Whether you call it a reboot, remake, relaunch, reintroduction, retelling, revisiting, etc., Hollywood never found a dormant successful franchise it doesn’t want to squeeze a few more dollars from. It can be movie, TV, movie-to-TV, or TV-to-movie, but every year former household names are thrust upon us in a bid for our entertainment time. We may groan at the trailers for these new incarnations, but you have to admit they catch your attention, and obviously, someone is watching these. With The Predator now in theaters, another A Star Is Born coming out soon, Murphy Brown returning and a new Magnum P.I. series on the way, we thought it would be a good time to make a list of some reboots that haven’t been all bad.
The reboot/remake mania can definitely be exhausting at times. I find myself constantly saying in my mind “does no one have any new ideas anymore?” To make matters worse, you get every moronic fanboy complaining about how their beloved movie/TV is getting ruined – even before they have seen the film or show. Nevertheless, I often get suckered into reboots/remakes of my favorites – hoping for the best, often languishing in dismay. Yet as I put together this list, I discovered that quite a few reboots were among my favorite films of the past decade.
- Live Free Or Die Hard (2007) – It was fun to see Willis back in this role. Too bad the 2013 sequel was so horrendous I had to shut it off after 20 minutes.
- Terminator Salvation (2009) – This was widely derided, but I found the story interesting and Sam Worthington, Christian Bale and Moon Bloodgood (what happened to her?) led a solid cast. Can we at least agree it was better than the next attempted reboot – Terminator: Genisys?
- The A-Team (2010) – I dreaded this one, as the show was a childhood favorite, so I was surprised when it turned out to be an entertaining action film. It’s a good example of why I usually give reboots a chance if I hear it’s at least half-decent. I was on board for sequels, but I guess it didn’t make enough box office.
- Blade Runner 2049 (2017) – I loved the original and worried the sequel would tarnish it, but I took solace when I heard Denis Villeneuve was directing. This is one of my favorite films of the 2010’s.
- Lost In Space (2018) – It was nice to find something good on Netflix I could watch with the family (besides Stranger Things).
- It (2017) – The 1990 miniseries, based on Stephen Kings’ two-inch thick novel, wasn’t bad, but last year’s movie did a better job capturing the eerie menace of the book. Looking forward to the upcoming sequel/second half.
- X-Men: First Class (2011) – I was so done with X-Men I avoided this in theaters, which I later regretted. Director Matthew Vaughn built off of a well-written story/script and set a whole new tone for the series. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy were a superb pairing. Too bad the series tanked with X-Men: Apocalypse.
- Prometheus (2012) – I’ll admit to being a fanboy that was initially disappointed that this was not the “Alien” reboot I expected. However, after repeat viewings, I now love this film and appreciate what Ridley Scott was building.
- Casino Royale (2006) – More of a reboot than a remake, Daniel Craig jolted the dormant Bond series back to life, while underrated Eva Green also reinvented the “Bond girl”. After three more films of mixed success, the series is once again ripe for a reboot.
- Batman Begins (2005) – The brilliance of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy makes it easy to forget how risky it was to relaunch the franchise just eight years after the previous Batman series ended.
DJ: Most of these I agree with. Nolan’s Batman may be my favorite superhero franchise of all-time, it’s better than just a comic book franchise. Casino Royale took Bond in a new grittier way which was a complete relief from where it had been. I am more soured now on the Die Hard and Terminator sequels than you although you correctly identified them as the better ones.
I rarely like the idea of a relaunch or reboot. I grimace every time I hear of one. Magnum P.I., Macgyver, and Muphy Brown make me cringe, a new Rambo, Indiana Jones and Die Hard in the works is insanity, and the third remake of A Star is Born, really? Everyone likes nostalgia but the success rate of doing this well is low. Do you make it faithful to the original themes or completely reimagine? I am always skeptical. The best is to reimagine something that wasn’t very good in the first place – see Westworld. Despite my pessimistic outlook, there are a few that I have actually really enjoyed.
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) – It made me forget about Tim Burton’s disaster. It also took a difficult franchise and reimagined it for the modern age.
- Daredevil (2015) – Netflix improved upon the terrible Ben Affleck movie by making the Marvel hero into a gritty series that launched Netflix’s fantastic Marvel universe and another great reboot The Punisher.
- The Muppets (2011) – It was great to see the Muppets back on the big screen in a funny positive film.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm/Season 7 (2009) – This is the Seinfeld reunion season, it’s the closest we will see to a true Seinfeld reunion and it’s really great.
- Battlestar Galactica (2004) – It took me a while to catch on to this one refusing to give up the fact that Dirk Benedict wasn’t Starbuck but once I did I was hooked and had to binge watch. I love everything about it.
- The X-Files (2016) – Not sure there was any relaunch I was more excited about than this, season 1 was promising but the second just couldn’t fulfill its promise.
- Logan (2017) – I could have put the rebooted X-Men movie franchise at least the first film here but Logan made a better X-Men and Wolverine movie put together and the R rating was cool.
- The Brady Bunch Movie (1995) – A film that parodied that original TV series was funny and sly. I loved it but it did inspire a load of poorly done ones The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, Leave It To Beaver to name a crappy few.
- Mission Impossible (1996) – The best film franchise to come from a boring TV show. Might be my favorite action franchise, six pretty good films, even the second one.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) – Although seems dated to me now, this took the camp out of the original Star Trek and made thought-provoking solid television.
MG: The new Planet of the Apes trilogy was surprisingly good, and, like you said, almost needed to wipe away the Burton fiasco. I forgot how the Star Trek franchise is like the king of reboots – with the go-to director of reboots, JJ Abrams, doing a decent job with the Trek films (and you could say he did the same with the 3rd Mission Impossible, after the bad John Woo second one, and debatably with The Force Awakens). After the rough second of the new seasons, I think it might have been best to leave X-Files alone, although I think they are considering another movie. Sometimes there is no more blood in the stone.