Thursday 15 August 2019

Rebooting the planet - why you're to blame for the constant stream of "live action" remakes and movie reboots - This week's #ReadItTorial 2019

You. Yes specifically you. It's all your fault. For every person I hear moaning that Disney is A) taking over the planet (or more specifically, the entertainment industry and B) they're remaking / rebooting everthing, I feel like wrapping this article in a baseball bat and clocking them around the head with it...

The Lion King Has Edged Out Frozen As the Highest-Grossing Animated Film of All Time, More Proof That Disney’s Monopoly Is Inescapable and Nothing Mat...

Every time a new Disney project is announced, it's got to the point where I'm no longer surprised to find that the most hyped movies in their upcoming schedules are all ones that we've either seen before, or are seeing in a slightly different form - and the ones that make gigantic box office revenues are either sequels, remakes or reboots.

The animated-movie-remakes-into-CGI-snore-fests is a trend that seems to have garnered a fair amount of traction but so is mining the rich seam of every company's IP that Disney hoovers up in their land grab of the industry.

I used to think that it was worth making a fuss about the lack of middle grade and YA-based movies and TV shows being made, instead passed over for stuff like a new Home Alone franchise, a (god help us) new "Night at the Museum" film (when the corpse of the last one is still warm). The problem is you again, yes you movie-goers. You really don't seem to like movies based on cool books.

Why is that? Is it that there's a huge majority of readers like us out there who would rather read the worst book ever written than watch the best movie of that book they can make?

There have been some pretty high-profile movie 'bombs' based on utterly fantastic books ("Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" and "Mortal Engines" are just two recent ones that spring to mind) so it's easy to see why big studios are no longer taking risks. They hoover up the movie rights to books (mostly to stop their competitors from ever 'making bank' with them) but often those scripts stay unwritten, those movies never reach pre-production, and we're left with the situation as it is now.

Books are particularly problematic though. Even if an author or publisher has some involvement in a project, it's not often with enough influence to stop some really bad decisions being made in the execution of that movie. In one hand you've got the aforementioned fans of the book who absolutely won't entertain anything that doesn't fit with their own mental image of what a filmed version of that book should be like. On the other hand you've got a stack of cinemagoers who have no idea that the original book even exists, and need to be wowed by something that hooks them in. That's even before you get to the part where the original book is completely unfilmable, unless you've got infinite amounts of money to waste trying to explore the 6 or 7 movies, or the expensive TV show you'd need to make in order to do the original material justice.

It feels like the movie industry long ago realised that all people really want are more movies like the ones they've watched a zillion times before, which is why so many movie franchises long outstay their welcome (I can think of no other solid reason why we ended up with 5 (FIVE!!!!) terrible "Transformers" films.

So no more moaning about Disney's approach. I'm not defending them, I'm not sticking up for them, I'm telling you that you're very much part of the problem because you will keep going out and paying good money to watch this stuff.