Film Industry Lacking In Original Content


Ghostbusters 2020 is yet another continuation of a film that audiences could do without. Photo credit to Wikimedia Commons

Mikayla Kudron, A&E Editor

We have an epidemic. Rather than taking over our bodies, this epidemic is taking over the entertainment industry, and it’s called “Lack of Creativity”. The majority of the most anticipated films of 2020 are titles we’ve heard before, such as A Quiet Place: Part II, The Spongebob Movie: It’s a Wonderful Sponge, West Side Story (2020),  Mulan, and more. It seems as if theaters next year will be teeming with live action remakes and sequels. This epidemic doesn’t end in the theaters, though. The popular comedy, The Office will be reprised in a podcast hosted by two actresses from the show. Similarly, the producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is writing a comic book adaption of the show that takes place in current time. The entertainment industry seems to be circulating the same old ideas through different forms of media rather than making new content. Are we so low on creativity that we have to resort to recycling old content? Now, this is not to say that all remakes and continuations are bad. Some are praised for their originality, creativity, and character development. So what makes a remake or continuation worth watching?

One of the most important qualities of any movie, show, or comic book is that it keeps the audience interested. This is especially important in remakes and continuations because fans expect a lot when they hear their favorite show or movie is being recreated, and when this is done poorly, the disappointment is intense. For example, many Disney fans were excited to see The Lion King brought to life in modern computerized imaging, but disappointed by a boring story and emotionless characters. A good remake should do more than just retell an old story in order to keep the audience interested The new Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics take place in 2019, as opposed to the TV show which began in 1997. The series takes this change into consideration in plot and character development. For fans of the original show, this series serves as a study on the social state of teens today as well as a study of the original characters, as they are no longer tied down by setting. This is a great example of a creative remake, as it takes the old idea and makes it into something new and entertaining.

A good remake or continuation is also cohesive with the work it is inspired by. Fans want to see worlds and characters that they love, so the basic elements of those things should remain the same. It’s also important that the events of each movie in a series or universe make sense together. Otherwise, the audience is confused. Ghostbusters 2020 ignores the events of the 2016 Ghostbusters movie, instead serving as a direct sequel to the 1989 movie Ghostbusters II. This makes the timeline confusing and dismisses the 2016 movie as being irrelevant.

Fans of an older show love to revisit their favorite characters in a revival, but including old characters has to be done right. In a continuation, character development should never be forgotten. Most characters do not remain the same throughout their show or movie. The plot and characters change them, for the better or worse. When the character appears in a continuation, they should not have reverted back to their original state. In the continuation of the 2000’s TV show Gilmore Girls, titled A Year in the Life, many fans were upset by the future of the main character, Rory Gilmore. She was a diligent student throughout most of the original show, save for a short period of difficulty, and it appeared as if she was on her way to becoming a successful journalist. In A Year in the Life, Rory has been fired from her job, is in a loveless relationship, and fills her life with reckless decisions. Many fans of the show have deemed this behavior as uncharacteristic, as if it ignored all of her character development towards the end of Gilmore Girls.

There is a theory as to why the world seems to have run out of creativity; the seven basic plots theory, introduced in a book by Christopher Booker. According to this theory, all stories (told through television, movies, books, or any other media) follow one of seven basic plots. Some examples of these include overcoming a monster, tragedy, rags to riches, and rebirth. This idea may seem somewhat cynical, but respected books, movies, and the shows have been born from it. A Christmas Carol, The Lord of the Rings, and Cinderella can all be categorized into one of the seven plots, and they are well loved and considered great works of literature. But we can do better. If humans have mastered concepts such as film theory, why can’t we think outside the box of the seven basic plot lines or come up with something unique within those plot lines? When it comes to writing, the possibilities are literally endless, and with what we’ve accomplished in film, the possibilities are close to limitless there as well. So what’s stopping us?