Reboots are usually the process that a movie franchise goes through after it has reached some sort of franchise fatigue. It undergoes a major transformation, mainly through the fact that a new director takes on the mantle of responsibility and portrays their take on the movie property. Though, the most important thing we take away as an audience, in my opinion, is the extent to which the (core) have characters changed.
This isn't always easy, or successful in this matter because it is hard to change and craft character dynamic that has already been established. The character has integral attributes that make them who they are, so how should reboots change them. The answer is...they probably shouldn't.
A well redesigned character should stick to the roots that it came from since it is something that people are familiar with and enjoy about the character. Either that or make sure that the change is universally accepted. An example can be where a character from the 50's is given modern updates to fit in - take Nick Fury from The Avengers for example; he was originally a white guy with ginger hair in the comics, but keep in mind that his role is that he is the leader of an international peace keeping organization. Therefore it is accepted and probably even encouraged that he is of another ethnicity besides from a caucasian background.
Characters that are poorly translated from the original concept to the rebooted version are usually instances where the character ends up being a completely different person. This can be through personality, accent, sometimes wardrobe and a host of many things.
Prior to the current Star Trek movies, Leonard Nimoy played the role of Spock and he did a damn good job of playing a non-emotional logical Vulcan. Though, you have to admit that Zachary Quinto does an amazing job of filling in the actor's shoes; even the most hardcore of Star Trek fans can agree. They're basically two peas in a pod, not just in terms of appearances but also in terms of portraying the character's traits.
Unfortunately, most of the time reboots can't seem to get this right, so we are left with numerous actors/characters that weakly resemble the original. Let's see... first on the list I'll start off with Bane from [The Dark Knight Rises](movie:39011). Look at the very first picture... now tell me what's wrong. Firstly, CG (computer graphics) was not used to enhance his muscles so in comparison he looked nothing like the original - not even mentioning the word 'venom' throughout the movie. Then worst of all, they turned a man from the island of Santa Prisca (Spanish derived) into some sort of British aristocrat (in terms of accent). However, this is what makes him who he is; take away his physical appearance and his nationality and what's left is a dude with a mask who wears a fur coat most of the time.
I might as well give some other examples that I personally did not like:
- Johnny Storm (rebooted version coming up) - Why change a character's race for no reason? I liked Michael B. Jordan's performance in [Chronicle](movie:306438), in fact he was basically Johnny Storm in it, but as a Fantastic Four fan it doesn't feel right.
- James/Jenny Olsen - Changing a character's gender is something new to me. WTF?! Trying to appeal to the female demographic is fine and all, but James isn't even James anymore regardless of whether or not he/she is a major character.
- Trevor Slattery - Nuff said
I'd like to hear some of your opinions and examples. Thanks for reading!