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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

So, reboots are a thing that exists. You might be wondering why. Why remake something that already exists? 

The answer is really just “Why not?” Whether it be updating a movie for modern audiences or a tribute by new fans to introduce the beloved property to a wider audience, the reasons are vast. As a result of their recognizable nature, reboots or remakes fall under much harder scrutiny upon their release. Some remakes might be judged more harshly when they are mediocre, but when you’re dealing with a beloved classic or a monumental piece of media, it’s hard for fans to keep their emotions in check. So, with that, I’ve listed reboots that surpass their sources, bringing stories into a new era.

The Thing (1982)

Surpass: Certified Cult Classic

I’ve written about this film previously back in an October article recommending iconic scary movies, and my love for this film has only grown. It’s a movie made with love toward its source material and still successfully stands on its own with its unique take on the premise and strong acting by its cast. You can feel the passion and love that was poured into this film as it sets out to be something unique and dynamic. 

Everything was stacked against this film since its conception with development hell seeing it switch hands with directors and writers like hot potatoes. The state of the audience at the time of its release was one that was by no means in the mood for another sci-fi film, especially with a recession in full swing and the much more optimistic E.T. having hit theaters earlier that year. 

Originally a box office flop, John Carpenter’s The Thing is now considered to be one of the greatest and most influential horror films of all time. It’s inspired and based on the John W. Campbell novella Who Goes There, and Christian Nyby’s adaption of RKO’s 1951 The Thing from Another World. One of the film’s strongest critics was the Nyby who despised the film’s gore and cutting of the romantic subplot from his version back in 1951. Carpenter instead revamps the concept into a much more sinister and nihilist tragedy of paranoia and isolation with the help of Bill Lancaster as its head writer, who was credited by Carpenter as the writer who composed the film’s two most iconic scenes.

It is this 1982 version that kicks The Thing into a franchise, spawning video game series, comics, and other loosely associated properties. The legacy of the 1982 Thing is an incredible feat of physical perseverance by the cast and crew who were filming in Juneau Alaska during the winter to get the closest to an arctic look as they possibly could before setting the constructed set on fire for the final glorious shot of the film. 

Truly this film was a testament to this production team’s love of the craft.

Shin Godzilla (2015)

Surpass: A Modern Masterpiece

Yes, another Godzilla movie (sue me, I’m a fan). This film is in all definitions a love letter to Ishiro Honda’s Gojira from 1954. Gojira defined the Kaiju genre for over half a century. 

Shin Godzilla is a modern retelling of Gojira with parallels and unique reimaginations of how an evolving radioactive monster terrorizes a modern-day Tokyo. The film doesn’t recreate the original, instead completely going all in on an original story that focuses on the boreoarctic nightmare that is a modern-day government. The long political conference scenes take up quite a bit of the movie’s run time but firmly establish the faults of humanity and embrace the characters (no matter how small) to elevate the story as hopeful.

This film has it all, (including interesting human characters as stated earlier, which has been a hit or miss with this franchise over the last six decades). Shin was directed by Hideki Ano, who anime lovers will recognize as the creator of Evangelion. Ano’s experience with directing the futuristic sci-fi eldritch horror gave him a distinct style that he uses in full, with the film’s visuals holding the title of being one of the only massive redesigns to be welcomed by fans by emphasizing the originals with uniquely new textures and proportions. 

The three evolution stages a la Pokémon work well with the film pace building up the nuclear threat and Godzilla’s destruction of the city- each attack even more devastating than the last. This film also holds the distinction of being the first successful use of a fully toho CGI Godzilla as well. 

Shiro Sagisu’s haunting score works really well with the symphonic remixes of the 1954 score and Akira Ifukube’s original themes take the forefront in the compositions as the film progresses. The operatic “Who will know…” sequence is the most emotional sequence in any Godzilla movie: terrifying, hopeless, and yet disturbingly beautiful in its hellish images that purposely evoke the nuclear attacks that inspired the first film. 

This film (dubbed or subbed) is enjoyable to watch, and its dialog is masterfully integrated into its story. This film is a masterpiece that stands as a testament to the love and perseverance of the people of Japan.

Magnum P.I. (2018)

Honorable Mention

There will never be another Tom Selleck, and Tom Selleck will never be 35 again. That’s not how time works. Even so, people still enjoy his breakout role as the dashing Marine turned detective in Hawaii, Magnum P.I. 

This wonderfully 80’s maverick private eye is a fun romp around the islands that helped pave the way for literal decades of detective shows. So, when it was announced that there would be a reboot of the show in 2018 starring Jay Hernandez, that would change some of the original premises, it was met with your typical internet backlash. Despite this. the show (still named Magnum P.I.) launched in September and was surprisingly a fun and original take on the show. 

It’s by no means the magnificent mustached original and that’s a good thing because it makes the reboot fun to watch. The new changes are acknowledged, and the show takes care to honor the original without borrowing too much from it. It’s not phenomenal or groundbreaking, and some of the new plotlines are frankly kind of dumb, but couldn’t that also be said about the original? Both shows are just fun to watch and have enough in common to make comparisons but still feel like their own things. 

Rocking great casting and creative writers, both shows have similar strengths even though they were made years apart. This is such a hard balance to strike and it is worth checking both out just for that reason. This reboot is still a fairly recent show, running on five seasons with its final wrapping up this year. So, check it out before it’s over and give it an honest review!

I like writing stories and reading books. My favorite classical writer is Mary Shelly, and my favorite current writer is Wiley E. Young. I like light rainy weather and chia tea. I also play video games and watch a lot of old movies.