This is not the first time I have fished in these waters writing about this subject, which is quite appropriate since the topic I wanted to touch on was how the movie industry appears to have a problem with looking forward and instead seems to go back into its past and recycle things over and over.
I’ve touched on this theme here and here, but here we go again.
At first, this snippet of writing was going to be about how frustrating it is to me to discover that Hollywood – instead of coming up with new and fresh takes on the art of storytelling – have dived back into the 1980s and 90s and are remaking movies from that era.
Did the world truly need another version of Red Dawn and Total Recall?
At first, this posting was to going to be a comment about how remakes rarely live up to the original. Cases in point include the cultural failures of the remakes of Psycho (1998) (which won 2 Razzie Awards) and The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008). These movies may have made money, but few people assert that these remakes were as good or better than the originals.
But then, upon further review, I decided I had something more to say about these remakes other than to shake my fist towards the heavens and shout, “Find some originality, Hollywood!”
Kudos go to the program On The Media for pointing this out to me, but it appears that the original invading army in the new version of Red Dawn were going to be Chinese. However, since there is a potential audience of over one billion Chinese who may want to spend their money and see this movie and the producers don’t want to alienate that many folk…the villians of this flick were changed to North Koreans.
Okay…one thing to recycle, but quite another to kowtow. Well, it is a capitalist system we live in so who am I to gripe?
Okay, okay…how do those plucky (and somewhat) impoverished North Koreans manage to cross that large body of salt water known as the Pacific Ocean? Rafts?
Moving on to Total Recall, I must give kudos to my middle child, Jared, for calling it.
Before we saw Men in Black 3 (my review here), my boys and I saw the trailer for this sci-fi remake. In this preview, there is a moment when the Colin Farrell is in the recall machine and the technician suggest something to Farrell about being a spy. The machine turns on and then all heck-in-a-handbasket breaks out.
It is right before the door is broken down and the guns come out that Jared leans over to me and says, “So the whole movie after this point is his dream, right?”
My middle child, Jared, the film industry expert, nailed it. Granted, the 1990 version of this movie starring the former governor of California ended ambiguously, but it’s interested to note that my eleven-year-old – after only watching one minute of the trailer – grokked a twisted plot device that might flummox older folk.
However, if this entire post has been about films looking backward, why is the title of this here rambling called “Film Forward”? Because I wanted to give kudos (Wow! A three-kudos post!) to the folks of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.
Near the end of the movie, there is a shot of the skyline of New York City. What I noticed instantly – mainly because I am quite observant when it comes to the silver screen – was that the animators had included the completed version of One World Trade Center (previously known as Freedom Tower).
Kudos to them for looking forward to what the skyline of Gotham will look like. This also guarantees that when this movie is seen after 2013 on DVD, Blu-Ray, tablet, or whatever format is invented later, that the skyline shot will look authentic.
Now, Hollywood, can we have some more original material (i.e., Bridesmaids, Tree of Life, The King’s Speech, Comic Con Episode IV) and less movies that have a number after them (i.e., Cars 2, Scream 4, Final Destination 5, Happy Feet Two)?
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