Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Desperation in the land of make-believe.

I've got an axe to grind with Hollywood about a couple of things. One subject is something I've talked about here before, but I'm going to devote a good chunk of this post to the subject even though I might get unnecessarily frustrated and upset thinking about it too much. It's the dearth of creativity in the land of make-believe that has compelled filmmakers to churn out one damn remake after the next.

One of the most recent culprits -- yes, sadly, only ONE OF -- was the "Friday the 13th" reboot. I'm not here to rail on the flick harshly, except to say I should have known better to think a remake would be as good or better than the 1980 original. My curiosity as a fan of the franchise almost demanded I check it out, and I did. I wasn't too disappointed. The remake was, very simply, all right. It was competent. I hadn't seen anything truly different from the many slasher films I had seen before. There was nothing truly creative about it.

And that last sentence, boys and girls, is the problem.

If any creativity had been applied in this instance, there wouldn't have been a remake. We wouldn't even have seen the newest installment of "Friday the 13th". We would have seen something different...and note that I'm not saying something ORIGINAL. Creativity isn't the same as originality. Hell, there hasn't been a legitimately 'new' idea in storytelling for a very, very long time.

Creativity can go a long way. Ask George Lucas. Or better yet, don't. It would have been better to ask him back when he was honestly fucking creative. He didn't give us anything new, but he did make films that became lasting testaments to American culture. Films like "American Graffiti", "THX 1138" and, naturally, "Star Wars". They had an impact because he had a vision very few had -- borrowing from many sources, granted, but still a vision. "Star Wars" alone created a modern mythology and revitalized the Science Fiction genre.

And dammit, it could only go downhill from there.

Was there anything in the "Star Wars" prequels Lucas directed that had creativity? Was there the slightest amount of gravitas in any aspect of his filmmaking between 1999 and 2005, any part of the new trilogy that had even a FRACTION of the impact of what he accomplished in 1977? No. If it was just the case he hadn't directed a friggin' film for 22 years before "The Phantom Menace", that would be one thing. But he lost his creativity as well as his talent, it seems. There is a significant creative deficit in Hollywood on the whole, and remakes are only one symptom of the problem. (And they're a damn big one. Think about it. Did anyone want shit to come to theatres like "Starsky and Hutch" or "The Dukes of Hazzard"?)

Hollywood knows this, of course. They have to...they would be enormously stupid if they didn't, and you have to have some kind of intelligence to make money. But I'm beginning to wonder if they think we, their audience, are the stupid ones because they think we'll go to the theatre for one remake after another or something else that screams out loud, "WE ONLY GIVE A SHIT ABOUT MAKING MONEY, NOT ENTERTAINMENT!" And there's a remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" coming soon. That's damned scary.

The second thing I have to say is this: Hollywood, you're showing how greedy you are pushing the Blu-ray on us so damned hard. I could care less about what one study or another says about them being getting more and more popular. We're not in the best of times right now, economically speaking. Maybe you ought to limit yourselves to getting the word out about standard DVDs, which as far as I'm concerned are just as good. Maybe it has to do with the fact Hollywood will make more money from consumers with Blu-ray, and that's shameless with things so unsure. Maybe it's just me.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I'm loving Blu-ray. It means I can get a DVD only 2 months old for £5, instead of between £15 and £20. I don't buy Blu-ray.

    Oh, and Blu-ray players are crazy expensive. Way better to buy a PS3, like I have.

    I have a cineworld card, it costs £13 a month and means I can go to the pictures as often as I want. Individual tickets cost £6.50, and I usually go once a week at least.

    I hate remakes. I hate quite a lot of films (stupid ones) but there has also been some good films this year and last. I liked Role Mode and I liked Hangover. I loved Dark Knight. Wonder Emporium was weird but creative. The upcoming films... Avatar, Holmes, Marvel films, a few others... seem promising, but we shall have to wait and see.

    Your point about creativity is well-made, however, especially when you realise the best Hollywood movies are based on books.