I’m a book worm, I know that. Book worm through and through.  I have a vice though: sometimes I watch movies. And I’ve noticed something interesting about this year’s pick of movies. My friends and I like to joke about the number of sequels churned out of Hollywood these days: “Haha, Nightmare on Elm’s Street VI is coming out; can’t Freddy Krueger be dead already?”

And this year, 27 sequels are slated for release. 27. That’s more than two sequels every month. And in addition to the expected slew of II’s– Cars II, Diary of a Wimpy Kid II, and Sherlock Holmes II, among others–there are actually a couple VII’s (The Muppets and Rise of the Apes). And believe it or not the eighth Harry Potter movie comes out this year.

What this makes me question though is the existence of original thought. I mean, I’m a die-hard X-Men fan and all, but do I really need to see X-Men V (also coming out this year, courtesy of Fox Films)? Couldn’t I maybe see a new story with new characters and a new plot?

Movie-makers make movies they think will make money. It’s as simple as that. So basically, this means that someone out there is convinced that enough people will see Scream 4 to make the production worthwhile. These movie-makers have a point: after all, people did sit through the last six Planet of the Apes movies.

But what does that say about us, the movie-going populace? Are we so easily satisfied that we happily rechew the cinematic dishes already served to us in past years? Perhaps Hollywood isn’t offering much original thought, but are we demanding such thought? If culture was a planet, current entertainment trends would seem to be transforming that planet into a closed system. Nothing new gets in, nothing new gets out. It strikes me that such a state can’t be healthy, not for creativity, not for imagination, not for those vicarious experiences thoughtful entertainment gives us.

It’s not sequels are all bad. After all, who hasn’t wished they could spend more time with a favorite character or world? But still, 27 is extreme. It’s ‘more’ to the exclusion of ‘different’. It goes beyond ‘wouldn’t it be nice to see Ethan Hunt again?’ to ‘must we endure another Antonio Banderas/pussy cat hybrid?’

So will I see Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol or X-Men: First Class? Well, sure, probably. But not without niggling thoughts of protest: Must I chew the same cud a second time?

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5 responses »

  1. Lehcar Nosnhoj says:

    I know I am replying a little late, but I stumbled upon this entry and couldn’t resist.

    While 27 is an excessive number for movie sequels, would you not agree that there were far more original films during the year of 2011, enough to balance out the monotonous flow of rehashes. Furthermore, I think a sequel can be (or should be, rather) a sequel of any number as long as it is well done. Look at the Harry Potter, Fast Five and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises. Sadly, not all of these were ‘well done’, but there is something about them, the story, the characters, that made them along with numerous (approx. 27) other series that intrigued many a person. I think this is a large factor in the successes of so many (I dare say, an annoying amount of) sequels. There’s that one character, ie. Ethan Hunt, or Jack Sparrow, that can capture audiences’ attention for over the span of four movies. So while I do agree that Hollywood seems to be losing its flair for creativity and originality or simply becoming lazy, it still succeeds in drawing the populace to its movies, even if some, like you and me, aren’t exactly sure why. And for that, I must give credit.

  2. Or maybe our entire culture is brainwashing their audiences.

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