Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

The Original Conversation that You've Seen Before

If I were to be honest, one of the things I enjoy in life, is actually the cinema experience. Big screen, dark lights, however you want to describe it, I've always been a fan. Unfortunately, the rising cost of tickets, and the lack of anything of real interest, has cut down how much I go.

Still, I saw Clash of the Titans, and even if my motivations were not purely cinematic, I've no one to blame but myself for seeing that piece of trash. However, there was worse, as I noticed in the lobby, staring at posters. I love posters, too, incidentally--they can be really neat, and quite artistic, though sometimes they're not. Take, for example, the poster for the A-Team. It's a pretty crap poster for what will most likely be a pretty crap film. Why they're remaking the TV series into a feature film, I have no idea. It's the fault of my own generation, though--the kids who are my students and social circle, for the most part, have never heard of the A-Team. I tried explaining it as a crappy TV series with Mr. T. but that didn't help. I had the same problem when I explained the remake of the Karate Kid, as well. It's completely appalling that Jackie Chan is beating up twelve year olds but none of the kids knew who he was, or that this was a remake of the film where Pat Morita disturbed a generation with his Wax On, Wax Off bullshit way of teaching martial arts. Still, who didn't love it when they were eight?

But still, remaking it?

And remaking Nightmare on Elm Street?

There was even a new Robin Hood film. As if we didn't learn enough from a film that smashed Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, a scenery chewing Alan Rickman, and Bryan Adams' music together.

I realised, somewhere, that I didn't actually see one new idea on the walls. Everything was a remake, a rebuild, a reimagining. And this stuff, it made money. It was the commercial film industry, running full steam ahead, bleeding millions of dollars, 3D glasses, and singers that were equal to Bryan Adams. This was, in fact, what sold--and what people who had to sell things, and buy things, believed everyone wanted.

It got my thinking, a touch, about the nature of commercial projects, and how much originality doesn't feature into that. We're all raised with the notion that there are no original ideas, a saying that is usually presented by the least creative of us, since even if you can argue the limitation of narrative as a vehicle of choice, there are some many things that can be done, said, and created that it does a disservice to believe it. But yet, it seems that it is believed. There are original films (and music and books and TV shows and cars and so on and so forth) that do not have a track record, or in build audience, things that are not given the commercial title because they are, in fact, original. Has it come, then, when I stood round looking at the posters for all these remakes, and then thinking of music that sounds the same, the books that are all defined by genre and bland writing, that to be commercial simply means that you aren't original?

I figured I was pretty cynical after that film, but the cynicism, it remains.


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