Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for Doctor Who and Fargo.
With the release of the latest Mad Max film and Jurassic World just around the corner, it seems only right to look back on some of the reboots that got it right. People often claim a reboot is a sign that Hollywood is running out of ideas but that’s not quite true. The true sign Hollywood’s creative juices are running a bit low are remakes (*cough* King Kong *cough*) and a well crafted reboot can be the chance to silence those nostalgic hearts and re-enter a world that so many people dearly love.
1. Doctor Who(TV Series)
Surely the mother of all reboots, everything the BBC and Russell T. Davies did with the 2005 continuation of the Doctor’s story was 100% right. I say continuation because that’s what they did, it would have been so easy to have started it all again and forgotten the whole Fox debacle (I swear, unless it’s a war, asking for America’s help never ends well for anyone). Yet they didn’t, which allowed for a much deeper back-story for the Doctor and paved the way for a whole load of cool references and spectacular cameos down the line.
If there was one standout achievement that RTD can be praised for it has got to be the addition of the Time War. This really solidified the Doctor’s character and made him both a villain and hero throughout all time and space. Not forgetting that it allowed an obvious plot choice for the 50th anniversary and gave Paul McGann’s Doctor a much better storyline that that terrible, terrible TV movie.
2. Tomb Raider(Video Game Series)
There’s no denying that the original Tomb Raider series was a staple of the original Playstation’s era. Not only did it redefine the entire action adventure genre but it catapulted Angelina Jolie’s career into the arms of Brad Pitt (whether that was a good or a bad thing is debateable).
Although when it comes to flaws, the original series is not without them. Gaming had been screaming out for a female role model and Lara Croft seemed to be the obvious choice. Unfortunately, instead of becoming an empowering figure for female gamers she was pushed a sex symbol for male gamers to gawp at (which still baffles me, I mean she has one uniform rectangular pyramid in the place of breasts, wtf?!). Luckily the 2013 reboot of the franchise worked on this mistake and made the character much stronger and gave her some real clothes that an adventurer would wear.
As for the actual game, it’s brilliant. Tomb Raider borrowed from Uncharted’s explosive action movie pace (which is only fair since Uncharted borrowed a lot from the original Tomb Raiders) and booted Lara straight into a world of chaos from the start. It’s thrill ride after thrill ride, the story was pretty good for a video game as well and the last scene with the dual pistols will have any gamer’s nostalgic little heart beating.
3. The Dark Knight Trilogy(Film Series)
If there is any series that is well versed in the world of reboots, it’s Batman. Ever since Tim Burton said he’d had enough Warner Brothers has been baying for new takes on the world’s greatest detective. After a few miserable failures, they struck gold when Christopher Nolan (or Nolo as he is known by his friends) presented them with the idea of a story grounded in realism. A Gotham that was not too far off modern day New York and a few characters that with a hint of mental issues could exist in today’s society.
The key word to the franchise’s success is dark, both metaphorically and literally. The caped crusader uses it to his advantage at every opportunity, everything is shrouded in black, the villains become terrorists and they even went so far as to get a cameo for King Joeffrey.
Nolo can’t be the only one to get all the credit here though, a lot of the recognition must go to the actors. Well, maybe with the exceptions of Christian Bale and Katie Holmes. Gary Oldman beautifully portrays the troubled Commissioner Gordon, trapped between his family and his city. Michael Caine, as Alfred somehow makes everyone just agree that, sure you can have a cockney butler right, no wait actually all butlers are cockney. Catwoman is given a sparkle of both fun and mischievousness by Anne Hathaway. Maggie Gyllenhaal actually manages to explain why Bruce loved Rachel to begin with. Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman. Heath Ledger surely puts up the performance of his life as the Joker, a take on the character that can only be rivalled by Jack Nicholson and Mark Hamill. Possibly the most impressive of all is Tom Hardy who manages to make Bane, a somewhat unknown villain become perhaps the second most recognisable Batman villain in the entire universe.
4. Star Trek(Film Series)
Although it may have been J.J. Abrams practice before he took up the Star Wars reigns, Star Trek was a very impressive reboot. Learning from the greats, Abrams didn’t leave the classic Star Trek era on the shelf but decided to do an RTD and included the entire back-story. Of course, this means we get more Nemoy and less Shatner, secretly what we all wanted.
If I’m honest, I’m not a huge Trekkie but this film did get me interested. Unfortunately, the second film was not quite the shining star the first one was. Although it did do two things in providing a much better villain with Benedict Cumberbatch as Kahn and cementing the reboot series as it’s own franchise.
5. Fargo(TV Series)
If you are to take away one message from this article, it should be: “WATCH FARGO!”. Never have I been more pleasantly surprised by a TV show than I was by Fargo. This was a series that was entertaining from beginning to end, with not a lull in sight. Seriously, Fargo can not be faulted. The story was amazing, the set was amazing, the acting was amazing. It was just amazing. Ok, so have I overhyped it enough?
The real genius of Fargo was that the series never goes above a reference to the film. The only thing connecting the characters from the TV Fargo to the film Fargo is that damn suitcase of money.
If anything you should just watch the show for Billy Bob’s bowl-cut.
Have any others to add to the list, or just downright disagree with me feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.
Article by Daniel Priman
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