The death of originality
It's a truth universally acknowledged that they don't make 'em like they used to.
And never has that been more true than in the modern era of movie sequels upon movie trequels, where it's nigh on impossible to get a movie off the ground if there's not at least a prior comic book, TV show, cartoon, and/or toy to hitch it on - preferably from the 80s.
Here's an alarming excerpt from a rather scathing article, titled optimistically The Day the Movies Died, moaning about how Hollywood is ignoring the success of something original like Chris Nolan's Inception in favour of more of the same pabulum (footnotes below, detailing exactly which future flicks the author is referring to):
"...Let's look ahead to what's on the menu for this year: four adaptations of comic books. One prequel to an adaptation of a comic book. One sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a toy. One sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on an amusement-park ride. One prequel to a remake. Two sequels to cartoons. One sequel to a comedy. An adaptation of a children's book. An adaptation of a Saturday-morning cartoon. One sequel with a 4 in the title. Two sequels with a 5 in the title. One sequel that, if it were inclined to use numbers, would have to have a 7-1/2 in the title.*
And no Inception. Now, to be fair, in modern Hollywood, it usually takes two years, not one, for an idea to make its way through the alimentary canal of the system and onto multiplex screens, so we should really be looking at summer 2012 to see the fruit of Nolan's success. So here's what's on tap two summers from now: an adaptation of a comic book. A reboot of an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a sequel to an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a reboot of an adaptation of a TV show. A sequel to a sequel to a reboot of an adaptation of a comic book. A sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a cartoon. A sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a sequel to a movie based on a young-adult novel.**"
Recently, I've noticed how, rather than what was a film like, people often ask me how dreadful a particular film was. Often with ghoulish anticipation/fascination. Especially when it comes to films titled something like: Big Momma's House: Like Father Like Son. (And frankly, if you choose to spend your money on a movie with a title like that, I'm sure you've long since stopped reading by now. Especially when I started using long words.)
For those who like to visualise these things in hard-to-read chart form, here's a geeky graph showing which sequels were deemed better than the originals.
What the hell is going on in a world where not only are we, the movie-going public, fed predictable rubbish, we (more often than not) lap it up? Is it safe for Hollywood to assume the ongoing supply of gormless teenage boys willing to watch any old crap as long as it has some cool explosions?
Sure, there may be a few token good sequels in the universe (Godfather 2, Toy Story 3) but really, it's enough to make you want to Scream(4)!
*Captain America, Cowboys & Aliens, Green Lantern, and Thor; X-Men: First Class; Transformers 3; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides; Rise of the Apes; Cars 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2; The Hangover Part II; Winnie the Pooh; The Smurfs in 3D; Spy Kids 4; Fast Five and Final Destination 5; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
**The Avengers; Spider-Man (3D); Men in Black 3 (3D); Star Trek untitled; Batman 3; Monsters, Inc. 2; Madagascar 3; Ice Age: Continental Drift in 3D; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2.