The Reboot Phenomena

By Busola Awobode

Email: bawobode@umassd.edu

Recently, the gender flip version of the 1999 classic She’s All That was released to Netflix. In a short-lived debut, He’s All That starring Tiktok’s Addison Rae and Cobra Kai’s Tanner Buchanan is one in a mass of reimagined classics that have recently graced our screens. The new movie which unsurprisingly is full of painfully obvious production mistakes, underwhelming acting, lazy attempts at humor and rigid lines layered with stereotypical and outdated cliches seems to have garnered mixed reactions. While some are unimpressed at Hollywood’s latest attempt at cinematic art, others adore it for what it is- a cheesy, empty, time filler. Simply put- it’s bad and it has been done before. Yet this is becoming a trend. 

Lately, Hollywood seems preoccupied with slightly tweaking existing stories and packaging them as new. Since 2002 four Spiderman franchises have been released each reimagined and recast. We have witnessed countless Cinderella’s and Cinderella adjacents each promising a fresh take and, in the last year there have been twenty-eight TV reboots either released or in the works. With the apparent scarcity of originality, one wonders whether Hollywood’s innovative writers have skipped town having grown tired of struggling for a chance to demonstrate their creative superfluity. 

Nevertheless, Hollywood seems content with quick flicks that are guaranteed money makers. Franchises with strong cult followings and a hint of nostalgia such as The Matrix and Sex and the City are sure money grabbers. Slap on a bevy of famous personalities acting talent or not and we have a multimillion-dollar production just on name and history. Executives no longer must create work deserving of a fanbase, they simply utilize what already exists. The goal of creation is now to get views; once achieved, the viewing experience is inconsequential. Whether you hate it or like it you watch it, and that is all Hollywood needs.  

This formula for success has brought Addison Rae, Tiktok extraordinaire to the big screen despite having little acting talent and no obvious or at least effective coaching. It has also delivered Singer Camilla Cabello who in a disappointing double whammy fails to deliver on singing AND acting in the newest attempt to again modernize Cinderella. Additionally, it helps sell movies like Space Jam: A New legacy and Cats that bypass quality storylines and good production for names that can be put on a billboard. Furthermore, it helps maintain the popularity of long-standing franchises that have been flogged a bit too much like The Marvel Cinematic Universe and The Fast and Furious Franchise.  It is interesting to note that She’s All That is a reboot as it is a modernized version of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. Thus, I must commend Hollywood for its ability to reuse and recycle. If only they could put this much effort and resources into recycling waste perhaps our environment would be slightly better off. I fear with a scarcity of true classic stories left to recreate, Hollywood has resorted to readapting the readaptations and then readapting even more until entertainment is overrun with the “Cinderella Crisis” and sampling becomes originality.  

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