The “reboot” is simply a fancy marketing phrase for dredging past properties and remaking them/adding a prequel/sequel. Studios love this, because there’s already brand-name recognition to these films. But in general, it’s a terrible idea. There are some exceptions—properties and franchises so endearing they can endure decades of fallow mediocrity. I can count three: Star Trek, James Bond, and Batman. Each of these franchises has at least six films and at least three god-awful missteps, yet they endure because their pop-mythology resonates.
Star Trek is last of these to get a successful fast lift, and, boy, did it need it. After the high-point of Star-Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, a gleefully operatic revenge flick with intimations of Moby Dick, the Star Trek franchise got more hermetic, pushing more and more non-Trekkies out until all that was left were impenetrable glorified TV episodes. Thankfully, Paramount hired just the right guy: pop-whiz J. J. Abrams. Abrams makes Star Trek cool again by rediscovering and reinvigorating the original Trek’s magic—1960s-era optimism, time travel, Spock v. Kirk, and gizmos. And he nails it. The plot is a bit nonsensical, but who cares? This is an origins movie, and Chris Pine (as young Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (as young Spock) are spot-on perfect. The movie moves at a lightning pace, the special effects are outstanding, and the supporting cast (young Sulu, Bones, etc.) are dead-on. So what if the villain (bald, cutthroat Erica Bana) is sort of weak? There’s always the sequel. A,
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