Have you ever seen Casablanca 2: Rick’s Quest? What about The Return of The Birds? Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to catch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: The Early Days?
No, you haven’t. Because they don’t exist.
There’s a comparatively recent trend in cinema, which is to prolong a movie franchise beyond all previous limits. With the recent additions of the fourth Rambo movie, the fifth Die Hard movie, and the upcoming fifth Terminator movie, sequels seem to be the rule rather than the exception. As the years progress, there seems to be more reliance on sequels as well as modern versions and adaptations of old movies. Whether writers and directors are getting lazy and uncreative, or the viewing public is becoming complacent and less demanding, there is certainly a shift from the earlier days of cinema.
The beauty of watching old movies such as Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and Rebel Without a Cause is that they were original ideas with fresh characters and concepts that you were watching and enjoying for the first time. You watched the movie, and it was essentially like reading a book. The story was told and completed in that one sitting, and you left the theater satisfied and entertained. You were excited because you were part of something fresh and unique, without any recycled ideas or characters.
Today, it seems that movie studios, writers and directors rely on the possibility of being able to capitalize on a sequel (or two or three.) They become lazy, and don’t have to put as much effort, time, or money into creating a whole new concept from the ground up. They realize they will make money off the previous success of the earlier movie. Oftentimes, they are right. They ride the sequel train until they have squeezed every last cent out of it. Sometimes this means one sequel. Many times, like the Fast and Furious franchise, it takes more than half a dozen.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good sequel at times, and sometimes it is logical and makes sense. I grew up on the Indiana Jones movies, and until the last one, it was a great franchise. The movies were well written, well acted, and the stories progressed in a logical manner. Each movie was a solid production in its own right, and could easily stand on its own. Many sequels, however, are made to capitalize on it’s predecessor’s success.
Where are all the original concepts and ideas? Did we run out already? That’s hard to believe, considering we are always changing, adapting, and experiencing new events and technology. These should provide sufficient inspiration for new screenplays.
I am not advocating for the elimination of sequels or re-imagining of older movies, I’m simply suggesting that it shouldn’t be the standard; it should be the exception. I feel that we need to encourage a return to traditional creativity. Movie studios need to put more time and effort into creating original, fresh ideas, and the viewing public needs to be more demanding of what it watches and considers to be “acceptable.”
I think it’s OK to raise our standards. I want my grandkids to have DVD’s (or whatever media form they use then!) of some of the “classic” movies from the early 21st century.
Somehow, I don’t think “Twilight 7” will be in that collection.