“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!” –Hamlet, Scene 5, Act 1
I hate when I see another reboot come on the television or a movie release. It reeks of desperation, of a complete and utter lack of imagination. It has that slick and greasy feel to it, like when the doctor uses too much petroleum jelly during an ultrasound. The public knows that it is laziness, the studio knows that it’s laziness, and even the director knows that it’s laziness. The only people under the delusion that it is not lazy writing seems to be the producers and the actors.
According to Amazon, there are currently over 3,000,000 book series over there and something like 10,000,000 individual books available for sale. Within that there could be as many as 3 different interpretations of any said novel, so 30 million potential movies.
So what do we, the paying populace, get from the land of Hollywood? A reboot. An 8th sequel. A prequel that isn’t but it really is but nobody wants to say anything so hush hush.
I can’t believe that we’re out of ideas. I’ve been to Amazon, read unknown authors, and seen ideas that I have never seen before. If me, with my limited book buying budget and reading time, can find new and intriguing ideas in fiction, why can’t a movie producer? Why can’t a star with guaranteed drawing power pull a novel out of nowhere and turn it into a movie?
I can already hear people running to the comments and screaming “They do that, you twit! And they turn into flops!” And while I understand your argument, I believe that what constitutes a blockbuster has changed over the past 20 years. Because despite what we want to think, the United States is no longer the target market for any movie producer.
Look at it this way: did we really need a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie? Misty Massey has an excellent fantasy series based on pirates (Mad Kestrel) which would translate to movies amazingly. Yet we got another PotC movie. Why? Not because it made any money in the U.S. (production costs- $300 million; domestic gross- $309 million) but because it made money overseas (worldwide gross- $963 million). And the world market loves them some reboots.
So does this mean that we’re cursed to see nothing but reboots and sequels? Welllll…. I’m not going to say “no” because I see what Marvel is putting out over the next four years and yeah, that’s a ton of sequels. I also think that we’re going to see a Fast and Furious 28: Dom’s Nursing Home Adventures. Hey, if they can wring money out of an intellectual property like that, more power to them, right?
This is where me not being a “pure” capitalist rears its ugly head, because I love originality. I do enjoy sequels, don’t get me wrong. Reboots? Meh. Prequels? F*ck you, George Lucas.
Ahem. Pardon me.
But not all reboots and whatnot suck completely, and not all original ideas make money, so I’ll try not to generalize here.
Possibly the best movie I’ve seen recently was Kubo and the Two Strings. It was the perfect movie for someone like me: good story, original idea, good pacing, great accompanying music.
The one thing that it didn’t do, however, was make any money. Domestically it lost something like $20 million. And since studios are out to make money (despite what we tend to think), “failures” like Kubo make them gun-shy about trying new and original ideas. The same thing happened to John Carter.
So it’s back to reboots and unwanted sequels, of prequels that reek of desperation and a lack of hope. Of tired old tropes being thrown out there, and more unwanted movies with Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
So alas, poor Yorick the muse, struck down by 50 lashes with a wet noodle because there is no more imagination in the minds of those who seek to entertain us in media.