12.11.2013

Death by Sequel

The Onion's Facebook page shared an article from a sister website, The A.V. Club, on the 15 Worst Films of 2013.
pic borrowed from The Onion's FB

I read along bemused and slightly nodding while I read down and slowly discovered that I didn't recognize more than half of the movie titles in this list. Until I reached number 1. That's when it really connected with me.

Movie makers have repeatedly chosen to recycle favorite themes, movies, cartoons, and series--all likely childhood joys for those of us who grew up in the 1980s--over creating brand new, fresh content in order to further their money-grabbing attempts at the box office.

The author of the A.V. Club article discusses how the Die Hard series of films--and Bruce Willis--have officially killed off the series' iconic superhero leading man, John McClane, by the time the last sequel (A Good Day to Die Hard) came out not too long ago:

"Twenty-five years after he first donned the badge and white tank top, Bruce Willis has finally done what countless terrorists with exaggerated accents could not: He’s killed John McClane. Not literally, of course, as that would require Hollywood to retire a character who still puts asses in seats...Gone is the cowboy charisma, taking with it any traces of fear and vulnerability; where Willis once made audiences feel every shard of glass he stepped on, his wisecracking lawman now shrugs off a vertical plummet through several skylights. He’s an impostor..."

Isn't this disillusion so incredibly depressing? There's quite a few of us out there who are a little jaded because we feel the same exact way as this author.

I've been experiencing a growing sequel and film reboot exhaustion over the past couple of years. Whenever there is a movie or television series that seems a little out of the normal I almost pounce on it, in hopes it can restore my faith in Hollywood...

As an example, why did studios find it necessary to reboot The Hulk (2003) after only five years (2008)? Or Spider-man (2002, 2004, and 2007) after only five years (2012)? Besides, didn't Toy Story 3 feel a little forced to you? I sure could have avoided that dramatic incinerator scene and the huge knot in my throat that it caused. And, as far as I can admit, there really only was ONE Matrix movie *covers ears and says lalalala*

Although movie makers are entranced with the opportunity to revisit those things we hold most precious in our hazy, rose-colored, aging memories, they forget that we get far more pleasure out of experiences than things. None of these sequels, revamps, reboots, or rehashes will ever match the pure exhilaration and pleasure that movie viewers get from the original viewing. Instead they chose to beat a dead horse with these reincarnations, which essentially convert our heroes and precious moments into objectified commodities that fatten the movie studio coffers.

I hope these movie studios reconsider the unintended side effect of leaving movie buffs and fans a little alienated from one of the very best sources of entertainment in our lives: movies. Especially during hard, economic times, when people are more likely to watch more closely how they spend on entertainment.

Let's hope they act sooner than later, or they may risk becoming like one of the over-cliched, necessary evil bad guys in the movies they keep pushing at us: obsolete.