Building A Better Reboot: Five Films That Taught Us How It’s Done

Dredd 3DHollywood’s latest franchise reboot, arrives in theatres today riding a wave of generally positive hype. It is the latest in a line of films that attempt to resurrect a failed or tired property from the industry’s past, correcting in this case the mistakes of 1995’s Sylvester Stallone bomb Judge Dredd. That film was so immensely flawed and inconsiderate towards the spirit of the original comics that there is little need to question the creative impetus behind a reboot. Someone got it wrong the first time, and someone has now attempted to do it right.

Reboots are rarely that simple, of course. As the practice becomes increasingly commonplace in Hollywood – best exemplified by Sony’s decision to hit the rest button on Spider-Man after one creatively underwhelming sequel – it is important to look to the past, towards the exemplary reboots that defined the methodology behind successfully restarting a dormant franchise. There are plenty of simple yet powerful lessons one can learn from the best reboots, lessons that, if taken to heart, can provide an effective roadmap to creative – and, in many cases, commercial – success.

Today, we examine five of Hollywood’s best recent reboots and the most important lessons they taught us. These titles are not ranked, as the goal here is to demonstrate how each film best exemplifies one component of the ‘ideal’ reboot. These are the films that taught us how it’s done, and we begin with what is undoubtedly the most significant reboot of the era…

About the author


Jonathan R. Lack

With ten years of experience writing about movies and television, including an ongoing weekly column in The Denver Post's YourHub section, Jonathan R. Lack is a passionate voice in the field of film criticism. Writing is his favorite hobby, closely followed by watching movies and TV (which makes this his ideal gig), and is working on his first film-focused book.