July 22, 2011
The state of movies
I have only the flimsiest understanding of the Avengers superheroes and their related movie and merchandising tie-ins, but I think Chris Evans is pretty good, so I went to see Captain America this afternoon. Ehhh. While I barely remember anything about the movie just a few hours after watching it (probably because I fell asleep more than once), the trailers that came before the feature were very memorable. Specifically, I remember thinking, dear lord, if this is the best Hollywood is coming up with, I sure hope the Paul Thomas Andersons and Nicole Holofceners of the world keep picking up the slack.
A few notable things about these trailers:
This is hardly news, but we appear to have run out of new ideas for movies. I don't attach any sacred value to existing movies and am totally OK with remakes and sequels, as long as they're good in themselves. It just feels like we have very few new ideas to look forward to in the action movies Hollywood is lining up. Mission: Impossible 4 [trailer]. Rise of the Planet of the Apes [new trailer]. And especially the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man. I had somehow convinced myself that the "rebooted" Spiderman series would be some kind of interesting variation on the series that Sam Raimi just made less than 10 years ago (2002-2007).
I assure you, it is not. This new Spiderman movie that stars Andrew Garfield looks like the exact same movie that Sam Raimi made in 2002. Except that it has different actors, and it won't be as good, because Sam Raimi didn't make it. The last movie the guy who directed the new one did is (500) Days of Summer, which would be OK, I suppose, if Spiderman was about pretty Los Angeles architecture and twee little emo hipsters.
If Hollywood is looking for successful movies to rehash, I've got a great series remake idea for you right here. Harry Potter. With the final installment's release last week, it's due for a reboot!
At least the new Planet of the Apes movie is an origin story, adding a new angle to both the original series and the Tim Burton movie from 2001. And it offers more fodder for all those people irritated by James Franco's tendency to blithely turn up in every single genre and art form that exists.
Also, two of the major Pixar directors are branching out into live action. Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) is directing the latest in the Mission: Impossible series, in which Tom Cruise will presumably do all his own stunts and scenery chewing. The movie also features the wonderful Jeremy Renner, who I guess has decided to go full-on action since The Hurt Locker.
Andrew Stanton, who did Finding Nemo and WALL-E, is directing what I think was the only movie with an original concept whose trailer I saw today, John Carter. This one's about a Civil War veteran who is magically transported to Mars, and has a great cast (Bryan Cranston, Samantha Morton, Ciaran Hinds, and the guy from "Friday Night Lights".) It's also not a remake of any other movie that I can identify. Cool.
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