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Gritty Reboot refers to a subgenre of movie trailer remix and Grimdark fan art that involves recutting a pre-existing movie trailer or creating a completely new live-action footage in which the canonical characters are re-imagined in the style of film noir.
The label “gritty reboot” was originally used as early as July 2009 in a Cracked articled describing a comic by Mike Jacobsen depicting a Grimdark rendition of The Wizard of Oz in which the Tin Man and the Scarecrow are shown surgically removing Dorothy’s brain and heart.
“Gritty reboot” film trailers can be seen as an offshoot from the broader genre of fan art known as “Grimdark,” an Internet slang adjective that is used to describe a setting or situation in a fictional work considered to be dark, depressive, violent or edgy, particularly in fan fiction literature. The term can also be applied to an artistic style that uses dark shading and muted colors, if not monochromes, for visual effects.
in October 2009, the term “gritty reboot” was used again in another Cracked article detailing five superhero characters that were ruined by modern film adaptations, citing Spider-Man’s future as told through the 2006 limited series Reign as a “gritty faux-pas.” One of the earliest examples of “Gritty Reboot” trailers was uploaded by YouTuber Silverlightsaber on March 17th, 2010, utilizing footage from six movies to make a darker version of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (shown below). As of March 2013, the video has more than 2.1 million views.
Throughout 2010, fan requests of gritty reboots appeared on the Escapist discussion forums, while parody images and videos in the style of Alternate Universe and Ruined Childhood appeared on College Humor, Dorkly and Cracked. In July, the term was also first defined on Urban Dictionary and in September, YouTuber megasteakman uploaded a Pokemon reboot video (shown below, left) depicting a war between Pokemon trainers, leading Ash down a Grimdark path. As of March 2013, this video has accrued more than 10.8 million views. Throughout 2011 and 2012, fan-made gritty reboot videos and images were featured on Cracked, The FW, Funny or Die and Crunchyroll. In March 2013, a YouTube channel dedicated solely to making gritty reboot videos launched with a darker version of the video Harvest Moon (shown below, right).
As of September 2013, there are more than 18,000 search results for “gritty reboot” on YouTube.