Thursday, 17 January 2013

For a Few Million Dollars More

Three days ago, I talked about continuity, and expanding stories with sequels and spin-offs. And since I had so much fun raging against the machine, today I'm continuing that with a look at the next trick in the Capitalistic Hollywood playbook.
The Word of the Day is, 'REMAKE'

You know, in doing research for this article [he does research now?] I was trying to find the difference between a remake and a reboot. At first glance, there's very little difference. But while you're thinking about it yourselves, let me give you the two definitions.

Remake /ree'meyk/ v. 1. To make again or anew. ♦n. 2. Anything that has been remade, renovated, or rebuilt. 3. Movies. A more recent version of an older film.

Compare and contrast with:

Reboot /ree'boot/ v. 1. To restart (a computer) by loading the operating system; boot again. ♦n. 2. An act or instance of restarting a computer. 3. The process of starting over again.

Unfortunately, Dictionary has yet to catch up with the culture, in the use of the word Reboot, but the basic idea is there. Here's the difference, as I understand it.
Remakes identify with and accept the original, while building upon it. Reboots ignore the original, taking what they want, reinventing the rest.
Or, to put it in an anthropomorphic way:

The Remake looks at the original version of the movie, tips its hat and says "You did a good job, friend. But now it's my turn."

The Reboot sneers over at the original, gives it the finger and turns to the audience saying, "This is how it SHOULD have been done."

Now, both of these have issues. The very important issue of money. They both exist so the Hollywood executives can get another few of those titular million dollars more. But that doesn't necessarily mean all remakes are bad.
That is the beauty of the movie-making system. While it's run by a bunch of stereotypical, evil businessmen, the movies themselves are made by a group of real people who actually LIKE to make movies. And no matter how much the executives are doing this just to add a few more coins in their swimming pool full of gold, the movie-makers are still fully capable of wringing a good movie out of it.
(Capable, mind you. Not pre-determined.)

So what bothers me more than the Capitalism, is the mindset of the remake, as it stands. Because I always have (and always will) see the Reboot as an insult. They remade a Total Recall movie in 2012, and I happen to like the new version better, just because I don't like listening to Arnold Schwarzenegger chew his way through the English Language, and it didn't take itself too seriously. But a year before that, they made a remake of Arnie's first acting role, Conan the Barbarian.
Now, I agree that Arnold can't act. But for that movie, he didn't have to! He was playing a mono-syllabic, oil-slicked, pulsating muscle! It was the perfect role for an ex-bodybuilder. At this rate, It's just starting to feel like someone has a vendetta against Austrians.
Huh, Perhaps this "Jews run the media" conspiracy theory has some credence after all . . . [don't hate me, it's a joke]
But my point is, that movie was good. Sure, it's old, but it's great for what it is. It served its purpose. It's just unkind for people to keep coming up saying "Yeah, I can do that again!"

You know what I want to see? Remakes of Bad Movies. That at least has some logic to it. These people keep thinking: "I can do better".
Well . . . you can! Just think about it:
The Room; Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever; Troll 2; Battlefield Earth; Star Wars: Holiday Special; The Shining . . .
All made again so we can finally have a good film by that name. Or, on the flip-side, it could give a great point, counter-point for audiences that enjoyed them for being so crap. That way, people can check out how terrible the original was, then enjoy the new film even more!
We've already seen a good Batman, Evil Dead & Robocop movie. But I've never seen a good Catwoman or Troll movie! Why can't someone make those?

Well, because that's not how the Hollywood Movie Marketing Machine works. There's too much risk in innovative ideas, so they prefer to rehash old ideas they know were successful. And only after someone takes a risk and makes money, do Hollywood execs also take such risks. But then, it's not a risk anymore. Rather, a business decision.

It's a sad state of affairs . . .

But I've not given up on Hollywood. As I said, those actual film-makers at the helm are perfectly capable of making good movies. And I am still looking forward to a few.
And in fact, that's how I plan to end this "Hollywood Dollars" trilogy, looking at the upside.
So next time [in just two days, because an overheating CPU screwed up my unofficial schedule] We'll talk about some of the upcoming films that I am looking forward to, (and not looking forward to), that are based on stories that already exist.
That's right. Next time, we're going to run down the "Best & Worst Upcoming Movie Adaptations", in as much detail as I am willing to scrounge from the internet . . .

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