It’s been said many times that every story has already been told. This is an idea so often quoted by writers and creators that I’m not even sure who said it originally. However, seeing as I’m a huge fan of cinema, I was pleased to find a version of this quote by one of the most celebrated directors of all time: Stanley Kubrick.
“Everything has already been done,” he said. “Every story has been told. Every scene has been shot. It’s our job to do it one better.”
This may seem like a daunting notion for aspiring writers and directors to deal with, but it’s not only their problem. This is something that affects us as consumers as well.
This weekend marks the release of X-Men: Apocalypse, the eighth installment of the X-Men movie franchise. Just a few weeks ago came Captain America: Civil War, the thirteenth movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which hasn’t even been around a full decade yet.
I could set out a long list of similarly impressive and tiring facts: we’ve had three different actors play Spider-Man in ten years, we’re getting a Ghostbusters reboot, and Disney seems to be riding a strange line of fresh, new animated ideas mixed in with an endless stream of live-action remakes of their animated classics. What is going on in Hollywood?
They’ve lost the desire to create new and original content and instead have traded it for a slog of reboots, remakes and adaptations. Not all of these are bad. I’m looking forward to the next Star Wars movie as much as the next person, but I also can’t help but worry that the Star Wars franchise will eventually be milked for every dime it’s worth, and after twenty-something sequels and spinoffs, I’ll be tired of it.
I know many people that feel that way about superheroes already.
So where does the blame lie? Is it the studios that keep greenlighting the big franchises? Is it the filmmakers that keep creating the sequels? I think it’s neither of those.
There are plenty of filmmakers trying to produce original ideas for audiences to enjoy. Christopher Nolan, Guillermo Del Toro and the Coen brothers are a few of my favorite directors because they continue to insist on finding new stories to tell.
Then there are the studios, who are obviously going to keep saying yes to another Transformers movie when the last one made over $1 billion.
They are in this to make money after all.
It’s our responsibility to support the movies we want to see succeed. I’m not saying we boycott the comic book movies and show them what’s what.
If you enjoy DC Comic’s movies, then by all means, check out Suicide Squad this summer.
But don’t go pay for the movie just because it’s what everybody is going to be seeing.
If you don’t care enough to pay $10 for it, then just wait to rent it from Redbox or something.
Or, when you’re given a choice between Batman v Superman and 10 Cloverfield Lane, don’t be afraid to take a chance on the little guy.
You already know that Batman is going to rake in some serious cash, so maybe give your support to a guy that is trying to bring you something new.
I know we can’t all afford to go to as many movies as we might like in a given year, so when our money is limited, let’s make our choices matter so that hopefully we can see Hollywood take a chance on something new.