Hollywood Has No More New Movie Ideas
I recently wrote an article on the sad state of television, and it got me thinking about the next major form of mass entertainment being squandered, movies. It’s official; Hollywood is completely out of ideas. Go to the theater and see a movie. If you pick one at random, odds are it will be a meritless sequel, prequel, remake, re-imagining, or a spin-off. I don’t even have to write this to prove that. Anyone with half a mind can look around and realize that for him or herself. Of course, there is the occasional gem in each of these types of unoriginal cinema. If you didn’t like Back to the Future II, I don’t know what to tell you. But when a movie the likes of Paul Blart: Mall Cop makes $150 million dollars in the US, we definitely have a problem.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are a few original ideas in Hollywood, it just seems that they’re just getting fewer and farther between with each passing year. I believe there are two reasons for the decline in movie quality in the past decade or two. The easiest one and the one that you’ve already figured out I’m sure is that movie studios could care less what they put out there. The only thing they care about is if it’s profitable. It’s a business, I know, but studio executives should at least have a small amount of pride in their work. They don’t. The other reason awful movie after awful movie flood your local Cineplex is that you continue to go see them! Ticket prices go up, concession stand prices go up, quality goes down, and attendance rises? I may have to point to laziness. And people wonder why more than half of America is overweight.
I may seem bitter here, but that’s because I am. It just doesn’t make sense that movies made half a century ago are seen in most circles as better than their 21st century counterparts. With all the potential technology brings to the silver screen’s table, there needs to be a lot more Terminators and a lot less Teen Wolf Too. Hahaha…Sorry, just thinking of that movie makes me chuckle. And I’m not laughing with them; I’m laughing at them.
Now I could go way in depth and take the history of movies, or script writing, but I won’t. That would be boring. What I’ll do instead is go through and share with you 5 examples of the best and absolute worst in each type of unoriginal ideas making their talent-wasting way through Hollywood. The structure is very similar to my previous work. Each section will follow with a video either from the good side or the bad side, ha.
I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, I like a lot of sequels.” I do too. These more than any other have a great track record, and sometimes still do. The problem is that if a movie made enough money, a sequel is going to get made, period. There have been 5 Saw movies. It’s gotten to the point that if a movie makes a fair amount of money in theaters, fans will be clamoring for a sequel right away for no apparent reason, just because they liked the first one. We’ve been conditioned to do this. It’s possible for a movie to tell the whole story in one movie. That CAN be enough. Now keep in mind I’m not just talking about movies warranting sequels. I’m giving equal opportunity to a movie that needs another installment. There are great and awful examples of those as well. We’ve all looked forward to a sequel and been thoroughly disappointed in the finished product….and wanted our $10 or so back.
Best Sequels: The Matrix Revolutions, The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and Spiderman 2
Worst Sequels: Home Alone 3, Saw 4, Teen Wolf Too, The Exorcist 2, and Batman and Robin.
I think Hollywood is always looking for a new device to avoid original thought, and for a long time that was the sequel. But then I think the sequel got kind of strip-mined and depleted, so now we're into the prequel. So it's just another way of avoiding ever thinking of anything new, which is the ultimate goal of the Hollywood hit machine. When you can’t go forward anymore what do you do? Well go backward silly! I’ve noticed that a ton of these end in the words “beginning.” They couldn’t get any more obvious if they tried. You can plainly see that the good ones here seem to be part of a series and planned all along. But the bad ones are just the studios trying to make more coin on an idea the public will most likely pay to go see.
Best Prequels: Star Trek, Red Dragon, Terminator Salvation, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Worst Prequels: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Exorcist: The Beginning, Psycho IV: The Beginning, The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior, and The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning
I couldn't resist the chance to put up Indiana Jones. Awesome!
In my opinion, these are the lowest of the low. These are not to be confused with re-imaginings, which I will get into later. Remakes are basically a carbon copy of a previous release that’s had a modern facelift. In the recent history of cinema, film critics and cinemagoers have generally considered remakes inferior to earlier versions. There are of course exceptions to the rule. It’s these diamonds in the rough that make it possible for all the trash to get funding for their work. It was pretty difficult to find 5 good examples of remakes; I had to dig pretty deep. If you’ve heard the saying “a sequel is never better than the original,” you understand how I feel about remakes. Ha. Another noteworthy (and increasingly common) development is the use of a successful (usually older) television series to be remade as a feature film. Like other film remakes, these often fare badly at the box-office and/or are considered a poor reflection on the source material.
Best Remakes: Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job, The Addams Family, The Departed, and Miracle on 34th Street
Worst Remakes: The Fog, The Beverly Hillbillies, Psycho, The Amityville Horror, and The Bad News Bears
Recently, the term re-imagining has become popular to describe remakes that do not closely follow the original. Creators in the marketing of films use the term and television shows to inform audiences that the new product is not the same as the old one. Re-imaginings often contain tongue in cheek references to the original with characters and concepts of the same name, but significantly changed. In Tin Man (a critically acclaimed miniseries on The Sci-Fi Channel), a re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz, the main character is named DG (a reference to Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz), and the land she enters is called the Outer Zone (O.Z.). Re-imagining a franchise often leads to controversy within established fan communities as to which is more legitimate or more popular. It seems that these types of movies can go one two ways…amazing or dreadful. I have to say I was more than pleased when I saw the “reboot” of the Batman franchise after that waste of celluloid I mentioned above, Batman and Robin.
Best Re-Imaginings: Rob Zombies’ Halloween, The Nutty Professor, Dawn of the Dead, The Thing, and Batman Begins
Worst Re-Imaginings: Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, House of Wax, Prom Night, and Swept Away
This is still the best trailer I think I've ever seen.
That trailer still scares me. I recommend you don't watch The Thing at night while alone.
I noticed a large amount of trends while researching these topics. Horror seems to be the easiest, or at least the most done, genre to pump out new movies of the same idea. I had a tough time finding ones that hadn’t been elaborated upon, repackaged, or redone in some sort of way. I tried to leave out Star Wars movies. I could write a 10,000-page article just on the prequels. I don’t desire all the rabid “fanboys” to chase me down and take me out. Movies that some people swear by, like the holy trilogies, and others despise are hard to put in either category. I tried to be fair to movies I, myself, don’t enjoy if they made a ton of money at the box office. My apologies to all the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean fans. Numbers alone tell you that their sequels are more than noteworthy. Notable bad movies I purposely left out are the Highlander sequels. I thoroughly enjoy them, I know they’re bad, but it doesn’t change how I feel. Call me biased.
I you haven't seen a movie on my "good" lists, please do yourself a favor and rent and/or download it. You won't be dissappointed. Just thank me in your head ;-)
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