Updated: 08/13/2011 (slightly edited for grammar)
After writing my previous post, my attention was directed at an interesting opposite viewpoint.
The m0vie blog thinks that film buffs’ criticisms at Hollywood’s overabundance of sequels is low. He admits that not all sequels are good, but says neither are many originals either. He thinks it’s unfair for moviegoers to immediately judge movies based on their sequel status. He also says it’s bad to label original movies “good” by default. (Sturgeon’s Law is brought up to validate his point.)
I have to concede to his argument to some degree. Yes, there are many creative and original movies that are crap. And yes, we do tend to forget those original movies that were crap. Why? Because they weren’t worth remembering and odds are nothing new will come of them.
The blogger also states that it’s unfair to claim that independent films are better. Yes, sometimes independent films can be too esoteric for their own good. Yes, sometimes they can be too artsy for anyone to relate to and enjoy. And yes, sometimes there are studio films that are better than the indie ones. But he’s forgetting the problem with sequels: familiarity.
It’s the studios that are hitting low here. They’re dishing out multiple sequels and bad adaptations because of audience familiarity. They assume that moviegoers will think: “Hey, I know those characters!” “Isn’t it fun to see them in a movie?” This allows the studios to cheaply throw something together in favor of recognition than creativity. And it’s a practice that’s becoming rather upsetting.
When a movie is good, it leaves us with an everlasting effect. We as viewers enjoy the characters and script, as they contained a human element. The characters were more than one-dimensional and the story was strong and worth following. Those elements made the film feel genuine and thus provided a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. Thus, we expect any sequels to this film to live up to the original’s grandeur.
But when studios release many of these sequels, it’s offensive to the original film’s legacy. Characters become cardboard cut-outs as action sequences and special effects become the movie stars. Plots simply become maps for the new stars. Actors and other filmmakers behind the scenes are simply names to help in advertising. We might recognize the name of a character, but everything else has changed. It is no longer the film we knew and loved.
The fact that studio heads believe that moviegoers like this cheap garbage is infuriating. Whatever happened to escapism with substance? Why does originality and creativity have to be discarded after a series’ first entry? At times it seems as if that’s all we’re being served. And the studios are serving it with the attitude of: “It’s all that’s available. Take it or leave it.” And that mindset is starting to grow old.