Archive for May, 2018

Version harmony: liking the original AND the reboot

May 18, 2018

Version harmony: liking the original AND the reboot

I often talk about how tolerant geeks are.

After all, much of our oeuvre is about the triumph of the outsider (or the triumph they should have had, but it was unfairly denied to them by the mainstream muggles).

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t divisions, of course, even though they are generally pretty lighthearted: Marvel vs. DC; Star Trek vs. Star Wars; The Munsters vs. The Addams Family; and many more.

One place where I see a particularly strong strain of this can be when there is a “reboot”of an original. A reboot is one of the three “Re”s:

  • Reboot (which is also a re-imagining) changes the original; the suggestion is that you are taking something which may be dormant and injecting new elements to give it a new beginning which can go in a different direction
  • Remake: this follows the original, usually even including the same basic plot, but commonly with different actors
  • Revival: this returns to the original, typically with at least some of the same actors (and possibly, behind the scenes artists, like writers and producers), and gives new storylines

I often see disdain by the originalists for the rebooters…and vice versa.

It sort of goes like this:

The originalists think that the reboot lacks imagination, and may add either mainstream or extreme characteristics to make it more palatable. For example, there might be more sex and/or violence, but quirky characters may be made more “normal”.

The rebooters think that the originalists were naive, and sometimes unenlightened. The originals were too simple and unrealistic…and limited and look hokey.

However, I also say that a defining characteristic of geeks is a low threshold of entertainment. 😉 We can see the same thing over and over again and enjoy it every time. Shoestring budget with obvious flaws? No problem.

So, why can’t I enjoy both the old Lost in Space and the new one? Why can’t I admire the imagination of the Westworld HBO series…and the Michael Crichton movie?

The HBO Westworld has a complex plot, focusing on the point of view of the “robots”.

The movie was, yes, much simpler. That makes a lot of sense…the movie was an hour and twenty-eight minutes long. There have already been more than twenty episodes, generally about an hour long. That’s a lot more than ten times as long, and it could go for quite a bit longer.

While the series certainly has more impressive special effects, the movie had very innovative visuals for the time. It had to rely more on imagination…but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The TV series has extensive nudity, and not surprisingly, a 1973 movie didn’t have that. Would they have done that if they could have? I don’t think we can say that.

I’ve happily shown the original movie to the next generation of geeks.

At this point, I like the original Lost in Space better…but I did like the new one, too. They both have their charms. I like Will better in the original…but I like Penny better in the new one. 🙂

If you think about it, you can probably come up with two versions of the same “universe” that you like…maybe not equally, but where you like them both.

About seven years ago, I wrote

Hooray for remakes!

We used to call them all remakes. 🙂

You can like Christopher Reeve and George Reeves…and Kirk Alyn. You can like Dirk Benedict and Katee Sackhoff. You can like the 1954 Godzilla and the 2014 version…but if your favorite is the 1998 version, I’m not speaking to you…just kidding. 😉

I guess the bottom line is…you don’t have to pick sides. Stay open to the multiverse of entertainment. It’s okay to enjoy it all…even if it you don’t do it equally.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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