There seems to be a disturbing trend lately, one that has pervaded the movie business for years, but has become virtually ubiquitous in the past ten or twenty years. Originality in hollywood, it seems, has all but disappeared. Second and third reinventions of past films are now the norm, so-called “remakes” draw upon old stories and either update them for the 21st century or simply reimagine them (lately this is accomplished in a dark or our new favorite buzzword gritty way).
Hollywood’s filmmaking apathy is not confined simply to remakes, however. Fashionable trends catch fire and saturate the entire film market in a blanket of copycats and residuals. Take for instance the superhero movie; once confined to the productions of superman and later batman, now every fucking superhero gets a movie. Comic books have been pilfered for any semblance of a story so as to quickly produce and market the next crapfest. Enough is enough I say, yet I am strangely alone. The movie studios alone cannot be blamed for an overabundance of Nicholas Cage and Michael Bay, because there are millions upon millions who turn up at theatres to see this garbage.
Studios are so anxious to expound these worthless movies because of the replication inherently possible in them. Let me explain. Say we have a movie, a good movie like this year’s Oscar winner “The Hurt Locker”. Sure it is critically acclaimed and award winning and all around a great movie BUT why should they care when it came nowhere near approaching 100 million dollars in box office revenue? Moreover, it has no branding possibilities to garner further profits, nor is it likely to be up for multiple sequels.
Now, enter a movie like Transformers. Zero credibilty and critically panned. It (and it’s sequel) pretty much consisted of robots blowing shit up, Shia leboeuf (i’m not looking up how to spell that) stammering and jizzing in his pants and Megan Fox’s oily tits paraded around for about two hours. This, however, is not a problem in the least, as giant mega box office ticket sales, branded merchandising and unending sequel possibilties all negate any qualms about making a fucking stupid movie.
The point of this all is to illustrate how there is a dearth of quality or even original movies lately. Look at your local movie theatre’s “Now Playing” and I guarantee you’ll see at least a sequel, a remake and a 3 shitty romantic comedies at any given time. What we need are less Ghost Rider’s or Pirates of the Carribbean’s or remakes of The Hulk and more American History X’s.
Now this all may seem superfluous in the face of the original intent of this post, that of a review of Tim Burton’s latest, “Alice in Wonderland”. I feel, however, that everything I’ve stated in the above lengthy diatribe, all the creative failings and misgivings of modern hollywood can be directly correlated to “Alice”.
To me, Burton is especially guilty of the proliferation of tired and lackluster themes “reimagined”. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and the abysmal Planet of the Apes are all perfect examples of Burton’s insistence on approaching old movies, some very good, putting Johnny Depp in them, saturating the colors, making it slightly darker and weirder in tone and being done with them. Story somehow plays no role in these retellings and his patchwork plots are indicative of this. In these movies, Burton might as well be buttfucking Lewis Carroll and Roald Dahl’s corpses for all the good he’s doing to their respective legacies.
In conclusion, Burton needs to keep his weird ass out of the remake game. It is in his original concepts that his dark and alternative filmmaking approach can actually be put to good use and not just masturbation fodder for brooding teenage Nightmare Before Christmas disciples.