August 13, 2014

"It is tempting to just whine about how Hollywood is so risk-averse that they will reboot or sequalize any remotely familiar 1980′s/1990′s property they can find."

"But these announcements never fail to make me a little sad. The stench in the air isn’t greed or fear of the new, but rather a token amount of desperation."

From an April 18, 2014 Forbes article titled: "Robin Williams Making 'Mrs. Doubtfire 2' Should Make Us Sad."

At worst, these sequels won’t work the second (or third?) time around and will serve as the final nail in the coffin of the very careers they are attempting to save. It can be argued that we shouldn’t expect the stars of yesteryear to deliver on the same level that they did in their prime. And if Hollywood had done a better job of generating a new generation of movie stars, we probably wouldn’t be wondering why Jim Carrey no longer pulls Liar Liar level box office, or why Duplicity didn’t restore Julia Roberts to her Pretty Women glory days. But that’s for another day. While others cheered when Peter Jackson returned to Middle Earth or when Jim Carrey signed on for Dumb and Dumber To, I felt above-all-else a twinge of sympathy for the stars I grew up with and whose talent has not diminished even if their box office draw has.

There is, I would argue, little victory in movie stars returning to the scene of their former glories when they are only returning because they have nowhere left to go.
UPDATE: "Robin Williams’ friend reveals actor resented having to do new Mrs Doubtfire." That's linked at Drudge under the heading: "'Doubtfire' Did It."

22 comments:

Clyde said...

I think that the Forbes article was way off as far as Peter Jackson's continued work with Tolkien's Middle Earth. There was still a story out there to be told, although The Hobbit bloated from a rather slim volume into three movies. The source material was already there for Jackson, as opposed to some third-rate scriptwriter hacking away at an intellectually-challenged comedy.

CatherineM said...

Lord of the Rings was not a sequel. You could call it a serial where it was chapters in a story, not a reboot.

phantommut said...

The trailer for Dumb and Dumber To isn't sad, it's painful.

Birkel said...

"There is, I would argue, little victory in movie stars returning to the scene of their former glories when they are only returning because they have nowhere left to go."

Peter Jackson is not a movie star. I would argue that The Lord of the Rings has almost no stars involved; the one possible exception is Orlando Bloom. The inclusion of Jackson on the list is odd.

I agree that Hollywood is bereft of new ideas. No doubt the intellectual sclerosis is owed, in part, to the ideological conformity largely demanded by activists. One wonders at the 'marketplace of ideas' and how competition might offer better results.

Meanwhile, Hollywood is focused on overseas markets.

Ann Althouse said...

"Lord of the Rings was not a sequel. You could call it a serial where it was chapters in a story, not a reboot."

I think "The Hobbit" wasn't originally intended in the sequence and was tagged on, to make money.

Talking about Jackson, not Tolkien. It's the prequel, right?

richard mcenroe said...

I'm holding out for Bugaloos: the Movie

phantommut said...

Orson Welles was in declining health during production. Shortly before he died, he told his biographer, Barbara Leaming, that he had spent the day "playing a toy" in a movie about toys who "do horrible things to each other."

Anonymous said...

Professor, yes, Hobbit was written first.

The real crime that Jackson committed wasn't, in my opinion, making Hobbit; nor persuading the studios to fund Hobbit based on the success of LotR. It was that he and the studio decided to turn Hobbit into a ridiculously long trilogy of movies to squeeze more money out of it. It's not nearly long enough to support the movies, so entire plotlines and characters are invented, and action scenes are stretched out to comical lengths.

In short, Hobbit (the awful Jackson version) is way, way, way too long.

mccullough said...

The Total Recall remake hurts the most.

Æthelflæd said...

I despise Jackson for what he has done to The Hobbit.

Birches said...

Ha ha. I'm amused to see people come out to defend Peter Jackson. Piqued my interest too. I actually like the movie Hobbit, both of them. I like the second a little bit more than the first, because the first definitely lags in some places. Most of the source material that was "invented" happened, just not in The Hobbit. As to the elf/dwarf love storyline, well that was bound to happen in Hollywood.

Cedarford said...

I think several commentors are missing that this is not about adapting quality source material to make a movie/miniseries a la "Game of Thrones".

It is about the constant churn of sequel movies to unexpected new movies or the Star Trek/Marvel/Transformers/Chick Flick "franchise successes".

The spinoffs.

Back to Game of Thrones, some very rich Hollywood "players" are attempting to get rights to make a series about a young Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark when he was younger and still had his head about him..
Thats the sort of sequalizing they refer to.

tim maguire said...

What pisses me of about Jackson's The Hobbit is that we get 1 Hobbit remake every 20-25 years, which means those of us waiting for something better than the low budget cartoon we got last time will have to wait another 20 years before we are't stuck with Jackson's piece of crap any more.

Clyde said...

Or just think about money-grabs like the latest Transformers or Expendables movies. Do you expect a great movie from either of those, or just lots and lots of explosions and, in the case of the later, a Cooperstown's worth of aging action heroes mugging for the camera?

buwaya said...

There's a tremendous amount of material for movies. Popular books are a start, and CGI makes a lot of them more viable for production than ever.

I want to see someone try Gene Wolfe. That would be quite a challenging script to write. A "Game of Thrones" type TV production, maybe.

The real problem isn't the movies/material, its the audience. Middlebrow, reasonably well read audiences have disappeared, at least for ordinary movies. For some reason cable TV is not so constrained.

Brando said...

If the overseas audiences ever became more discerning, we'd see the big studios start to churn out good films. It just doesn't pay right now to take a risk on a film with a decent plot but no merchandizing tie in, pre-built fans, or explosions. The studios are corporations, there to make money and nothing else. Which sort of explains why filmmakers make corporations out to be evil all the time--their primary experience with corporations is dealing with the moneysucking studios that produce the films.

Fortunately it's easy enough these days for cheaper, independent films to be made and distributed, so you can still see something different from "Plastic Man 2, the Reboot" or "Transformers--I Can't Believe It's A Movie!" Eventually, the big studio films will premeire in China, and distribute in the U.S. as an afterthought.

richard mcenroe said...

Jackson padded out "The Hobbit" with material from the "Silmarillion" and other Tolkien writings, some of which were never intended for anything other than his own reference when writing.

No possible way could you get a trilogy out of "The Hobbit" by itself.

The result is unfortunate, as when they skimmed from several different Aubrey/Maturin novels to make "Master and Commander."

Lance said...

"The result is unfortunate, as when they skimmed from several different Aubrey/Maturin novels to make "Master and Commander.""

That wasn't a great movie, but it wasn't horrible either. Considering the abundance of source material, it's interesting Hollywood never made the usual (unfortunate) sequels.

LarsPorsena said...

Lance said...
"The result is unfortunate, as when they skimmed from several different Aubrey/Maturin novels to make "Master and Commander.""

That wasn't a great movie, but it wasn't horrible either. Considering the abundance of source material, it's interesting Hollywood never made the usual (unfortunate) sequels.

8/13/14, 5:09 PM
------------------

MC was one of the best movies of the year (release date).

I'm a POB freak and thought they did a decent job. Been praying for a sequel but MC types are both cerebral and expensive. Not a good combo for Hollywood.

john marzan said...

i felt sorry when will smith had to do Men In Black 3 and Independence Day 2.

furious_a said...

The Men in Black sequels worked ok. They're drawn from a comic book series, anyway.

Nothing beats "Breakin' 2 - Electric Boogaloo". I'm wmbarasswd to say I've seen both.

William said...

I hope they make another Pride & Prejudice and Spider-Man. There's been a whole generation of twelve year olds who have come along since the last Spider-Man movie. They should make a Spider-Man movie every five years. Pride & Prejudice appeals to an older crowd. About every ten years should suffice for Pride $ Prejudice.......Why doesn't someone have another go at Bonfire of the Vanities?