The release of the Power Rangers movie sees a growing trend of unnecessary adaptations dragging their unwanted bodies onto our screens, only for us to lampoon them when they appear and write them off as failures. Which mostly they are. Making a movie about something that is relevant at the time is necessary. Power Rangers had a few movies back when they were at the hight of their ass kicking powers. But over 20 years later? Seriously? Are they even relevant anymore? Who wants to see a Power Rangers movie these days? Hollywood has intensified their campaign to rehash, remake but ultimately destroy.
Remakes are not a new concept. They are seen throughout society and will never go away. Book publishers rerelease copies of big sellers or classic novels to the masses. Musicians rerelease classic albums ether for anniversaries or just to make a quick buck. Movies have remakes to make exciting ideas better than the original as was the case with such titles as John Carpenter’s The Thing, 2012’s Dredd, Ocean’s Eleven from 2001 or Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. But ultimately a lack of original ideas has driven Hollywood to remake everything under the sun, just to ether make a quick buck or start some kind of franchise.
Robocop, Swallows and Amazons, Dumb and Dumberer, and Jason Bourne are just a few examples of remakes or unnecessary sequels Hollywood have made just to see what sticks. Some of these fraudulent spin-offs, sequels or prequels are ten, twenty or even thirty years before their original respective films. Dumb and Dumberer, which is the mean-spirited sequel to the hilarious adventures of Harry and Lloyd, is twenty years later and it really tarnishes the good name of the film.
Hollywood is desperate. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, NowTV and so many more streaming services are crushing the most popular medium of old, the cinema. When you can pay £5 a month to watch unlimited movies with more added every week, what is the point in paying nearly double that to watch a single movie? And now pirating movies is at an all-time high. Despite the destruction of Putlocker, illegal online streaming sites publish current releases some weeks or even months before the movie is in theatres. HBO series Game of Thrones set a world record for illegal streams. Big budget movies are dying because the price of a single ticket just isn’t worth the value anymore.
One of the biggest issues is disillusionment. The premise of going to the cinema and seeing something breathtaking just isn’t a reality anymore. Original films are dead. There are no good movies anymore. Most films are remakes or transitioning previous material to the big screen. You just don’t see amazing original films like Hell or High Water, Arrival or Interstellar. Everything is a remake or a sequel and it breaks your heart. Hollywood are desperately scouring the lands for every possible franchise they could milk beyond oblivion. We’re getting 8 Avatar films, probably another 5 Fast and Furious films, 29 more Star Wars films, 93 more Avengers films and 812 more Godzilla films. Hollywood would rather fire the money cannon at a target with a well-known fan base and when the movie goes wrong, they simply hold their hands up and proclaim “hey, it worked last time.”
But why do they practise this? Is it because we as consumers are too stupid to open our eyes to new things? Is it because Hollywood have run out of ideas? Perhaps it is simply because the original content that Hollywood produces is actual rubbish? Take Jupiter Ascending for example, a multimillion pound creation from the Wachowski siblings, famed for creating the Matrix and its crappy sequels. That movie bombed. Horribly. It was an absolute mess and nearly ruined Eddie Redmayne’s career. Remember watching John Carter? No? Well I do…christ what a bomb that was. It cost a reported £350 million to make and was intended to be the start of a franchise – boy did Disney get it wrong on that one. There are so many terrible movies that Hollywood’s hands are forced to play the ‘well established to the audience card.’ They can spend millions creating new faces for consumers to love, but when the audiences don’t like them that says it all. We want new, original and excited ideas, not recycled TV shows from the late 90’s, countless comic book adaptations or unnecessary sequels to films like Sex and the City.
When it comes to Hollywood, it’s a business. They are there to make money, not hold your hand gleefully every time you skip to the movie theatre. They’re ruthless corporate fat cats who’d milk every inch of your childhood for your dollars and dimes. Whatever makes them money will ultimately determine what they create – regardless of their product’s quality. We moan about sequels, spin-offs and reboots but ultimately we have to hold our hands up and appreciate that we have such a rich history of cinema. A history that holds timeless classics that are perfect works of art. Cinema is art. And we as the gallery’s paying visitors must accept the inevitability of where the industry is going. We’re going to see a lot more Avengers. We’re going to see a lot more Star Wars. We’re going to see a lot more big name blockbusters that might not have the same impact that a smaller movie might have on you.
At the end of the day, it boils down to the simplest of things your mother told you when growing up – “You can’t have too much of a good thing.” We can have endless superhero movies but ultimately you’ll just get tired of seeing the same characters embark on tension free adventures as you know they are tied down to multi-picture contracts. We just need to learn to love what we’ve got and be joyful in the fact that some of our favourite characters have come to life. One of the greatest movies of all time is a film about Batman fighting the Joker for crying out loud! If you told 7-year-old me, that one of the best movies of all time was about Batman, I’d probably explode. And so would 7-year-old you too.
Cinema does bring us together. We agree or disagree with what we see. Ultimately we all agree though, that movies do need change. Copious amounts of Ex Machinas, tensionless scenes, disposable CGI armies and non-existent lasting stakes are what today’s movies are all about. Franchise here, spin-off there. The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, moves on. But moving on is something Hollywood won’t ever do. This culture, our culture of movies milking every possible penny out of pitiful peasants is what has always been. The changes to society and the way our culture portrays itself today allows the movie makers to conduct their acts of evil ten fold. Rejoice in the movie culture of today – I mean it can’t get any worse, can it?
Oh wait…never mind.