That Movie Does Need to be Made

64fdee4a039c20870dfeaf0612bc1c8c_20fc76867f32827c21b7c32d81b8090f When filmmakers announce a new movie online, especially if it is an adaptation, sequel, or remake, it is a safe bet that among the first comments will be the statement, “Why are they making this? It does not need to be a movie.” I am here to tell you that those comments are incorrect and what the people actually mean is, “This does not interest me in the least and I don’t know why anyone finds it interesting.” That is a perfectly acceptable response. Not every film is for you, and that is ok, but just because you’re not interested, doesn’t mean the film should not exist.

Movies have been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was little my mom worked days and my dad worked nights, meaning we only had family time on the weekends. Weekends mostly involved four things: doing yardwork and laundry, and watching football and movies. My parents were not big fans of either board or video games, so our family activity for my entire life (until the death of my father) was to watch movies together. For those of you old enough to not only remember Blockbuster, but also remember when they first rolled out their rewards program in 1999, normally you had to pay yearly price for it, much like the Nerdpocalypse premium feed. When the program began, they told us that we’d earned a lifetime membership into the rewards program at the gold level because the previous year we rented the fifth most movies from their store. We averaged renting a movie and a half every day that year, usually two or three a night in the summer because I could stay up later. That may sound crazy, but you’d be surprised to know that Blockbuster was only one of three places we rented movies. At that point, the demise of video stores had yet to begin. The following is an obvious statement, but it must be made: Not all of the 600 or so movies we saw that year were very good. My mom would watch anything and I was much closer to her than my dad who had no problem calling it a night when some horrible movie was on. Now, like most people who lose a parent, I would give anything just to watch and discuss a movie with my Dad again, the way we used to.

Maybe every movie is not a masterpiece and worth recommending, but many movies can inspire someone or bring a family together for 90+ minutes. If movies were required to have an A+ screenwriter, actors, director and cinematographer (oh and don’t forget--a strong message or tale that needs to be told and hasn’t been), a great year would see maybe five movies being released. There are billions of dollars to be made in movies, so I doubt the number of films made each year will ever change much, since you are never going to convince people to give up their livelihood. On the contrary, with cheaper avenues to cash, like direct to video on demand, we may see the number of films actually increase to what it was in the past when the studio plan was not so feast or famine with their budgets.

The easiest thing to rail against is the current remake culture that is taking Hollywood by storm. There have always been and always will be remakes, but they do seem to be more prevalent than ever before. Maybe it has something to do with the attention span of our country.  As the average attention span decreases, people may be less likely to go back and watch old films. Maybe that old film is a true classic and should be seen by everyone. When it comes to remakes, I believe it is fair to be disinterested in an original film’s style of filmmaking that died out before you were born, or preferring to have a movie populated by actors you recognize. One has to be careful when approaching a remake, because there are times when the remake is the classic, or just as much of a classic as the original, such as the following examples:

The Thing From Another World vs. The Thing

Infernal Affairs vs. The Departed

The Fly (1958) vs. The Fly (1986)

Scarface (1932) vs. Scarface (1983)

Ocean’s 11 (1960) vs. Ocean’s 11 (2001)

Judge Dredd vs. Dredd

Seven Samurai vs. The Magnificent Seven (1960) vs. The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Remakes and adaptations (of which there are more than a dozen left to be released before the end of this year) are like everything else: do not judge them too quickly or you may miss out on something special. Instead of rushing to say, “This movie is a waste of time and money,” I suggest being hopeful that the target audience loves it and keeping your mind open. If the trailer looks good, or all the reviews are positive, consider giving it a chance. If you think a movie is a bad idea, and it turns out to be a big flop, it is perfectly acceptable to offer a hearty, “I told you so,” to the people who were excited for it. Some movies are great, some are horrible, and most are somewhere in the middle, but all deserve and need to be made. All movies (independent of quality) generate numerous jobs (covering everything from craft services to actors to spending an average of 40+ million on advertising per studio movie), countless memories and just might inspire the next generation of great filmmakers.

The Great Remake Debate

debate The only thing that can ruin your childhood is repressed memories. Michael Bay isn’t gonna do it. Disney isn’t gonna do it. No one is going to ruin your childhood by making a movie, TV show or cartoon based on something you grew up loving. Let me tell you why. Right off the bat let me tell you that nothing can take away those old things you love. You can always go back to them and short of a Lucas-like intervention that stuff will always be there for you. So just keep that in mind when the Ninja Turtles (not teenage or mutant) movie comes out in a couple of years. And while some remakes do indeed turn out god awful I see more people piling on the nerd hate simply because a studio has dared to change a property in the least little bit.

Let’s look at the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Most people would agree those movies are effing great! You know who doesn’t? The Tolkien estate. They hate them and it’s because Peter Jackson, a giant Tolkien fan, dared to make some changes to the story as he put it on the screen. The world exploded with love for this story and once it was complete it walked away with a few Oscars. However the Tolkien clan sits around pouting and refusing to help WB with the movies and declaring them the worst thing ever. I see angry fanboys as the Tolkien clan. Angry at any change from the one and only thing they know and love. But change is good! Change keeps things from getting stagnant and boring! Change keeps things fresh and interesting and gives you a reason to sit through something you already know well because you never know when you’ll get something a tad different and cool as hell. I saw Sin City before reading any of the comics. The thing is that movie was a shot for shot recreation of the comics making the comics instantly boring as sin to me as I’d just seen this exact same thing. Yawn!

Different for the sake of different isn’t a bad thing as long as the new ideas are actually good.

But we still have to deal with too many remakes coming along, right? Well not really. Honestly you can just ignore them if you like. This is not what you should do though. If a studio remakes a property you love I think it’s your duty to see it. If it’s a movie go to a matinee, a TV show watch a few episodes, or a video game buy it used. Try them out with minimal monetary loss but try them out. Experience this remake so you can understand what is different, why they chose to make something new out of something old and, if you hate it, know what it is you are bitching about. If it’s good and BAM you just added a new experience to a beloved property.

Now is the point where you pull your head out of your own ass and look at the big picture. People always like to say, “The original still holds up!” That’s not always true but even so you have to understand that it holds up… for you. There’s a new generation out there old enough to go to the movies on their own. This new digital generation doesn’t know what movies were like before CGI. They expect certain production values or it will just look like crappy old movies to them. So instead of trying to convince kids to like giant puppet rock monsters why not just present the same story with higher production values and new plot elements that speak more to them than they do to us? I put forward that we get remakes not just to the studios to make a buck but so that the next generation can enjoy the same stories we already got without having to learn to like older films first. The worst that could happen is the kids not liking it. But more than likely you’ll have a new generation suddenly interested in a property enough to check out the original. You’ll see merchandising pimping out the new and the old and you’ll probably end up with an awesome Delorian model on your disk while your kids argue over who gets to be Marty as they play Back to the Future with the neighborhood kids that all saw the new movie.

Stop with the hate. Enjoy what you love and smile as you watch a whole new bunch of kids enjoy it as well.

George Lucas did ruin things for us though but at least we don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Movie Reboots, Remakes, and Retries...Let's give it a second look!

In the modern world of cinema there are many adages that are true. One of the more prominent ones is, if the movie fails we can just reboot it! We have seen this general thought process come in many forms. Whether it is because of the lack of success in a movie, to retain ownership rights, or to just avoid coming up with new ideas Hollywood is currently crazy for movie reboots. With the newly released remake, The Amazing Spider-Man, we are once again put on the train to Rebootsville and told everything will be alright, but will it? The general consensus about big budget Hollywood reboots is, they are bad news and shouldn't be done. However, I would like talk about why we might actually be wrong. Queue menacing music and table flipping gestures.

In the comic book movie and action genres reboots are clearly the most prevalent. We have seen reboots of Batman, Judge Dredd, Total Recall, Spider-Man, Daredevil and many others done or put in the on deck circle for future remakes. All of these are horrible ideas and none should be remade? Arguably Christopher Nolan's Batman movies have been leaps and bounds above what Burton and especially Schumacher were able to accomplish. The much more serious tone and progression in film making in general have made the Batman trilogy accepted as amazing films not just a superhero movies.

Another massive franchise that has received a soft reboot of sorts is Fox's X-Men. With the release of X-Men First Class audiences were re-introduced to some crowd favorites and some new comers. While I would have preferred a full reboot I think this works alright for Fox. I think a large part of not full dismissing the previous films was to not be saddled with the label of reboot. X-Men First Class allowed for a kick in the pants to a stale and failing franchise. While I thought X-Men First Class was not as good as X-Men 2, it served as the jumping off point that Fox needed to make up for that atrocity they called X-Men 3.

So are all reboots a bad thing? Surely not, but what about if my favorite movie gets remade? What if they remake Back to the Future starring Zak Efron!? Well they just will make it and I will choose to see it or not. The creation of remakes doesn't diminish the originals. Sometimes movies are for different generations. While I love Goonies and Back to the Future more than my unborn child I think younger kids would get less out of it than I did. Context is everything. When kids see the new Spider-Man they are wrapped up in the awesomeness of the CGI and story. If you showed them the Raimi ones, they might like it but probably not as much. The reason being, they have seen better CGI on Saturday morning cartoons. The tech is always pushing forward. I watched some Raimi Spider-Man clips and guess what...they look very dated, not bad, just dated.

Now with some movies we have out right failures from the jump and they NEED to be rebooted. Take Superman Returns for instance. This thing was a giant failure and really let down tons of fans, me included. However, the upcoming Man of Steel promises to be a real game changer in the world of Superman. I for one can't wait. Should they just make a sequel to an abhorrent movie and hope we ignore the super kid and a terrible Lois Lane? No, they need to wipe everyone's mind of that movie. So something like Superman, who is the granddaddy of all superheroes needs to be done right. Reboot AWAY!!!!

So that begs the ultimate question. What is the track record of the recent reboots, remakes, and retries? Well pretty damn good actually. Lets take a look:

Batman: WAAAAY better than previous tries! Spider-Man: In my opinion much more character driven, better effects. X-Men: Better in some parts. Far better than X-Men 1 and 3. Total Recall: Trailer looks promising. Original is fun, but not a great movie. Judge Dredd: Oh Come couldn't be worst! G.I. Joe: Soft reboot but looks to be light years ahead 21 Jump Street: Reboot of a show, but hilarious movie. Conan: Ok that was a FAIL. Original not amazing, just nostalgia drives it. Robocop: Great original, cast in new movie has amazing potential.

Lastly, there is some Hollywood scuttlebutt (that term is hilarious) that a remake of The Twilight Saga is going to happen pretty quickly after the movie series is done. Well to that I say, fuck you! I have my limits. Redoing a movie series immediately after it was done before is just trying to cash in. While all movies are designed to make money that is just craven. Also, those movie SUCK OUT LOUD! So I don't think we should dismiss reboots out of hand so easily, but I do think there are bounds of reason. Put your thoughts in the comments!

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