Reboot was the first completely CGI 30-minute show. The animation felt dated and rough even then, but the setting was interesting (computer programs fighting against an evil virus and dealing with the mysterious ‘user’ who will occasionally send them into games), the characters were likable, and the villains were genuinely scary. It was good enough that when it was finally canceled, people talked about remaking it eventually. On February 21, Netflix released the trailer for “Reboot: The Guardian Code”. And by the looks of things…it’s not good. At all.
The first hint that something is amiss is the live action scene from the start of the trailer. As I mentioned earlier, the whole point of the original was that it was completely CGI. Having what is revealed to be our antagonist in a cheap looking warehouse set with a computer setup straight from an 80s hackers movie doesn’t inspire any confidence.
The next scene introduces us to our protagonists who are attending “Alan Turing High School,” and it’s at this point that I lost all hope for this remake. Bad enough that you force cheap-looking live action on us. Making the protagonists not programs, but teenagers? And not just any teens, oh no. These teenagers have about as much personality as the generic NPCs from a video game. There’s the jock, the handsome boy, the normal boy, and the “Not like other girls” girl. That’s the extent of their character depth. They get assigned ‘Room Zero’ find a bunch of tech and get digitized into the mainframe-beg pardon ‘cyberspace’. They meet an AI girl who is at some point gonna get the ability to fight and join them as the “I don’t understand this human thing” character these types of shows always have.
Honestly, the rest of the trailer is exactly what you’d expect from cheaply made generic teenage-centric action shows. Got to save the world, got to keep it a secret, some fighting…there are only three other things that I want to point out. First, despite the CGI apparently being made with Unreal Engine 4, it looks more lifeless then the original. This is because in the original, the setting was a city inside a computer. There were characters walking down the street, going about their lives. In The Guardian Code, it just looks like a generic cyberspace environment.
The second thing is the name of our hacker antagonist. The Sourcerer. Get it? Because source code? It’s a pun.
The final thing, and probably the most disappointing, is Megabyte, the main protagonist within the computer. His original appearance was intimidating, and his voice actor was Tony Jay, so you got a good, evil bass. His new voice is not even a shadow of Tony Jay’s performance and his design, while looking closer to the original aesthetic, looks too friendly. It doesn’t help that for some reason they gave him massive, goofy looking eyebrows.
I’ve used the word ‘generic’ quite a bit in this recap. And honestly, that’s this trailer’s biggest flaw. There’s nothing special about this remake. It doesn’t capture any of the charm or cheese of the original. It’s just a fly by numbers, Power Rangers in cyberspace show that Netflix can make on the cheap. Maybe I’ll be wrong. Maybe the first season will end with Megabyte killing the hacker and Bob reawakening. But I highly, highly doubt that.
Reboot: The Guardian Code premieres on Netflix in the US on March 30th, and at a later, unspecified date in Canada.