It’s hard being a film lover when 90 percent of the movies available in theaters seem to be related to a previous story. I don’t think this is a bad thing in itself. There is a reason why many philosophers, writers and storytellers tend to use the same types of plots or narrative situations (follow the link to read about the seven basic plots or 36 narrative situations). They are naturally appealing to every person, and people understand them easily. When the story of a movie is simple enough we enjoy them and that is pop culture entertainment. The problem is that they tend to be very predictable and normally is easy to get distracted if the plot is too obvious. A good balance between history and surprise is hard to master and even harder to perfect. In the end I can tolerate a movie that is predictable if other aspects of the movie are enjoyable enough.
What is currently bothering me with my recent film going experiences are not reused plots, but the completely reissuing of stories in general. Taking old movies and recalling a previously published material in such an obvious way that is making me harder to go to a movie that is just a plain reboot, remake, retelling, or just plain rip off of a previous movie or in some cases television programs or books.
I think the last 12 months we had particular bad examples for watching this type of movies. With recent examples being Total Recall, Amazing spider Man and Bourne Legacy, and not too far ago Fright Night, the Thing and Scream 4, this last one making fun of the reboot premise with bad results. Let me make something clear, I don't think that these movies are particularly bad in their own right. It’s just that they feel unnecessary and relay too much to the source material. It makes them feel like you are watching the same old movie again. I don't mind a good story told and retold many times if the execution is good enough to sustain itself in its own.
I understand the reason why these types of movies are made. They take advantage of good and memorable stories that are easy to adapt to new audiences. The original 10 year old Spiderman movies have certainly not been seen by many kids today and this year movie will be their original Spiderman. Many people in their 20s have never seen the 20 year old version of Total Recall, so the first time they see a three breasted woman will be this year.
Total Recall, Spiderman and Bourne Legacy are so attached to the original material that feel that you have seen them before because you have ten or twenty years ago, And Bourne Legacy trying so much to stick to recent trilogy that the plot is a convoluted mess of corporations, chemical factories, scientists, and has no real payoff to the story doesn't really honor the directness and storytelling of the previous movies.
They are not all bad movies. But they’re certainly not the best in their franchises. Of course, remakes don't need to be bad; Nolan’s Batman Trilogy is much better than Tim Burton’s and Joel Schumacher’s movies of decades ago. This year Dredd has much better history and characters than the 17 year old movie with Stallone. Last year Fright Night while still repetitive felt ok because of the lead actors.
Nonetheless for a 30s year old man like me it felt unnecessary to see all these movies again, but still enjoyed them.
And in the end this article is unnecessary too!