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Are Movies Becoming Unoriginal?

"Marvel movies aren't cinema" Martin Scorsese, one of the greatest living directors, said in 2019. His comment didn't go said without a lot of backlash, but one has to wonder - was he right? In this hopefully short article, I will explore cinema in Hollywood in this day and age and whether originality in film is only a thing of the past.

These days, it's hard to find a movie with an original screenplay (a plot/storyline written solely for the purpose of being on the screen). In the movie theatres these days, you'll only find superhero movies, remakes, book adaptations, or true stories. I'm not trying to suggest that those aren't good movies or that there aren't any good movies out there, but I do wonder, where has all the originality gone? Was it because of the pandemic? I don't think so. This is evident in the number of remakes produced before (and since) the pandemic.

I love a good remake, but they are so hard to execute well. Unless it is super different than the original, nothing ever compares, even if it's just for the nostalgia factor alone. And yet, they're still being produced. This past Christmas, a Home Alone remake came out and recently a Cheaper by the Dozen remake also came out. The original movies of these, were only released in the '90s and 2000s respectively. There's a time and a place for a remake, like turning an animation into a live-action, but a remake that simply retells the story that's already been told, doesn't add anything new. A lot of the recent Disney live-actions have been poorly executed. I couldn't even finish the Aladdin remake from 2019 because it was the exact same thing as the original. Similarly, The Lion King remake was made in such a way that it could never live up to the original. In the original, they were able to personify the characters which gave each character so much more depth. In the remake, they made the animals look so realistic that it became hard to relate to them. I think the only thing that made The Lion King remake worth watching was the incredible CGI. On the other hand, Maleficent is an example of an excellent remake (if it can be classed as that) because it didn't just retell the story of sleeping beauty, after all there's already a whole movie on that. It told the story from the perspective of the villain.

Just as remakes have taken over the movie market, so has Marvel. Marvel has completely saturated the movie market these days. I love Marvel as much as the next person, but at some point it gets to be too much. Part of the thrill of watching a movie series is having to wait a period of time before the sequel comes out. With marvel however, you are never bored as there is always something new to watch. This could be considered a good thing, but I think it takes part of the joy out of the waiting. It you are always satiated, then you will always take for granted what you already have. Book adaptations and true stories on the other hand, are not so dissimilar. They are all about execution, and I'm not trying to suggest there isn't any creativity used in that. However, Marvel movies are (mostly) based off comics, book adaptations based off books, and true stories based off truth - where are the original stories written for the screen?

But, what's so wrong with a good superhero movie? Nothing. I love those kinds of movies and I'll continue to watch them, but is there really no creativity left in Hollywood that someone can't write a simple yet profound original screenplay? It can't just be that the audience is okay with unoriginal movies either as we can see this perfectly illustrated with Parasite. No wonder Parasite was so popular because it was a well-written movie destined for the screen - nothing more, nothing less. That's what made it so impactful.

Some form of originality is the soul of creativity, and if we as a people, lack originality, then we must lack creativity. And if we lack creativity, what does that say about society in general? Creativity is the driving force of progress and it is through creativity that we critique art and culture. If we lack this critique against society because of a lack of creativity, how do we grow? How do we spot the faults of society? Is there something inhibiting our expression of creativity or do we just lack it?

It seems that I've been left with more questions than answers, but if there is one thing I hope I've portrayed, it's that movies are not just movies. Movies, music and other forms of entertainment are inextricably linked with the soul of our society and if they are in poor health, then we need to evaluate the health of our society as well.

What do you think, are movies becoming unoriginal? And if they are, what does this say about society?

Creator: HSNPhotography, Credit: Getty Images

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