Remake? Reboot? Revival? Relaunch? What’s The Difference?

There have been some mixed-up terms going around, especially with the announced revival of the X-Men animated series from 1997.

There has been confusion about the various cinematic and entertainment terms. Is Jurassic World a sequel or reboot? Is Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life a reunion or reboot? Was the True Grit flick with Jeff Bridges a remake or reboot of the classic John Wayne film? It is all confusing because movie and television studios will use the terms reboot, remake, and reunion interchangeably, but the fact is they all have different definitions.

I will attempt to break them down for you so you will no longer be confused.

Remake- Updating a piece, but sticking to the original tropes.

A remake is where you take a film that has already been made and reshoot it in a modern context and shot with updated techniques, but it keeps the basic premise and most of the same characters.

The term “Remake” has become less popular because comparisons to the original cinematic or small screen presentation seem to haunt them. One example of that is Gus Vant Sant’s shot-by-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones was a remake of a hit TV Show. Because the main character mainly jumped from place to place, only he and the antagonist, the one armed man, were the main characters. It made it easy to adapt to the big screen. He is being pursued by a US Marshall who does not care about his guilt or innocence. He’s just after a fugitive. I believe there is another rendition of this show as well.

Hawaii Five-O is a remake of the original series Hawaii Five-0, starring Jack Lord. They took a great Hawaiian-based police procedural and turned it into an action-pack thrill ride, though it maintained many of the same characters and even had actors reprise some of their original roles (though it was clear they were not related to the old show). Despite that, it follows the same basic premise of a group of police officers solving crimes on the beaches of Hawaii.

Reboot- Taking a premise and title, but remixing it.

A reboot is where you completely disregard past continuity. You keep some elements and maybe a few of the same characters. For the most part, it goes a completely different direction than the source material. Sometimes it is misused. For example, Jurassic World is not a “reboot,” despite the billing. It is actually a sequel that exists in the same world as Jurassic Park, just years after the original trilogy.

To the reverse, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins took no leads, ideas, or formula from Tim Burton’s Batman when he developed The Dark Knight Trilogy. It was a standalone film franchise that used similar characters, but otherwise rejects the continuity of Burton’s Batman films. This is a “reboot,” not a sequel set in a different time placement.

Revival- Bringing back the old.

Let’s make one thing clear: the relaunch of Heroes Reborn is NOT a reboot of Heroes. Besides being poorly contrived, it is a “revival” also known as a “relaunch.” It brings back the same characters, the same premise, and though it might updated for current times, it is clearly the same show.

Now, why has “reboot” become the catch-all phrase? Laziness. It is laziness on behalf of the entertainment industry and the media. That might be a simple explanation, but sometimes that is the only one.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my Top 10 Favorite Mark Snow TV Themes. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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This is an updated version of a previous post.


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