Twilight the Animated Series, fingers crossed…

the Third of Four Mild Invectives on Originality

Everybody’s up in arms about originality, especially with the moving pictures where Hollywood seems to be trolling through books, graphic novels, and potential remakes, sequels and reboots at an alarming rate.  Yeah, you’re saying they’ve always done this; books have always been targeted by Hollywood, and the explosion in popularity of more independent graphic novels is the natural evolution of this.

Remakes and reboots are nothing new, so get over it.  Cecil B. DeMille remade his film The Buccaneer twenty years later, although due to his illness he had to turn most of the control over to his son in law.  And his film The Squaw Man, based on the play of the same name?  He remade that one twice.

Demille’s most famous film, The Ten Commandments?  He did that one before too, as a silent film in 1923.  That remake is the sixth highest grossing film of all time after inflation, and was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

But no, no you’re right, remakes should be outlawed.

I’m not saying every remake is gold, and there are plenty of lists out there ranking the best and worst of them.  Oddly enough, The Departed shows up on both lists.  Most people agree that among the worst remakes out there are Psycho (for no other reason than what was the point—Gus, if all you wanted was to watch  Psycho in color, I think there’s cheaper ways to do it than remake the entire movie shot for shot) Planet of the Apes, Swept Away, and the Wicker Man.

But without remakes we wouldn’t have True Lies, the Thing, the Fly, or the Maltese Falcon.  Or the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which was remade in 1993 and then again as the Invasion.  That latest one shows up on some ‘worst remake’ lists because it was more a Prozac overdose than alien invasion compared to the ’78 version and because it has a happy ending.  Mostly it was the happy ending.

Remakes and reboots, trolling graphic novels and tween vampire fan fiction isn’t all Hollywood has in its sights now.  Apparently one does not need a narrative, characters or a plot of any kind to adapt into a movie these days.

For proof of that see the rumors that Summit Entertainment is looking for any way to keep their Twilight franchise going beyond the last film, from spinoffs to remaking the entire series with a new cast.  Summit claims this isn’t true, and while they’d back Stephanie Meyer if she continued the series, they’re not planning anything else.

I’m sure they’re simply concerned about fan reaction to a spinoff and undermining the artistic impact of the vampire/romance genre.  They’d like to keep Twilight pure.  Or maybe they’re just hammering out the final details for the Beetlejuice-esque cartoon series.

They really wouldn’t have to change much.   And just for the record, that is totally Robert Pattinson’s hair.

Studios have their hands full right now anyway.  They don’t have time to write Twilight spinoffs—not when they’re sending their interns into bookstores to ask where the nonfiction section is.

For the last few years self-help books and other guides have become the new farmlands of hack script writers living in the studio rom-com machine.

He’s Just Not That Into You?  Act Like a Woman, Think Like a Man?  What to Expect When You’re Expecting?  Self help books lobotomized and crowned with a title that already has an established recognition factor?  Queen Bees and Wannabees was partly the basis for Mean Girls, and that worked out pretty well.  Mining the self help shelves for the next ensemble comedy project seems like desperation to a certain degree, but they’re making money.

He’s Just Not That Into You was made for $40 million and took in over $178; What to Expect When You’re Expecting had the same budget and after three weeks in theaters is up to $45 million.  Think Like a Man was made for $12 million and after almost two months has taken in $92 million, knocking the Hunger Games out of the top spot its opening weekend.

I picture a handful of people sitting around a boardroom table bored out of their minds with nothing to pitch, until their conversation meanders around to whatever self help fad paperback their equally bored wives are reading this week; after each making fun of their significant others for a few minutes they realize they can spend a day and bang out a script based on what little they’ve gleaned from their wives’ incessantly babbling about the book.

Ninety-percent of the script is probably spliced together from the handful of rejected or shelved idea they’d already come up with.

That’s how we almost got a sequel to Se7en—some crap-assed script about a psychic FBI agent that they rewrote as Somerset to market it as Ei8ht.  At least David Fincher had the good sense to point out that it was a fucking stupid idea and made no sense, so that was scrapped.  Until someone asked, “Why don’t we just film the original script, you know, the one that had nothing to do with Seven?”  And now Anthony Hopkins is apparently starring in it under its original title.

My point is, there’s a shit-ton of scripts lying around.  Who’s going to notice if you take a male lead here and a female supporting character there, throw in some crap from abandoned Ashton Kutcher flick, ask yourself, “What would John Hughes do?” and then do that in the shittiest way possible.

No, that can’t be how it’s done, right?

Why not?

It isn’t about making movies anymore; it’s just about marketing a movie ticket, and with bestselling self-help books that’s pretty much in the bag already.

All that’s left is finding a leading man with some abs and a good smile, an actress hot enough for guys to sit through with their girlfriends but not too hot that the girlfriends will hate her, and whatever happens between the opening and closing credits is altogether inconsequential.  As long as there’s a handful of stereotypical jokes about how guys are like children and would starve to death in a day on a pile of dirty laundry you’re good.  Then the smiling abs guy apologizes in some overblown grand and romantic fashion.

Think of the ending for How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days where Matthew McConaughey has to jump on his super cool motorcycle and chase down the one cab out of over thirteen thousand in New York City with Kate Hudson in it.  He finds it of course; stopping traffic on the George Washington Bridge so he can convince her his abs would be way more satisfying than achieving her lifelong dream of writing about politics in Washington DC.

No, it’s totally cool that there’s already construction on the bridge constricting traffic, making a hellish commute even worse—he has to bring her their love fern and save the day.  Then make out.  And make you late for work.  But that’s cool; you didn’t need that job anyway.

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About mattS

Couch potato, burrito aficionado, whiskey sour drinker, handyman, writer of interesting things.

Posted on June 19, 2012, in Rant, TV & Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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