Movie News: Upcoming Sequels and Remakes!

With 2013 now in full swing and summer not that far off, it’s once again time to announce all the remakes, relaunches and sequels that Hollywood has in the works. And much like last year, it seems the majority of the industry’s money is being placed on some safe bets. In other words, instead of investing in new and exciting projects, they are banking on previous successes and old favorites that are sure to cash in.

Oh Hollywood! Do you remember when it was exactly that you lost your passion for cinema and became a tired, old hack? I guess it’s not your fault, what with all the money that goes into generating these movies and all the money that comes out. Money! Screws up everything. And we the public are probably to blame too. If we didn’t lap your shit up, you’d stop slopping it us wouldn’t you?

But this isn’t a thought essay on the merits of marketing to the lowest common denominator or the ethics of mass consumption. Here’s some of what Hollywood and their affiliates have in store for us for the year of 2013. Surprisingly, not all of it sucks!

carrieThe original movie adaptation of Stephen King’s classic tale of alienation, teen judgement and psychotic, telekinetic revenge was… well, a classic! So why do we need a remake? Is there any possible reason other than wanting to cash in on the fame of the original? Or could it be they simply want to take advantage of updated special effects for the sake of the bloody prom night scene? Originally due to come out in March, the movie has been pushed back to October to coincide with Halloween. Good call there!

Catching Fire:
IFor fans of the Hunger Games, this return to the popular Suzanne Collins series promises to be big, bold and profitable. In this installment, Katniss Everdeen (once again played by Jennifer Lawrence) is on a Victory Tour of Panem and realizes that her win with Peeta has triggered a series of rebellions. Photos from the shoot have begun to leak, and the movie is slated for release in November. Probably won’t suck and I am interesting in seeing it, just as soon as I actually read the second book.

Fantastic Four:
Fantastic-Four-reboot-Josh-TrankOnce again, Hollywood is making a reboot just a few short years after a previous adaptation was already launched. They did the same with Spider Man last year and this time around, its Fantastic Four. Josh Trank, director of Chronicle, is rumored to be man who will be directing, and there are hints that the remake will look and feel somewhat like Alien. No news yet on who is being contemplated to play the lead roles, but rest assured, the remake will be splashy and a likely draw.

GI Joe: Retaliation:
After seeing its release pushed back a year in order to incorporate 3D, the sequel to the first G.I. Joe movie is slated to be released this May. In addition to starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bruce Willis is also making an appearance as a character that seems no different than John McClain or Church from The Expendables. No telling why the studio felt it was necessary for the movie to be shot in 3D considering all the action and big names, but I would imagine it’s because they didn’t have a lot of faith in these things alone.

Man of Steel:
man-of-steel-logoNews of the Superman remake has already been making waves, and considering the writing team, cast, and the trailers that have been released, it seems that this movie might actually be firing on all cylinders. Still, one has to wonder why the franchise needed to be repitched so soon after the last repitch, which took place back in the summer of 2007 with Superman Returns. Wasn’t that movie decent enough, and didn’t it drop all kinds of hints that there was more to come? But of course, some projects run out of steam and you have to start over fresh. And this is one relaunch that I will actually be seeing and (fingers crossed) enjoying thoroughly!

Smurfs 2:
Yeah, you read that right. It seems we can all look forward to a sequel to the original adaptation of that children’s cartoon that for some reason aired in summer of 2011. I mean there’s nostalgic appeal and then there’s this! What going on, Hollywood. Did some call for a retro free-for-all? Neil Patrick Harris will be reprising his role from the first, no doubt because he’s contractually obligated to! Oh, and its being shot in 3D, which of course means the studio has a lot of faith in it 😉

Thor: The Dark World:
Thor2Building on the success of the first movie, as well as the Avengers and all the other Marvel comics adaptations of late, this sequel sees Thor facing off against some “Dark Elves”, led by Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, 28 Days Later, Shallow Grave, The Others). Rumor has it that this movie will be directed by Game of Thrones veteran Alan Taylor, who’s apparently bringing some of the same realism he brought to that series to Asgard. Will that include blood, guts, and plentiful nudity? Guess things got a little darker and dirtier since the first one!

The Wolverine:
wolverine_prequelThe third prequel in the X-Men franchise, this one once again focuses on Wolverine. Going with a storyline which is big with the fans of the original comic, this movie tells the story of how Wolverine went to Japan to learn the ways of the Samurai. Hugh Jackman will be reprising his role as the title character, and seems to have undergone some kind of surgical procedure to remove every ounce of fat for the role! Seriously, Hugh, I hope that’s photoshop because you don’t so much look buff as scary!

And that’s some of what the great filmakers of LA LA land plan to subject us to. Do you ever sit back and wonder just how many starving children could be fed with all the money that goes into financing these projects? Of course, I can’t criticize too much since I’ve already admitted that I’m planning to attend more than one. And what’s more, there are a few projects coming out which do seem exciting, original, or just plain overdue. But that’s another post!


The Reboot Grid

Well, here is something that puts a lot of my griping into perspective! Recently, during one my usual visits to Blastr, I came upon this helpful infographic that really captures our collective sense of angst with this whole reboot trend. Anybody who actually follows this site knows that this is a subject which I am pretty passionate about (translation: won’t shut up about!)

I was most pleased to see this because, not only did it make me laugh, it let me know that this trend is occupying the attention of people who work for websites far more respectable than mine! And as you can see, they aren’t too crazy about the nature of recent reboots either. Whereas there are plenty of good reasons to do one, and plenty of worthy candidates, it does seem like Hollywood is still letting the lowest common denominator inform their decision making.

Click to enlarge, then enjoy a good laugh at Hollywood’s expense. I did 😉



Of Remakes and Smart People Making Stupid Arguments

In my position as a social sciences major, I have had many opportunities to witness dumb ideas argued intelligently; cases where the stupidest premises imaginable were made to sound respectable and even plausible by academics who were in the habit of injecting cool rhetoric or intellectual claptrap into weak ideas. If nothing else, it demonstrated to me that there are apologists and defenders who invest way more thought into their arguments than other people do into their work.

One case involved a Humanities Major (I assume) arguing that Brittany Spears song “I’m Not A Girl (Not Yet A Woman)” was a possible indication that the then starlet was a closet post-modernist Hegelian philosopher. Another had to do with the hidden genius behind George W. Bush’s many uses of inventive wordplay. And both were patently brilliant in the way they tried to make the completely mundane and painfully stupid sound smart. I tell ya, you have never heard so many smart argument employed in the defence of such stupid subject matter!

But this article really took the cake for me. Entitled “Why Remakes Are One of Our Greatest Achievements as a Civilization”, this article asserts that there is a connection between the many, many Hollywood relaunches of late and some of our most venerated cultural traditions as a species. And here too, I had to doff my cap the writer. Never have I heard so much thought dedicated to pure thoughtlessness, so much intellectual rhetoric employed in the defence of something so undeserving.

First, the author asserts that remakes are really a sublimated form of folk tales, resembling how cultures in ancient times would tell the same basic stories across vast stretches of space and time. Second, they deconstruct originality by claiming it is a largely 20th century construct that was invented by Modernists hoping to make a break with the past. The conclusion? That originality is a myth and that retelling the same story is a sign of organic creativity… I guess.

Ignoring the fact that we are talking about Hollywood remakes for just a second, I noticed two fatal flaws in this argument. One, Hollywood remakes are deliberate attempts to capitalize on old ideas by simply updating them with the latest in special effects, or by simply redoing an old idea which was shown to have worked in the hopes that it will again. Only in the most farfetched ways does that resemble the organic process of how stories spread across time and space, evolving in terms of detail but remaining similar in theme.

Second, originality may have been a Modernists obsession, but it’s hardly a recent invention. In fact, writers of all ages have lamented the lack of originality in their own  generation and wishing they had lived in earlier times, when writers of great renown established reputations by being the ones who left an indelible mark on their cultures literary traditions. Ancient Greece’s own Aeschylus said his tragedies were “composed of the crumbs from Homer’s table”. Shakespeare’s own works acknowledge a huge debt to Christopher Marlowe, the man who invented blank verse Iambic Pentameter and inspired many of The Bard’s own stories.

Granted, nobody is 100 % original in any time, but to say it’s a myth is both cynical and a rhetorical dead end. And that fact that I’ve even invested this amount of thought into this argument makes me think that the authors of this and other such articles have pulled one over on me. But really, I just have to wonder… are there really people out there, so educated yet so bored, that they have to employ their argumentative and rhetorical skills to subject matter such as this. Have they nothing better to do?

In any case, here is the article. Note the comment, by me (houseofwilliams) in the comment section. I did my best to argue my previous thoughts in as succinct a form as possible. Feel free to leave your own thoughts, or do the mature thing (which I could not), and not not dignify such arguments with a response. And believe me when I say that I will be commenting on the summer or reboots and remakes shortly, and not in a particularly kind way 😉

Why Remakes Are One of Our Greatest Achievements