKENS.

They were all new starts to the franchises, but definitely tied into the previous stories and used some familiar characters and (for the most part), the actors that played them. So, call them "soft reboots", I guess.



Edited by Brian Rhodes on 10 October 2017 at 9:11am
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 9:43am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Not criticizing your use of the word "reboot", Brian, but the term "soft reboot" baffles me. I always thought a reboot either was or wasn't. 

You can't have "soft sex", you either are having sex or not. Surely a reboot either exists or isn't. I could be wrong.
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 10:36am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Well...

CREED is not a Rocky film, per se. But the character of Rocky Balboa is in it, and it definitely exists in the "Rocky Universe" established by the previous 6 films. But, the movie was (and ostensibly, its sequels will be) centered around Adonis and the characters in his life.

JURASSIC WORLD features only one actor from the original films. It references the events from them, but again, this is all about a whole new batch of characters (literally, in the case of the dinosaurs). Its sequels will flow from there.

Lucas turned a great movie into a decent trilogy, then retroactively into the bloated "saga" of Anakin Skywalker. TFA begins a new saga, but with similar trappings and beats of the original. Some of the old actors have reprised their roles, but the revised franchise is about Rey, Kylo Ren, and their friends, foes, and family. Like CREED, that family and history is steeped in the previous run, but it is a new start with a new focus.

So, in these cases, maybe "relaunch" is more apt than "reboot", soft or otherwise.


Edited by Brian Rhodes on 10 October 2017 at 12:27pm
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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 11:13am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

You can't have "soft sex"

--------------------------------

Sigh.

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 12:09pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply


 QUOTE:
You can't have "soft sex"

You might want to rethink that analogy.

I think an example of a "soft reboot" would be SUPERMAN RETURNS, which seems to acknowledge SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE and SUPERMAN II, even implying that Superman and Lois' son (blech) was a result of the events of SUPERMAN II, but completely ignores the other sequels and of course, had a new cast with different characterizations. 


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Peter Martin
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 12:13pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I always thought a reboot either was or wasn't
--------------------------------------------------------
The hard and soft terms stem from the original computer origin of the reboot terminology. Literally, a hard reboot is one where you force the PC to reboot by using hardware elements (a power button -- or pulling out the plug!), whereas a soft reboot would be via software menus.

I suppose you could argue the Abrams Trek was a soft reboot, because of the inclusion of Spock from the original timeline. It doesn't just give you a cold restart on the story but uses an in-story explanation for why events are being retold. Definitely still a reboot though.


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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 12:51pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Yeah, I think, bad analogies aside (sorry!), Peter's first sentence makes sense.

I just wish we could create some new words at times. "Reboot" seems overused in so many respects. Someone described the modern THE KARATE KID as a reboot, but I wouldn't say that it's a reboot...right?

I don't have all the answers and some of you have brought me around to your way of thinking (thanks!), but I do feel film journalists, in magazines and on websites, are misusing or overusing the term.
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 10 October 2017 at 1:17pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Perhaps "reboot" is specific to the (attempted) restart of a franchise. Otherwise, it's just a remake.

KING KONG 1976 was a remake. Which, unfortunately, spawned its own sequel.

KING KONG 2005 was also a remake.

KONG: SKULL ISLAND, I guess, would be a reboot...as it not only doesn't tell the traditional Kong story (stolen off of the island, shipped to New York, climbs the tallest building in the city, ends tragically). And, of course, it's part of "shared universe" with planned sequels.

FAN4TASTIC, or whatever it was called....was touted as a "reboot"...but since it didn't go anywhere, I guess it was just a remake.


Edited by Brian Rhodes on 10 October 2017 at 2:04pm
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