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Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Once I wanted to be the Greatest..."

Already, I think I'm going to flush out my idea that I proposed last night a bit. First and foremost, I am not encouraging people to give up inventing - I'm not saying that every story, character or concept has been so fully explored in the arts that attempting to do so would be utterly futile and be a waste of time. I'm just encouraging innovation. I think too often in society, as of late, it is being implied that in order to be truly creative one must do something truly unique - why? Isn't exploring different aspects of those great characters than we are already familiar with just as creative, if not more so? And yes - there will be people who hate this idea...people who expect the familiar and I understand that, it's safe and it's reassuring to think that no matter what happens in the world, James Bond will always be this stylish Lothario who always manages to do what's right...but I look at it and say - what's wrong with a gritty, more honest and human Bond? Someone who occasionally lets his emotions get the best of him (from what I'm hearing of the latest Bond, this is the most common criticism). There is no replacing those great screen characters of the past...but why not have someone repaint Darth Vader for us? His character was sprouted from a concept and he's one of the all-time greatest villains, without question, but we only get those facets that George Lucas wants us to see...there could be a lot more that we're missing, that someone else can bring out that wasn't there before. This is a slippery slope though because if we start making fan fic films an everyone gets into the mix...well, then the product will just become watered down and instead of flushing out the characters, we'll instead hallow them out and leave nothing but empty shells where they used to be. If done right, and in moderation, we can greatly enhance any movie - any character.

Watch the two Willy Wonka films. Admire Gene Wilder's maniacal control over what appears to be an insane alternative watch as Johnny Depp becomes the same character, but instead of control - just appears to be a crazy person, completely out of touch with reality.

All this being said...I think I should note that Hollywood needs to stop with the remakes already. Okay, okay - I know what you're thinking...isn't that what I'm proposing? Yes and no...I want the source of these films to be the story and the characters, not the original films. Just bringing in a different mood or tone to a film can greatly alter its perceived message and in comparing these films - wonderful honest discussion that speaks not only to our pop preferences, but also who we are as characters. Do I relate more to Tim Burton's or Chris Nolan's Batman? The gritty every man or the fantastical superhero?

Then there's projects like O Brother Where Art Thou? where a story like the Odysey can be reimagined in such a way that it hardly resembles its former self, but the same characters put in a different time and place, but with similar obstacles for our protagonist to overcome.  Another example is Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, which kept the the dialog but placed it in a time to which everyone can relate.  Cruel Intentions saw Les Liaisons dangereuses take place on the Upper East Side, when it originally exposed the French Artisocracy of its perversions.  I think it's time to admit that the plot driven storyline has almost run its course and more and more we will see character of dialog driven films that promote themselves not on the unexpected plot twists or gotcha moments but rather, force us to think and glide along in the world that the movies put us in.  At least, that's my hope.


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