‘The economy stinks, bees are dying, and movies are pretty much all sequels now’. Schmidt from New Girl is not wrong. While reboots have existed for years, we have recently seen many of our favourites undergo the reboot treatment, ranging from Clifford the Big Red Dog to Spiderman to almost every Disney Princess (and a fair few villains). A simple Google search of ‘film reboot’ finds a list of 121 that are currently in the works.
It’s hard to deny remakes are the current trend, to the point that many of us are starting to question if Hollywood has finally run out of ideas. My same Google search threw up a lot of opinions that weren’t positive, with list after list of reboots that the authors didn’t need, didn’t want or simply thought were bad.
So why do it?
During difficult times we turn to nostalgia and comfort to make us feel better
Research finds that during difficult times we turn to nostalgia and comfort to make us feel better. To say the last few years have been a rollercoaster (pandemic, anyone?) would be an understatement, and it’s not a surprise everyone leant towards their old favourites for a bit of escapism. Nostalgia sells and for any film company it is easily accessible through reboots, sequels and the like, which are therefore a sure-fire way of banking a few hits each year.
The actual quality of reboots and sequels, like anything, range from excellent (Hairspray) to terrible (He’s All That) to forgettable (most live-action Disney, I said what I said). A big problem that often comes up with reboots is that it can often ruin the show’s ending and the characters you care about. When a major show ends, planning that ending is no mean feat and hours must be spent trying to get it right. So when the show is rebooted it can often feel like all this work has been undone, with drama being created just to have a plot for the remake.
There are of course also arguments in favour of reboots. Walt Disney apparently put in his will that he wanted his films remade for future generations to enjoy. This helps classic and much-loved stories keep up with the technology and attitudes of the day as well as usually adding some much-needed diversity to the cast. Many help characters tie up loose ends, we can see how their lives progress and of course, others are just good to watch.
Despite being firmly in the ‘not everything needs a sequel’ camp, I’d still admit I love some nostalgia and enjoyed a different style of reboot recently, the quarantine staple of a zoom reunion. 2020 saw the briefly out-of-work casts of Lizzie McGuire, The Parent Trap, Pitch Perfect and The Office reunite, as many of us did, over zoom to swap stories, read a script and raise money for charity.
This is the same format we saw from the in-person Friends reunion that aired in May 2021. They emotionally reunited, reminisced and told backstage stories to the omnipresent James Cordon, alongside guest appearances from supporting cast members and celebrity fans. It actually left me more moved than a traditional sequel would have; seeing them all walk into Monica’s apartment feeling far more nostalgic than an in-character episode set wherever Monica and Chandler live now would do.
The talents of today’s writers and directors should be allowed to tell new stories
I’m hoping many more companies will lean into this style of reunion in the future. A bit of nostalgia is not a bad thing, but the talents of today’s writers and directors should be allowed to tell new stories and not always have to rehash old ones. And who knows, in twenty years’ time we may be watching those shows reunite.
In-article trailer courtesy of Movieclips Classic Trailers via youtube.com. No changes made to this video.
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