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On recycled culture

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Over the last 2 years I've built up a massive collection of movies, and I'm able to see the difference between those made until a decade ago and what we have today. I'm referring to the standard big budget blockbuster type movies, not the indie/arthouse type, though I have plenty of both types.
It seems like every Hollywood blockbuster movie released these days is either based on a superhero, or a sequel to the former, or a remake of a cult classic that kills whatever made the original look good. I'm not a fan of superhero comics as I've said earlier, and turning them into a movie is just lazy writing at best. As for sequels, it makes sense if there's actually a basis for continuing the story. The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are examples of sequels done right. Then again they're movie adaptations of books, so you would expect that since an entire book story won't fit into the standard 2 hour movie duration. The Matrix was another case of sequels gone wrong - while visually appealing, they made a hash of storytelling, mixing up Judaeo-Christian and Eastern philosophy, while Revolutions had a rather disappointing ending. The original Matrix still is a cult film, and it stood on its own, at the end it is implied that Neo defeated the machines without getting into the details of how.

So why on earth does a frat boy comedy like Hangover require not one but 2 sequels, with the exact same premise in a marginally different setting? Look at the rest. Multiple sequels to X-Men, Transformers and the like. Or take the Fast and the Furious franchise. It's been running for the last dozen years and is quite visually appealing in terms of the underground racing scene, and has a memorable cast of characters. Yet the story's stretched paper thin by now, and the 6th and latest installment has the crew receiving a pardon at the end of the movie so that they can go back to living normal lives in the US. One of the characters returns to the series and is reunited with her beau, while 2 others who became a couple are now raising their infant. It could have just ended there, the gang back together and looking forward to retirement since they've struck it rich and are no longer fugitives from the US government. But no, there's going to be yet another sequel next year. Even the tragic death of actor Paul Walker didn't stop them from going ahead.

What's even worse are the remakes. Totally antiseptic, bland, PG-13 rated and airbrushed for a wider audience, getting rid of the trademark low budget special effects and violence that characterized the originals. Paul Verhoeven's classic Total Recall starring Arnie was remade recently. And apparently Mad Max, the bloody post apocalyptic Australian movie that launched Mel Gibson's career 35 years ago, is also getting a sanitized makeover starring Charlize Theron.
Blame it on the uncertain economy maybe, but studios are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. The last truly interesting and fresh story I can recall was Inception, and even that was 4 years ago.

Years from now we'll look back on this period with respect to cinema and wonder at the total lack of originality.

In other news, on June 14th this year, my blog hit its ten year anniversary. My very first post was rather terse, being as it was I had decided to move from my still older Blogspot blog. It's been quite the ride over the years, though I've gone months without posting in recent times. My habit of faithfully tagging each post has also paid off - the tag cloud (how old fashioned it seems now) on the side show the most popular types of posts at a glance.


( 1 comment ^^ — I can has comment? )
Jul. 23rd, 2014 11:39 am (UTC)
Where did all the time go??! It feels like yesterday.

uhm, well, there are a few movies which were OK, but yeah the general summer blockbuster trend is not very promising. I guess it happens everywhere. Soon this crop will dry up and we will get better movies.

Just wait.
They will be back.
( 1 comment ^^ — I can has comment? )