By: Steven Goodman – Asst. Opinions Editor
This summer, like many past, featured a slew of movies either based on a franchise already existing in another medium or whose sole purpose was to tack on another installment to a popular franchise. This seems to be the case year after year – and not just during the summer months. Nearly every movie I saw this summer was some form of a reboot, remake, sequel/prequel or based on a book/TV show/comic book, sometimes encompassing more than one of these categories. This has given me the impression that originality is disappearing from Hollywood.
More popular summer films such as “The Giver,” “22 Jump Street,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” were all built upon some previously established source material. This strikes me as though Hollywood has taken up recycling their films: instead of creating original films, their new motto is squeeze every ounce of story, no matter how lackluster, from each franchise.
I’m by no means against adapting films from novels or TV series, as I’ve seen some great movies based on books, but I feel that it is becoming too common of a practice. Most of the time, a map of the movies to be released in a year can be laid out in advance. Summer will bring the next Captain America, Iron Man, Thor or Avengers; Halloween will bring about the next installment of whatever horror franchise is terrifying us, whether it be “Saw” or “Insidious,” or a “Halloween”/”Friday the 13th”/”Nightmare on Elm Street” reboot.
To me, it is sequels and reboots that come far too quickly. Sequels, while they can be fun, are rarely as good as the original or, even rarer, better than the original. While sequels have a time and place, seeing the same characters repeatedly on the screen grows old very quickly.
Reboots have a time and place as well, though are often not necessary and come too quickly. Rebooting films such as “RoboCop” and “Total Recall” after 20-plus years I can understand. However, rebooting films that feature Spiderman and Batman just a couple of years after the original franchise has wrapped up seems not only rushed, but insulting to those who made the original films.
I remember a creative writing teacher I had in high school telling us that every story in the world has already been told; the trick is finding a new way to tell it. If this is true, I would much rather see the same story acted out in five different ways by five different characters than witness the same character’s story five times. Either way, it is definitely time to step away from a constant stream of sequels and reboots and focus more on creating new characters and stories.