There are few things that have such big impact on our life and culture like movies - the big art form of our time. Being one of the highest grossing industries in the world it produces hundreds of titles a year and continues to create classics and pop culture-phenomenon time after time. But while it has spawned millions of fans around the world with something for every taste it has always, like in all of show business, been about the big shots: the movies that people wont forget and will stand in line for untill the cinema gets full.
Of course, that is the way it works in business: When a product is selling well you want to keep on the same track to assure success, and for the movie industry that has been no exception. This usualy leads to what is commonly called a "sequal" - a continuation of the story to satisfy the fans and or to make more money on a working concept. This have been proven to be a both diffucult and sometimes risky task and fans are often hard judges when it comes to this, but when done right it could mean a lot of cash. In recent years this have taken another form: The reboot.
Few could have missed that Hollywood is all about reboots nowadays. While it is not a new phenomenon per se it is now more common than ever. Starting around 2006 with Casino royale and a set of super hero movies like The incredible Hulk and Batman begins it grew bigger and bigger and is still growing today. Recently a new Godzilla and Jurassic park reboot hit the theatres and everything from Ghostbusters to Dirty dancing is coming up next. Suddenly we have become used to it.
Understanding this from an economical point of view is easy, like with sequels. And while every movie should be judged by it self wether it is an actual needed artistic newtake on a loved story or just a mere cash cow the interesting question that should be asked is why the movie industry is doing this right now. And for how long it will procede.
It could be argued that the market has become more harsh since the digital age exploded. One of the biggest legal problems discussed today is illegal file sharing and it was not until recently that companies came up with fitting solutions for peoples needs in the forms of netflix etc. The movie industry is not what it used to be and it is understandable that is has to rely on things that worked in the past. Another take on it is of course wheter screenwriters have ran out of ideas or not. Years of exploring what ingredients makes succesful movies in order to secure profit has made things stiff. A sign of a dying industry where little new ideas are made perhaps.
So. Is this trend and most of the movies that comes from it wanted? The critisism seems to be mixed. Most bad reviews of reboots comes from old fans and are based on the assumption that a masterpiece cannot be remade and that its spirit is impossible to redo while good ones often come from new generations of moviegoers who have got no relation with the source-material and or deems it as out dated. Two examples of this are the new Robocop, which was critisized for not connecting with any of the old movies social critisism, and the new Planet of the apes was praised for its more realistic context in a modern apaption.
It seems to me that reboots are a lot harder to make than sequels. Which makes sence since a lot more is needed to make it work without ruining the balance between what once made it magical in many peoples eyes. In my eyes this reboot trend is kind of a creative dead end and my hopes are that things will change. People have always been interested in what is new and I believe that there is much fresh material to produce only if the big companies are brave enough to believe in new ideas. As some wise person once said:
Don't fix it if it aint broken.