I love Hollywood movies. I really do. My earliest memories of movies were in the 80’s with Indiana Jones: and the Temple of Doom on television at Christmas time, closely followed by Jaws, E.T. and The Karate Kid. Into the 90’s from age ten, I got really into science fiction and enjoyed Terminator 2: Judgement Day and crime films like Pulp Fiction and Seven. These films transported me into a different world and showed me something new and exciting, leaving me wanting more.
But guess what? For me, ever since the turn of the century, movies have become a lot less memorable. Maybe it’s me. I’m a boring adult now after all. Maybe I’m changing as I’ve a busier and more serious life, but I honestly struggle to find many films in the last 10-15 years that I really thought were original. Pans Labyrinth and Let The Right One In were notable exceptions. Both were foreign. The latter was subsequently remade for Hollywood with the movie Let Me In.
The comic book superhero has grown into its very own movie genre. Spiderman when it first came out in 2002 was fresh and new and captured the essence of the comic and cartoon that preceded it. But then we were inflicted with five more of them, including another far inferior reboot in 2012 with The Amazing Spiderman. At this stage I was all superheroed out and there was little that was amazing any more about the famous webslinger. Batman was no different. Since 1989 we have had seven caped crusader movies and an eighth if you include Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Nothing seems to be new these days. Everything is now a remake, re-imagining, or a reboot. 80’s classics are being made again to find a new audience – e.g. The Karate Kid, Star Trek, Star Wars and more recently; Wonderwoman.
From a marketing point of view, I guess it makes sense why the major studios are doing this; instead of trying to find a new audience – they want to produce content for an existing established fanbase. Old farts like me can educate the young ones so we have done all the viral and word of mouth marketing for the studios. Genius – less risk and less cost.
Oh and lets not forget, movies that can produce merchandise especially in toys, are a license to print money. No wonder Disney bought Marvel.
But what about the writing? Are less people going into screenwriting these days?
In a way, this trend is not new. In the 60’s, movies were war, western or of the musical genre. It wasn’t until the early 70’s with the arrival of young brat pack filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Brian de Palma, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg did we see some new original ideas and approaches. These guys had trouble breaking through initially though. Francis Ford Coppola openly admited that he was at risk of being fired at any moment on The Godfather as did Spielberg on Jaws. But when one movie succeeded, slowly other risky films were allowed to be made such as Taxi driver, and Star Wars.
Maybe today we are at another end of a cycle. Perhaps there will be some new independent stories to be told. I have a feeling it won’t be for a while yet.
Elisabeth Banks Charlies Angels reboot has got a summer 2019 release date.
Netflix to its credit seems to be the shining light in television and film. Everything that’s original can be found there. Winona Ryder’s Stranger Things was the hit show of 2016 but lets be honest, this show is not entirely original either. It has more than a few echoes of past classics such as The Goonies, E.T. and The X-Files. Still better than “Spiderman 9”, so lets not complain too much.
Winona is not the only star to swap the big screen for the small one. Kevin Spacey has found big success in the Netflix original; House of Cards. Oh wait….. that’s a remake of an old BBC series. Silly me!