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Marshall Fine Headshot

Give Reboots the Boot

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Here's Hollywood's favorite joke:

Pete and Repeat went down to the lake. Pete fell in and who was left?

As Homer Simpson would say, it's funny because it's true.

I'm talking, of course, about Hollywood's incessant need to mine the past - old movies, old TV shows - and redo them for a new audience.

Except that, recently, instead of calling them what they are - which is remakes - the marketing geniuses have come up with a new term: "reboot." It sounds so high-tech, so of-the-moment - much more so than, say, "do-over." But let's be honest: What's a reboot but just a slick way of avoiding the term "remake"?

Oh, sure, you can sell it as a whole new approach, a reimagining, a re-whatever. But what it comes down to is a lack of imagination, a need to suck the life from an existing idea, apparently out of an inability to come up with anything original. (Sequels? Do I even need to go there?)

So, yes, Batman Begins was a vast improvement over either of the Tim Burton Batman films or their sequels - but it's still a Batman remake. (Don't even get me started on The Dark Knight. We've already had that argument. My side: an overhyped mess. Your side: No, it's a great movie. My side: You're wrong. End of discussion.)

Since the beginning of May, we've had three more so-called reboots. Two of them sucked, big time: X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Terminator Salvation. One didn't: Star Trek. Still to come: Land of the Lost, The Taking of Pelham 123, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

As much as I enjoyed Star Trek, it was a guilty pleasure. Because here was yet another movie - another $100+ million dollars spent - that was devoted to selling us something we already had.

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