Reboots and remakes

I’m not sure where the habit for using the word ‘reboot’ came from but when people use it when they mean ‘remake’, I start getting angry in the same way I get angry when people spell it ‘loose’ when they mean ‘lose’.

Look, it’s perfectly fucking simple; you reboot a franchise. You don’t reboot single films. When you reboot a single film, you’re remaking it, not rebooting it. Thus, Christopher Nolan rebooted the Batman franchise. He didn’t remake Tim Burton’s Batman or any of the others, he started again from scratch, discarding all that came before him. Similarly, JJ Abrams did not remake any particular Star Trek film, but he did reboot the series, giving it a new direction and reshaping the character origins and all that jazz.

Total Recall and Barbarella are both due to be remade, but they can’t be rebooted because they were both standalone films. On the other hand, Robert Rodriguez is perfectly able to reboot the Predator franchise (two films) and Darren Aronofsky can reboot the Robocop franchise (several films and a TV series). Everybody thought that Bryan Singer was going to reboot Superman but what he actually did was neither reboot nor remake — instead, Superman Returns is basically a sequel to Superman II.

So, a sequel is a sequel and a reboot is not a remake, just as a remake is not necessarily a reboot. Furthermore, a prequel is neither a reboot nor a remake; it is what it is, a prequel. Thus, the Alien franchise is not due to be rebooted by the recently-announced, Scott brother-endorsed prequel story. Nor are any of the existing films being remade — the prequel is just another film set in the same universe.

Am I being petty? Possibly so, but to me this rubs against exactly the same bit of my brain that is able to distinguish when people are using ‘less’ when they should be using ‘fewer’, so there you are.