From Ghostbusters to Fantastic Four this week, we’ve seen plenty of trailers and announcements for Reboots or Remakes.
A Remake, if you don’t know, is a new version of the same story. It includes the same characters and often the same plot. Robin Hood and A Christmas Carol are probably two of the most remade stories as movies.
A Reboot/Reimagining keeps the general idea of the original but changes it and moves things around. A reboot would be for a series while a reimagining would be for a standalone movie.
Think of Mickey’s Christmas Carol as a Remake and Scrooged as a Reimagining.
It would seem that Hollywood has run out of ideas and that they are literally ripping stories from books or just remaking the same movies over and over again. It may even seem like this is a new phenomenon.
It isn’t. The Book Captain Blood published in 1922 was made into a movie in 1924, remade in 1935 with Errol Flynn, and then remade another 4 times before 1991. I guess it’s due.
If that isn’t enough of an example let’s go back to Robin Hood. The story is based off of 15th century ballads and was first written into a book in 1819 by Walter Scott. There have been, according to Wikipedia, 35+ books based off the legend and ballads.
From 1939 to 2013 there have been 67 versions of Robin Hood with at least one confirmed new version coming up.
Taking inspiration from myth’s, plays, and legends is a standard practice in any storytelling medium. Any writer who says they’ve written something completely original is lying.
Why’s it ok
Stories are ways for each of us to think about and see the world differently. There are stories that will always be iconic and why bother trying to dress up your sci-fi “Thief with a heart of gold that steals from the rich and gives to the poor” when you just call it Robin Hood in the 28th century.
Movies, and to a lesser extent books, are the myths that we tell each other. They are this century’s and the lasts way of exploring what it is to be alive and what it is to be a storyteller.
Whether your childhood Superman is from Action Comics, cartoons, George Reeves, Christopher Reeves, Dean Cain, Brandon Ruth, Tom Welling, Henry Cavill or Kirk Alyn. Having a new version doesn’t lessen the impact it had on you as a child.
I don’t know the percentage but for every crappy Remake/Reboot/Reimagining there is a chance for a great one.
That chance and hope of seeing something you love done well is worth the innumerable bad versions.
Remember that the longest running Science Fiction show has 813 episodes over 61 years.
A big part of that is due to its ability to regenerate itself every few years.
What Reboot, Reimagining, Remake, Sequel, or Spinoff are you must looking forward to?