Doesn’t it just feel like you’re Arnold over there lately, strapped into that chair and force-fed the disgusting mindwipe that is Hollywood product these days?
Patrick Goldstein has written a piece that touches on something that has been digging further and further under my skin the last couple of weeks: Hollywood’s disgusting rehashing of previous material.
It’s nothing new, of course, Remakes and sequelitis have plagued the industry from its earliest days. When it comes to economics and brass tacks, the fact is, these places are run by business-minded individuals who look to capitalize on public interest at every turn. And in an economy such as this, it simply spells disaster for moviegoers who long for something new. It doesn’t even have to be GOOD but FRESH would be appreciated. But what’s rather sad is the fact that a number of the pipelined reboots, remakes and sequels have ties to projects that never lit up the box office to begin with, clearly lost touch with audiences over the years, or in some cases, never even found much interest on home video. How does that math compute?
For some, it might seem like the oldest complaint in the book, but have you taken a look at what we have in store lately? Just in the past few weeks a slew of titles have popped up either as newly announced projects or projects landing writers, directors, etc. Do we really need a remake of “Total Recall” 19 years later? Is America so deprived of the “Short Circuit” franchise that it needs a reboot as well (no doubt some weird capitalization on “WALL-E”)? And a new “Scream” trilogy? Really?
The “Alien” prequel and “Predators” project (a sequel) have glimmers of promise but they also represent franchises that need to die a quick and merciful death. Ditto “Robocop,” also getting the reboot treatment. Did the box office nose dive of “Terminator Salvation” not teach these people anything? Fox needs to buy the “Terminator” rights (which will be on the market soon) and end it all for us with “Predaterminalien.” Just get it over with. Smothered in the night. There are other stories, folks.
Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. I’m pretty sure that if no one showed up for “Red Dawn” in 1984, no one’s going to be banging down the door 25 or 30 years later. Guy has already told you about the new “Hamlet” film, which can’t be faulted since classics will be revisited, but with that “talent?” Tony Scott, in addition to grasping at straws with a new “Alien” stab, has a remake of Walter Hill’s “The Warriors” up his sleeve. Despite decidedly lacking interest in 2004′s original film, Brad Silberling is talking about a sequel to “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Somehow making it stop motion, he seems to think, will make it appealing this time.
I’m sure you already know about the sure-to-be-tragic “Karate Kid” remake. No comment is really necessary. Obviously a “Wall Street” sequel would be pertinent, so I’m on board for that…for now. But I don’t think anyone can see it as a lot more than a cash grab for a studio capitalizing on the fiscal environment. (Ironic, that.) The creativity drought has even reached over to poor Danny Boyle, who seems happy sticking with Mumbai and “Maximum City” for one of his next films, thank you very much. Counting on lightning striking twice, no doubt. And of course there is the new “Clash of the Titans” film, which as “good fun” as it may turn out to be, still ranks right alongside these titles as totally unnecessary.
Nathaniel Rogers points out that while he likes a good superhero sequel as much as the next guy, it might be preferable to devote this woeful lack of innovation to revisiting films that were at least creatively compelling. That won’t register for the money-conscious suits, which is fair enough, but I like that he’s dreaming.
All of this brings out my inner Lewis Black to the point that my stomach aches. A certain dose of sequels and remakes is understandable and, for a guy with populist interest coursing through his veins to some extent such as me, welcome. But this is overkill. Beyond the overwhelming numbers, it’s also the choice of product. “Total Recall?” Really?
I talked to Francis Ford Coppola two days ago about his latest film, “Tetro.” The movie is a failure, though not as drastically so as “Youth Without Youth.” He told me he’s now having the career he wanted to have when he started this business in the early 1970s. It took him nearly 40 years to get here. He clawed himself out of debt with a number of the questionable creative decisions he’s made over the years and now has total creative freedom to explore the absurd and poignant alike.
And you know what? I’m confident he’ll give us at least one more masterpiece from this new phase of his career because he has the room to explore those possibilities. He also has the luxry to do so. In a creatively sapped environment such as the one detailed above, I don’t know how any intrepid young (smart) filmmakers can feel passionate or, certainly, positive about the trajectory of this business. This is not an environment that breeds profundity.
Ease up on the throttle, Hollywood. You’re murdering your darlings.