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Based on the…

11 December, 2007

Well, I haven’t written a post that wasn’t a review or a roundup in a while, so I’m going to try to get back into the swing of things.

Whatever happened to creativity? So many movies nowadays are not original; they’re either a remake, a sequel, or based on a TV show, true story, or book. Sure, there are always the great ones that aren’t, but those usually slip through the cracks, more so now than they have in the past. But whatever happened to wonders like Star Wars, or the Godfather, or… Well, once you think about it, many of the great movies of the past have been based on things too, like Lawrence of Arabia, or Schindler’s List. Ok, that one’s not too old.

Now we’re stretching further than we have. One of the top-grossing movie trilogies recently was Pirates of the Caribbean, which was based on an amusement park ride! How low can we really go, people! (Note: I loved this trilogy. Well, not the second one. But the first and last, so my commentary should really be a bit more tempered.)  So where has everyone gone? My family has a screenwriter friend, and his two most recent works were both rejected, and they were original concepts (well, one was a sequel but he wrote the first one so it doesn’t quite count).

I think many of the screenwriters must have gone to the smaller screen. Television has so many great shows on right now, and perhaps the talent from the film studios has gone to that medium.

But then again, a remake doesn’t have to be bad. One of my favorite shows, something that has been said to be the best drama on television numerous times, as well as winning many awards, is a remake. I’m talking about Battlestar Galactica, which was a hilariously tacky science fiction show from the 1970s and is now completely re-imagined into a new, wonderful, dramatic universe. The plot is essentially the same, but much more nuanced and a lot less of people simply blasting robots into slag. Yes, there is still a lot of it, but, in my opinion, it has a lot more meaning, a lot more depth. And that’s just one of the many remakes or “based on the…”s that I like.

So there’s hope. Even though an idea may not be new, what a writer does with it can be completely innovative and wonderful.  What are your thoughts? Is the writing industry going to hell in a handbasket? Are we running out of ideas? Or is it just harkening back to the past, learning from it, and creating things anew.

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