The Spiral of Shit

You know, slowly but surely Hollywood is starting to be a pain in the ass. Ok, I am the first one to scream, ohm write that moviemaking is risky. A Producer can lose money faster than one might think but it is getting overboard because there are simply too many sequels, remakes and prequels in the works.

As to this sequel madness the last weeks were especially entertaining. Many news made their way to the movie blogs and hence to my RSS reader and there was once a point when I started to believe that this whole thing is a big single joke:

  • First of all there is Star Trek 2 which was in plans even when the first one was still wet behind its celluloid
  • Toy Story 3 is old hat, of course, as this one is soon entering our cinemas
  • Ahem, of course, we cannot forget Spiderman 4, which will be better than the third one, promised
  • Is something missing? Of course: Tony Scott recently broke the news he wants to do an Alien prequel, which is SciFi and hence fits to the other recent news that the 80s Flight of the Navigator will be remade (this was the exact moment I started searching for the hidden camera)
  • Oh yes and last but not least is the newest gossip that Bryan Singer wants to start over with “his” X-Men franchise…which would fit quite well with the two other reboots called Superman and The Fantastic Four (and now I am sure there has to be a camera)

If I have counted right this means that this list already contains eight (8!) movies which can be counted as either remake, sequel or reboot. And I am sure I have forgotten the one or the other (do you know one?). This number alone makes me shiver, thinking that it’s a massive overkill and Hollywood should starting to slam on the breaks.

What plagues our beloved producers at the moment? I don’t think it’s the financial crisis because ticket sales haven’t plummeted, at least in the US. Perhaps there might be some sort of delay but I heavily doubt this notion because entertainment always worked, especially in crises.

Lack of Screenwriters? Or more?

So, what else could be the problem here?

I honestly don’t know, but I have at least the feeling that it’s the following reasons, which aren’t too complex but highly explosive in regards to the future:

  1. Hollywood producers don’t want to risk anything and therefore play it safe
  2. There are simply no more good scripts or screenwriters out there

Admitted, the first reason is not that spectacular or new. The second part of this hypothesis is much more “interesting”.

Somewhere in my shelves is the book Story by Robert McKee in which he writes that Hollywood is starving for good movie scripts. Matrix is in my opinion a good example of this notion as the then totally unknown Wachowski brothers (despite two preceding movies) managed to break into this business with a bang and the producers made billions.

In review of past movies I have to admit that there seems to be some truth in my hypothesis, especially the second part. Most movies I watched were not awesome or even mindblowing – which is not bad at all because it is impossible to achieve that – but there were simply too many of them in my so called “Nice”-List: movies you can watch once and forget.

The Spiral of Shit

Of course there are not only scriptwriters but also producers that can ruin a movie just to be sure to make enough money. Godzilla is a wonderful example to this kind of thinking. So I assume that in the end it’s a combination of both parts: producers not wanting to risk anything and missing talents for screenwriting are the reason for this sequel madness.

And this is the moment where it’s getting dangerous in my eyes, because in the worst case there will be a “Spiral of Shit” if I may call it that way, a downward trend of quality that is nurtured both by producers and as a result bad writers that works like this:

  1. A scriptwriter has a great script which is awesome, great and innovative
  2. A producer buys it but chickens out and demands a rewrite to make it more mainstream
  3. Our scriptwriter complains but follows orders. In the end, anything remotely similar to the old version is gone
  4. Our scriptwriter now knows the rules and follows them – don’t expect anything anymore
  5. Other newcomers see what’s happening on the screen and follow them by imitation. They rehash old stuff and don’t come up with anything new.
  6. After some time the quality has dropped and by those lower standards a new promising talent appears with a great script…[Start over with number 2]

This spiral is in no way proven and I really hope I am wrong with this assumption. Yet at the moment I have the feeling I ‘m quite right: either we’re getting served remakes, reboots and sequels or we’re getting mediocre stuff most of the time.

The future looks gloomy somehow.

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