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Hackery hobbles Hollywood
Posted on November 18, 2005

Sitting in my red velvety seat while munching on some liquid buttery popcorn, I wait for the screen to illuminate with the anticipated film. I’ve purchased my ridiculously expensive movie ticket and I’m ready to enjoy a unique, creative work from one of today’s brilliant moviemakers. Each time I enter the theater I begin with this pre-constructed ideal for my movie experience. However, lately it seems like my money has been contributing to overdone remakes and knock-off ideas. Today’s filmmakers do not seem to be producing any original ideas.

This summer provided a downfall of these blockbusters. The latest trend in movies is to steal ideas from comic books, television, books, musicals, video games and the music industry. I have to admit the makers of these films are smart; they know where the money’s at.

They are feeding off the curiosity of original form of entertainment’s fan base. They know readers will see “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” comic book readers will see “Fantastic Four,” video gamers will see
“Doom” and thespians will see “Rent.” The movie industry has even begun to target music fans with films like “8 Mile” and “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” starring popular artists. However, these ideas allow little originality for the creative forces behind the films.

While it’s exciting to see a favorite work adapted to the big screen, in most cases, the original still reigns supreme.

It seems that nearly every movie these days holds a credit for the original book. Even though it’s bad enough filmmakers are not coming out with their own ideas, they are also following moneymaking trends. The success of the “Lord of Rings” series sparked a production of many other fantasy novel adaptations, including the upcoming “The Chronicles of Narina” and last year’s “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

What bothers me the most about these film adaptations is that moviegoers, especially the younger generations, will fail to recognize the original geniuses behind the film.

Today’s filmmakers are feeding off their own kind by producing remakes of some beloved classics. Remakes such as the “The Parent Trap” based on the 1961 version starring Haley Mills and the upcoming “Yours, Mine and Ours” based on the 1968 version starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball have left the originals forgotten.

I was appalled when I first saw the preview for the remake “Charlie and Chocolate Factory” based on the 1971 classic “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” I couldn’t fathom any actor, even the multi-talented Johnny Depp, replacing the lovable Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. I ended up enjoying the film, but I consider the two versions as complete opposites—and I will always prefer the original.

Also, the movie industry needs to realize that some classic movies cannot be remade. I couldn’t imagine (and I would probably be personally offended) if anyone tried to replace Judy Garland from “The Wizard of Oz” or Harrison Ford from “Indiana Jones.”

Perhaps ideas are simply running dry, or perhaps some artists are just losing their imaginations. I love the movies and I consider them a fine work of art, but Hollywood needs to find a way to get the creative juices flowing again.

Nicole Knight, a junior journalism major, is arts editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at nknight@ulv.edu.