In future, students of media/film/popular culture studies will look back to Hollywood and its blockbuster films of today and perhaps see it as a computer error of sorts. We have a problem and so, we follow the first steps of I.T. support… by rebooting.
I guess the irritation for me started with Star Trek even though I did completely enjoy the movie, its plot, and even the idea of using time travel to reboot its history. Why not? It is a science fiction film after all and what’s better than seeing Spock again? Seeing two Spocks of course!
But then, I saw the trailer for The Amazing Spider Man… and I thought… uh-oh. I never watched Hulk or Incredible Hulk for the same reason as I have reserved feelings for the new Spider Man. It’s just another interpretation. Hollywood’s big producers and directors are just trying to wave their (pardon my French) cocks around, needing their ego sated. There seems to be a complete lack of creativity in the minds of the Hollywood machine now.
I do not claim to be a film critic nor do I understand the inner workings of Hollywood, but I can see, as a mere by-stander or audience that rebooting and spending shite loads of money on the reboots, is purely so that they can be (more) sure of making shite loads of money back. You don’t need to educate your audience on the content, you just need to woo them with your fantastic graphics and effects and famous celebrities.
What of new stories and ideas? Where is the basic artistic instinct to create and inspire? I guess that is only for the independent film market and perhaps film schools?
I was recently told about the rumour that Transformers will be rebooted… and my first thought, probably yours too, was ‘so soon?’ Yup.. and guess who’s going to be rebooting it? You’ll never get it as it sounds like some sort of a sick joke. It is Michael Bay himself.
Then today, I saw that Total Recall is being rebooted too and will be released later this year. No Arnie, but it’s Colin Farrell instead. The cast is made up of big names galore, making me think that the producers are probably hoping that this film will be too big to fail. You know what? I think that will probably be true. The Total Recall (2012) Trailer does look really big and expensive.
Film audiences today have clearly been moulded into the workings of a greedy Hollywood, always looking for the next big(ger) thing. There is a reason why we call films like the original Total Recall a Classic. It’s because it is old and was meaningful in its time. Now, if this habit of rebooting continues on, every generation will have its own concept of what these film franchise stories are, and they will all be different. Not that it is bad, but with too many versions of the same thing floating around, the quality or value would become based completely on more artificial and technological criteria, dumbing down all the basic points of the art of storytelling like plot, character, story, rhythm and fantasy.
Films are no longer produced to be diachronic pieces of art, to try and outlast its generation of viewers. Films are now synchronic to its moment, just a fling, like everything else. We are told that with new technology and media, we are now not able to concentrate and require information to be available quickly and efficiently.
Are we really incapable of taking time to understand and appreciate things or is it that we are being driven to be consumers of quick flashy products that sell fast and are of very little cultural value by the powers to be? Probably both.
I hope that the arts will be able to move on from this phase of ‘looking back’ to create new, meaningful pieces that will be worth its place on the shelves (or probably more accurately, data archives) of film schools in fifty, or even just twenty years. Not a new concern for sure, as it was clearly stressed to us in the film Jubilee back in 1978 when Borgia Ginz told us that: “This is the generation that grew up and forgot to lead their lives. They were so busy watching my endless movie.”