Sequels, Remakes And Reboots - Oh My

The new Star Trek movie "Star Trek Into Darkness" hits theaters in the US this weekend to favorable reviews and the potential to make a lot of money for Paramount. Star Trek, as a franchise, has been around for almost 50 years now and is the latest in a line of movie "reboots" of popular properties. The movie is the first sequel following the franchise reboot with "Star Trek" (2009). Sequels and reboots seem to almost be the norm these days. The first movie sequel was "Fall of a Nation", the sequel to "Birth of a Nation" way back in 1916 - so it's hardly a new concept. The first numbered sequel appears to have been "The Godfather: Part II" in 1974. 

The Enterprise looks like it may need to be rebooted itself...
A sequel is typically the continuing story of established characters from a previous movie, and in that vein a "prequel" is a "previous sequel" - a story chronologically happening before the time line of the original film.  The reboot, in it's modern context, is a retelling or re-imagining of the same established story - such as "Batman Begins" (2005) being a reboot of "Batman" (1989), where both movies lay out the origin story of the titular hero.

Where a movie "remake" may simply be another version of a previously filmed tale ("A Christmas Carol" and "Moby Dick" have been remade several times, for example), the reboot implies the remake of multiple original movies - the reboot of a movie franchise.The James Bond movie franchise went from a number of sequels featuring the many adventures of the famous agent, to a reboot in 2005 when Daniel Craig took over as 007.

One aspect of today's reboots are the relatively short time span between them - the Spiderman movies are notable in that regard; the reboot - "The Amazing Spiderman" (2012) - was launched only 5 years after the last movie of the original three Sam Rami films. So any thought of "bringing the characters to a new generation" sort of goes out the window with that timeline.

It's money, folks. Moviegoers become involved with the characters, and will pay to see them again. If a franchise begins to get stale, then there is always (apparently) the reboot option to fall back on. A fresh cast, a bit of a different take, and we are off. It's not especially creative, but it can be enjoyable for the public - give them something they are comfortable with, yet a little bit different.

I know I am personally looking forward to "Man Of Steel", another reboot...

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