Reboot Mania: James Bond, Spider-Man, and Windows 8
I recently played around with a hybrid tablet/laptop with Windows 8 and a sluggish Intel Atom processor. Although I'm a proud iPad owner, I found myself wondering what I would do with the machine as a tablet, preferring instead to use it in its netbook form. In short, Windows 8 is a great desktop OS, but like iOS when I first started using it years ago, I'm not sure what to make of Windows 8 as a tablet OS. It's a totally different paradigm from how I normally look at Microsoft's venerable operating system.
Windows 8 is a . . . it's a . . . reboot. Just like Casino Royale in 2006 and The Amazing Spider-Man this year.
While I was studying in the university many, many, many years ago, I was more obsessed with Indiana Jones, MacGyver, and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man than James Bond. A coed who I shared Philosophy classes with dismissed my manhood when she found out I didn't know from what movie Carly Simon's Nobody Does it Better came from. A James Bond die-hard fan, she rolled her eyes when I admitted I didn't like Roger Moore. At that time, the only two Bond films I had watched were Sean Connery's Goldfinger and From Russia With Love, both of which I watched during a James Bond marathon at a hotel in Australia. Fast-forward to today: I'm a huge fan of Ian Fleming's original novels (Raymond Benson, John Gardner et.al just couldn't write Bond very well), watched all the Bond films, and routinely rock to You Know My Name while writing Linux technical documents. Casino Royale was a reboot in every sense of the word - if you've ever had the time to watch all the Bond films from Dr. No to the sucktastic Die Another Day, you would understand how the franchise totally spun a full 180 degree paradigm change with Daniel Craig and Eva Green's star-making film. It was James Bond, but not James Bond. Just like Windows 8 is not Windows, but still is.
After recently watching The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) on Blu-ray, I wrote a dissertation on the merits of the movie, explaining the historical aspects and references to the 70s and 60s comic books in the flick. I wrote how Lizard will always be a better character than the impotent Norman Osborn (who should've stayed dead until retarded Marvel writers in the 90s brought him back due to a Spider-Man Clone boycott and Marvel's bankruptcy) and how Spidey's attitude in TASM was actually more accurate to the 1960s Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire's weepy version. Like Peter Sanderson, Marvel's historian who wrote a piece on Spidey during Spidey's 365th anniversary (ASM#365 1992), I wrote a critique on just how bad the Spider-Man comic books today are and how the TASM reboot had the guts to start fresh in the same way DC Comics had the balls to reboot everything in the New 52 Universe. And then I stopped, thought about it, and deleted the whole thing, scans of old comic books, the dissertation, and all. As one fan wisely put it, publishers (i.e. Marvel) and film studios (i.e. Sony and Marvel Studios) no longer create content for my generation, but for today's tablet-buying, cellphone-toting, Internet-hogging generation. Readers and fans today have no idea how much of a prick Flash Thompson was or that John Jameson, Mary Jane's fiancée in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2 (2004), was Man-Wolf, Captain America's driver in the Avengers, and an astronaut in the 1960s.
The word "reboot" is a poor word to describe Microsoft's attempt to improve Windows, but in today's Twitter-obsessed society, it's the only apt word for it. Balding tech pundits (that's Dvorak over at PCMag.com) and nearsighted IT professionals mutter obscenities as much as they want about Windows 8 in the same volume I swear loudly when I hear the name "Dan Slott" (Amazing Spider-Man's current inept writer). Windows 8, for better or worst, wasn't designed for the gray-haired, bespectacled generation who loved DOS, Wordstar, and Leisure Suit Larry. Windows 8 is Microsoft's Casino Royale and The Amazing Spider-Man. You may curse the Start Screen in Windows 8 in the same breath you hate Daniel Craig, but you also might realize that no one has ever killed anyone in the James Bond films as brutally as Craig either. And suddenly, after repeated use, you find out that the Charms bar really isn't all that useless on a Windows 8 tablet and the tiles really aren't that bad.
While teaching English in Ho Chi Minh a couple of years back, I asked a British co-teacher of mine how he felt about Casino Royale and Daniel Craig. I instantly saw the familiar blazing eyes of a fanboy like myself and he rattled on about how they removed everything that was awesome about James Bond - the gadgets, the humor, and the sex appeal. I thought he would pop a blood vessel or kill someone with a tray of scones. With Skyfall (2012) contributing an exceptional chapter in the Bond films, I wonder if my old British friend is beginning to appreciate the reboot. And I wonder how he feels about Windows 8, too.