“Hey, Hollywood, it’s me [insert literally any film Director here]. I know it’s been a while but I’ve got this really great idea for a new film and I was just wondering whether you’d be interested in it. What’s it about? Well, it’s a pretty original idea and…What? No, it’s not a remake. Or a reboot. Or a sequel. Or a prequel. I mean, it’s something new it’s…Wait…You’ll pay me how much to make a Street Sharks movie?! LET’S GET FUCKING JAWESOME, BABY!”
Now, I imagine that’s not how every meeting with a movie executives goes nowadays, but judging by the constant stream of recycled content that appears to be saturating the current film market: it can’t be too far off. I don’t mean to be a pessimist, I mean, if someone paid me a cool $50 million to remake The Brave Little Toaster with an all-star cast I’d do it in a flash (FYI: I’d cast Danny DeVito as the titular Toaster). It just seems to me that the film industry nowadays has gotten far too lazy.
With Warner Bros. planning an unnecessary Willy Wonka prequel and Disney lining up a Mary Poppins sequel amongst their countless live-action remakes of beloved animated classics, it’s a little hard not to feel like everyone in Hollywood has simply run out of good, original ideas. It seems like every day yet another television show from my childhood is being given a gritty reboot for modern audiences, once more reminding me that the things I enjoyed are no longer modern enough for the current crop of movie-goers.
Having raided the ‘80s and ‘90s of Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Power Rangers, it’s likely only a matter of time before the mid ‘00s are similarly pillaged and the likes of the Rugrats are given the Michael Bay treatment of muted colours and bombastic explosions. Don’t get me wrong, a Godzilla-esque Reptar flick starring Megan Fox as Angelica would be an undeniably interesting car crash to watch, but I can’t help but feel that Tommy Pickles and co. should be left in the play-pen of nostalgia where they belong.
Nostalgia sells movie tickets however, and it doesn’t seem like Hollywood is keen to quit churning out remake after constant remake anytime soon. Not as long as they keep making money. From Jumanji to Captain Planet to Peter Rabbit – it seems like nothing is sacred anymore and no deceased film franchise is safe from being forcefully resurrected from the grave. Warner Bros. are undeniably guilty of this, as along with Willy Wonka’s unnecessary origin story, they have also announced that they will be resurrecting the Scooby-Doo franchise into a live-action adaptation known as S.C.O.O.B., with this hideously “hip” acronym being the first film in an expected Hannah Barbera Universe. Because, you know, literally every film nowadays needs to have a universe to go along with it.
Admittedly some adaptations can be both successful and faithful to the original source material. Paul King’s Paddington, for example, was an absolute charm of a film that gave its marmalade-loving, duffle-coated mammal the justice he truly deserved. But of course that’s getting a sequel as well, and the cynic in me can’t help but see it as yet another case of the corporate movie machine flogging a dead horse in order for a quick and easy buck (or in the case of the Transformers franchise: flogging said horse until it’s an unrecognisable heap of organs and pulpy sinew which is then ground up and repackaged as a beef burger). Not everything is doom and gloom though, as recent films such as the Daniels’ vastly experimental Swiss Army Man give me hope that maybe, just maybe, there is still a space in Hollywood for the truly creative. However, the fact that the former has only grossed $4.9 million in a world where Alice Through the Looking Glass has managed to attain $299.4 million amidst the furore of Johnny Depp’s domestic violence accusations is not a very comforting sign.
Though can we really blame the big wig movie executives for funding what are essentially far more profitable projects? Or does part of the blame lie on the paying customer who is more than happy to flock to any film franchise that appears vaguely recognisable as opposed to seeking out a truly innovative cinematic experience? The answer probably lies somewhere in-between the two.
So, Hollywood, if you’re reading this, I’m begging you: Please stop ruining my childhood. Adult life is bleak enough as it is without you constantly reminding me that everything I once loved is in dire needs of being updated for “the kids”. My back hurts and my knees creak. Now leave my fucking cartoons alone.