HOLLYWOOD─This is a question I have wanted to know for years: where is the originality in cinema? It feels like the great movies of the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s are long gone. I mean the level of originality in moviemaking in those decades were amazing. I mean you had films like “Public Enemy,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Casablanca,” “Double Indemnity,” “A Star is Born,” “The Graduate,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Guess Who is Coming to Dinner,” “The Godfather,” “Taxi Driver,” “Jaws,” “The Exorcist” and so many others are iconic.
It felt like Hollywood and its writers cared about making movies that stood out, went against the norm and delivered something to audiences that we’ve never seen before. Today, not so much, it seems everything we see is an adaptation of a TV show, a Broadway musical, a remake of a classic, a sequel or a reboot to a movie that quite honestly doesn’t need a remake or a reboot. The biggest craze right now feels like delivering sequels to movies that are nearly 20-30 years old or giving the audience what they think is a ‘fresh take’ on things.
Let me give you a prime example, John Carpenter’s 1978 classic “Halloween” is unlike any other. I don’t think a movie has ever come close to capturing that level of suspense, horror and tension that Carpenter did with the camera. With that said we got a remake in 2007 courtesy of Rob Zombie that was more a copy and paste of the original. Fast-forward to 2018, and we got another version of “Halloween” which wasn’t called a remake, not quite a reboot, but not quite a sequel either. Was it interesting? Yes. Better than the original not a chance.
It feels like cinema is stuck in this conundrum where the focus is solely and I mean solely on delivering new versions of classics for new audiences. While I find that interesting, at the same time it just raises the question as to why? For those of us who have seen the original we’re always going to compare it to the original. Sequels are always great because we want to see if the filmmakers can outdo the original. In most cases, they never even come close to making that happen.
So it begs the question WHY even invest a ton of money? It’s a level of comfort, it’s about safety. Hollywood knows when you make a sequel to a classic you have an audience who is going to come to see that movie. It’s less of a gamble compared to delivering a unique and original idea where Hollywood studio wigs have no idea of this movie will be a hit or bust. We have already seen this happen with many Disney classics that were delivered live-action versions that were not automatic hits with audiences.
I don’t believe there are a lack of talented writers in Hollywood, there are probably tons of scripts floating around with stellar ideas never seen on the screen, just waiting for someone to take a gamble and do something that could wow movie lovers or leave them scratching their head. That can be a good or bad thing. So here’s the thing I would put out there to Hollywood: art is art. It’s always a gamble when you make a movie you never know what the outcome will be. Who in their right mind would have thought a live-action version of the Broadway musical “Cats” would be a success on the big screen?
There are things better left in their original realm, and there are those ideas that should be explored on the big screen. I mean the ONLY original flick that I can think of for 2020 that is a must-see on my list that looks unlike anything I’ve seen before is “Tenet” directed by Christopher Nolan. The man is not afraid to tackle the unknown and as an aspiring filmmaker that is something that brings me a ton of joy people.