Everyone’s concerned with immediate box office hits. They want to make a buck. I get that, but I also think we need to take more risks and explore creativity. Not just as a culture, but as a people. To expand our minds and advance ourselves. Movies which are pushed on everyone, billed as big box office hits, namely Hollywood movies, are the cinematic equivalent of a huge bag of chips. Yeah, they taste good, you enjoy them in the moment, but are they good for you? What do you get out of them? There are so many movies that start out as experimental pieces which are then cherished as cult classics for decades to come as an integral part of culture. These movies sometimes even serve as inspiration for others in the future. Yeah, I get it, you don’t want to relax and unwind to a cinematic masterpiece; sometimes you just need something for your tired, post-work brain to chill out with. That being said, not every movie needs to be some big, overdone, action-packed piece.
Star Wars was initially planned as a trilogy. A New Hope, marked as episode four by its creator George Lucas, garnered such resounding acclaim it started an empire. The way in which it was filmed, the story, the characters, the style, so many parts of the movie had never been put together in such a way – or done before. It wasn’t a planned Hollywood production, but something Lucas was determined to put out. His drive, vision, and passion in his project really show. The movie is full of life, interesting characters, and, arguably most importantly, it sets off the viewer’s imaginations. Not only did Episode 4 make way for the next two in the intended trilogy set, but it led to books being written as well as multiple video games, cartoon series made for TV, and more trilogies such as the infamous prequels and those made under Disney’s ownership. Star Wars happened to be a box office hit, however it wasn’t made with that in mind, it was made out of passion and vision.
Alternatively, let’s take a look at Blade Runner. It inspired the Japanese sci-fi work Ghost in The Shell, and the more modern sequel, Blade Runner 2049. The concept of humans inhabiting technology was not a common one, and not one that appeared in movies. However, this idea, based on the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick, was brought to the big screen and a larger audience. Blade Runner is a sci-fi classic, arguably a foundation for many works to follow. Have you heard of it, though? Depends how into sci-fi you are. Compare this movie with E.T., released in the same year, 1982. I bet you’ve heard of this movie! It was an immediate box office hit, a cultural phenomenon even, often referenced for decades to follow, a part of the pop culture consciousness. However, it hasn’t inspired much since – besides references to it. Don’t get me wrong, E.T. is a wonderful movie. The thing is that it hasn’t had a lasting effect, or a ripple of inspiration in the way Blade Runner did. The point of this comparison being that one movie had a slow burn success, lasting decades and inspiring more work, while the other lit up and faded out. They are successful in different ways. Blade Runner wasn’t an immediate box office success, which might scare executives in movie production companies as they don’t consider the long-term success and overall cultural inspiration.
It seems my personal biggest gripe with remakes is that the focus is on the immediate hit. The focus of these remakes is to cash in on people’s nostalgia. I would rather see something new and interesting than a rehashing of something that was perfectly good to begin with. In fact, remaking it or redoing it might destroy the memories I had of the original, or might leave a bad taste in my mouth.
garner (v) – to collect or gather
resounding (adj.) – leaving no doubt; very definite
acclaim (n) – strong approval or praise
drive (n) – a strong desire for success
gripe (n) – a complaint
rehash (v) – to reuse old ideas or material without changing it very much