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7 Reboots That Actually Turned Out Pretty Well

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Reboots get a bad name, but that’s not always fair. There’s a huge difference between a studio remaking something to make a quick buck, and a filmmaker looking at pre-existing material and thinking “I have something I’d like to do with this.” You need some examples of the second, better kind of reboot? Baby, here are the examples!

Star Trek

chris pine shoots phaser

Is this movie really Star Trek, as old school fans would identify it? No. But you already have a bunch of Star Trek movies (including Wrath of Khan, which is one of my all-time favorite movies). It’s not necessarily bad that 2009’s Star Trek reboot feels more like an action-adventure movie than a sci-fi movie. Plus, the chemistry of the cast is just as good as the chemistry of the original crew. This movie’s a great example of doing enough new stuff with an old property to justify its existence.


how do you plead

“Hey, what if we remade that incredible Indonesian action movie The Raid, but made the main character a real and proper version of Judge Dredd who just shoots and fights his way through a huge apartment building? Also, he never takes his helmet off.” Congrats on making the rare “reboot that is superior to the original”, Dredd. If only more of you yahoos reading this had gone to go see it.

Godzilla (America)

smokey godzilla roar

Japan has essentially always gotten its version of Godzilla right — the giant rubber monster who is a not so subtle metaphor for the horrors Japan still feels over it having two (TWO!!!!!) atomic bombs dropped on it. America’s first attempt, directed by Roland Emmerich (huge, flashing warning sirens start going off) was a complete and total mess, even if it did make a pretty decent amount of dough at the box office. The reboot that came a few years later certainly wasn’t perfect — it was bloated and had some real bland characters (which you don’t want in a movie about a giant radioactive lizard fighting to giant radioactive bugs). It did make money, and was well reviewed and regarded (the monster, himself, was on the receiving end of some weird body shaming, though.)


new ghostbusters

Beyond the awful misogyny, vitriol, and outright harassment that came from certain parties’ after an all-female Ghostbusters reboot was announced, the movie ended being pretty good. Of course, there was no way “pretty good” was going to be enough; the two sides of this culture war had dug in too deeply. I had people on Facebook actually telling other people on Facebook that any criticism of the movie was “unhelpful” or “taking the other side”. Also, I saw people online saying things about the women in the movie (and often women in general) that I just can’t repeat here. All of this is extra bad because studios might shy away from using it as a template to reboot movies for our blockbuster-obsessed film culture.

Batman Begins

batman begins not learning polo

Marvel/DC movies are tough to label as “reboots”, because the characters themselves are kind of like literary versions classic songs — they’re about the take that the artist has on the material, as opposed to the material itself. Really, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin feel like soft reboots themselves, considering the fact that they seem to have very little to do with Tim Burton’s original two Batman films. Anyway, Batman Begins was a third take on the character (most similar to the first film’s dark tone, though it removed all of the bright colors and explicitly comic book elements from the world), and was the first movie in the trilogy that redefined what we expected from super hero movies. Sure, Marvel movies tend to be brighter and moderately more comedic, but they still attempt the grounded, real world tone of Nolan’s Batman films.

Battlestar Galactica

battlestar galactica hug

The creators of this reboot took Battlestar Galactica — an incredibly silly, short-lived cult sci-fi/space opera — kept most of the elements people loved, and also injected some social and political commentary (who would’ve imagined that Cylons could end up being sympathetic figures?) It didn’t exactly end as strongly as people would’ve liked, but it spawned a short lived spin-off and has erased the memory of the original series from most people’s brain. That’s pretty damned successful.

The Punisher (from Daredevil Season 2)

see you around red

There have been two attempts at Punisher movies — the first film, The Punisher, was a laughable cheese-fest. The second, Punisher: War Zone, is a kind of hyper-violent action move. While Warzone is enjoyable, it’s not worthy of a character with a history like the Punisher’s. In lieu of trying out some of the crazier ideas from the comics, Marvel decided to use Netflix’s Daredevil to relaunch the character, and finally do him right. Pushing the term “anti-hero” to its limits, Frank Castle believes he is being heroic while he goes on a murder-spree that can’t really be applauded by any sane person.

It can be hard sometimes to admit that the big Hollywood machine can actually do a good job, but hey, credit where credit is due. What reboots did you love? Let us know on Twitter @Smosh!