Define "reboot" vs. "remake" vs. "reimagining"

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by The Borgified Corpse, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    These are a few terms that get thrown around a lot but what are the specific connotative meanings behind them? Here's how I would basically break it down:

    A "remake" is taking basically the exact same story and doing it again with changes. Such examples of this would include Rob Zombie's Halloween, Gus Van Sant's Psycho, and the 1995 version of Sabrina with Harrison Ford & Julia Ormond.

    A "reimagining" is looser. It takes a similar premise as the original but does it in a very different way. Examples of this would include Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes, Death Race with Jason Statham, and Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica. (I'm also tempted to put the new Conan the Barbarian movie here but it doesn't quite feel the same. It's almost not a "re-" anything because it feels so unconcerned with any previous Conan productions.)

    A "reboot" only comes into play when you're dealing with an ongoing series that doesn't want to acknowledge any of its previous incarnations for whatever reason. The Amazing Spider-Man, Batman Begins, & Casino Royale are the best examples I can think of for this.

    There are also other, lesser levels of reboots where a movie will have some newness but also some attachment to the previous continuity, like Superman Returns. There are occasionally "agnostic" movies like TMNT (which even strategically places a crack in the ooze cannister so that we can't tell whether it's from "TCRI" or "TGRI") and Terminator Salvation (which is presumably a follow-up to Terminator 3 but might also be in some way a successor to The Sarah Connor Chronicles). People will argue about how exactly X-Men: First Class fits into the continuity of the previous X-Men movies. And then there's the very rare animal of the 2009 Star Trek movie, which is set in a new timeline but it is a new timeline specifically created from some of the characters time travelling and changing history.

    Then there's the "revival," which is just a straight up continuation of the old thing but done in a way that is specifically designed to appeal to new people that never saw the old thing. The new Doctor Who falls into this category, as do the new versions of 90210, Knight Rider, & Melrose Place. (I would also count the 2002 version of The Twilight Zone, although The Twilight Zone is an anthology series so it doesn't really have a continuity to adhere to anyway. They did do a direct sequel to the old episode "It's a Good Life" called "It's Still a Good Life." But they also did remakes of the classic episodes "Eye of the Beholder" & "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.")

    How would you define these sometimes nebulous terms?
     
  2. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Your definitions seem good.
     
  3. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Admiral

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    Yeah, I agree.
     
  4. ColeMercury

    ColeMercury Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, I agree with this.

    So, basically, it's a fancy way of saying "remake". I guess this does fit but I really hate the term "re-imagining" -- it sounds so... board-meeting focus-group-ish.

    YES. THIS. And it really pisses me off how it seems like every goddamn thing is called a "reboot" now, even when it doesn't apply. Like the new Hawaii Five-0 being called a reboot, or the new Teen Wolf TV series being called a reboot. A few months ago I got into a big argument with a guy on IMDb who kept calling the upcoming sequel to Blade Runner a reboot.

    Superman Returns is a sequel. It ignores the existence of Superman III and IV (and by necessity updates the setting to the modern day) but it's still not a "reboot". Would you call Revenge of the Pink Panther a reboot because it ignores the events of The Pink Panther Strikes Again?

    Terminator Salvation is also, simply, a sequel. For instance, John's age in Salvation wouldn't fit with the time-skip in TSCC. I'd also add that Linda Hamilton voicing Sarah would seem to place it specifically with the other movies.

    X-Men: First Class is a prequel. There's nothing in it that explicitly contradicts anything from the four previous films.

    Star Trek is a fun one. It's a prequel/sequel whose plot makes it effectively do what a reboot does. So it's all three at once.

    In other words, it's another word for "sequel".
     
  5. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Commodore

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    Looks like you nailed it. I would say that a Reboot could still incorperate continuity of the previous like you mentioned about Star Trek (2009).
     
  6. captcalhoun

    captcalhoun Admiral Admiral

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    it does, it contradicts how old Xavier was when he met Magneto, where Cerebro came from and when Xavier was crippled.

    as far as i'm concerned the x-flicks are in 3 seperate continuities: X1-3, Wolverine and First Class.

    Wolverine doesn't fit with the "it's been 15 years" since Logan lost his memories in X1 and 2 or with FC's beach battle. nor does Sabretooth's relationship fit.

    just 1 common actor playing the same character in each. and 1 playing the same character in two other continuities.
     
  7. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

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    More or less, but with a sizeable enough gap between it and the previous incarnation that much of the audience are coming to it without having seen the original. Tron Legacy might be a good example of this.


    So, what do we call films like the new Conan or the five million different takes on A Christmas Carol that is not a direct rehash of an old film but simple a new adaptation of an even older source? Re-adaptation? The various iterations of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing might fall into this category too.

    I think it's more a case of X1, 2 & First Class being in the same continuity while X3 & Wolverine are in what you might call tangential continuities. They may not contradict previous films and made to be in continuity but subsequent films have chosen to either ignore or erase them entirely. Think Highlander II.
     
  8. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As for A Christmas Carol, or any story based on classic literature, I'd call them reimaginations or simply adaptations, because that's essentially what it is; Different takes of a classic done by different directors and producers. They all seek to tell the same tale, sometimes with a different style and vision. A good example of this is the Muppets Christmas Carol, with the story envisioned and mostly played by Muppets.

    I take the same view in music, as in any song that becomes traditional and has such a long history that records probably can't be found as to who wrote it. If a musician plays this song, they aren't covering it, rather they're reimagining it under their own style or they're simply doing their own version of it.
     
  9. Mr Silver

    Mr Silver Commodore Newbie

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    I like to use the term Interpretation for new takes on classic fiction.
     
  10. OsmiumJohnnycake

    OsmiumJohnnycake Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The only thing I'd argue with is the "lesser levels of reboots" section. Just because a movie is a sequel doesn't mean it's going to go along with everything established previously. Like Superman Returns ignoring 3 & 4 and the Highlander series. I think this happens a lot in horror franchises, the biggest offender being the Halloween series, which is filled with sequels picking and choosing which previous sequels happened and which did not.

    I like a lot of the other stuff you say, except I think people could easily quibble with examples. There's a big difference between the newer Psycho, which is nearly a shot-for-shot remake, and the newer Halloween, which has the remake of the original in the second half with the first half devoted to other stuff not even hinted at in the original. So where do you draw the line between a remake and a re-imagining?
     
  11. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Admiral Premium Member

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    So what would Tin Man (Sci-Fi) be? A reimagining & a sequel?
     
  12. ColeMercury

    ColeMercury Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'd just like to point out: the prototype Cerebro built in First Class is clearly not the same Cerebro as in the previous films. And we could easily say that Charles and Erik ended up temporarily reconciling and collaborating again before once more parting ways. And Charles could've alsofound some way to temporarily regain use of his legs. (My theory: if he's reconciled with Magneto, perhaps he's got metal down his legs & back and Magneto is "walking" for him?) On the surface it contradicts what's been shown before but there's ways of working around it -- that's why I said "explicitly".

    The details like the non-matching dates are problems, yes, but I think they're more a matter of the production team screwing up rather than any special effort to create a new "rebooted" continuity. What's basically happened is they've fudged the details a little -- overall, though, it's still one big X-Men universe.
     
  13. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd call that a reimagining of a classic story.
     
  14. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    None of the terms really mean anything other than what the speaker hopes they will convey - that is, if I'm a public representative for a television series or movie I choose the term or terms that I think will get the most positive response.

    And, in fact, all of the terms are sufficiently fraught that they're more likely now to be used in the negative when promoting a project - ie, "this isn't really a remake" or "you could call this a soft reboot but it's really not that."

    "Reimagining," specifically, is a marketing term coined (or at least, so widely used that it became lingua franca in the business) by 20th Century Fox so that they could sidestep the entire question of the relationship between Tim Burton's Planet Of The Apes and the films made in the 1960s and 1970s.

    "Reboot" is the term that most folks seem to want to avoid; it's the one that appears to evoke the most negative reactions among viewers who are emotionally invested in an existing property.

    "Remake" is the most specific and well-understood and for those reasons may be the most neutral - reaction to it varies a lot depending upon the project being announced. People may have been skeptical but were able to embrace the True Grit remake that was based not on the well-known film but on its source novel. Audiences were understandably less open minded toward Van Sant's shot-for-shot Psycho remake.
     
  15. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Those are pretty good definitions, with the caveat that there will be overlaps and any given property may fall into several categories.

    But didn't they reference the original Dorothy Gale as a historical person, or am I misremembering?
     
  16. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, they didn't, as far as I remember, but the main character's name was D.G. Actually, there was one brief scene where D.G appeared in blue dress and red shoes. The whole thing is a reimagining since it does go through the motions of telling the story, but in a different way and with D.G as their version of Dorothy.
     
  17. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Admiral Premium Member

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    They did show Dorothy Gale in that B&W scene where DG visited her "grave", they were both there, so are 2 different people.

    And DG is Dorothy's great granddaughter or something.
     
  18. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ok, so I'm obviously wrong, but it does confuse the issue because other than adding its own elements to the story, it does more or less retell the classic story, so it almost feels as if it's an alternate universe in some way.
     
  19. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Yeah, that's what I was trying to remember. I guess it's a case of history repeating itself or something.

    I don't know what we'd call that. :rommie:
     
  20. Candlelight

    Candlelight Admiral Admiral

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    I really wanted a reimagined, rebooted remake of Blake's 7 for television.

    Yeah, just anything really.