Why is Nothing Original Anymore
March 10, 2015
(shortened version of the opening)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don't have to. Hey, did you hear what's coming out this year?
(Logos for Jurassic World, Fantastic Four (Reboot), Poltergeist (Remake), Cinderella (Live-Action Remake), Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and Avengers: Age of Ultron are shown)
NC (vo): Jurassic Park! Again. Fantastic Four! Again. Poltergeist! Again. Cinderella. Again. Star Wars. Again. And movie giants Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor all in the same movie! A-motherfucking-goddamn-gain!
NC: Now, big shock, I'm kind of a lover of nostalgia, but, I think it's pretty clear we've gotten a little too comfortable with nothing original coming out anymore.
NC (vo): (Clips from the 90's Batman movies play) I mean, don't get me wrong, for years, Hollywood has given us sequels, remakes and adaptations of anything popular, (Clips from The Secret of NIMH) but there was also a mix of new material as well. New stories, new characters we can add to our mental library of beloved classics. (Clips from Jurassic World) But now, from comic books to existing movies to (Clips from The Lego Movie) even friggin' toy brands, everything is based on something we've already seen before. (Clips from the Fantastic Four reboot trailer) Yes, I know the theory that there's only seven stories and we're just doing variations (Clips from the live-action Cinderella) of the same seven, but exact same names, characters and situations don't offer much for people who claim they crave variety.
NC: So, why are we so tolerating and accepting of this?
NC (vo): (Clips from the Poltergeist remake) Well, in some respects, many aren't. After all, aren't you used to hearing that groan from the audience when something they love is getting remade? You know that groan, you hear it whenever they show (Clips from A Nightmare on Elm Street remake) the trailers. The one that starts with, "they're remaking Nightmare on Elm Street?" (groan), (Clips from the Bewitched movie) "they're doing a film version of Bewitched?!" (bigger groan), (Clips for Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked) "they're fucking what?!" (loud groan). It's more than likely you've gotten in a group conversation claiming Hollywood is out of ideas and most of the people in that conversation agree with you.
NC: But that still doesn't stop you from going to see them, does it?
NC (vo): (Clips from Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Guardians of the Galaxy) You're still gonna see Hunger Games, you're still gonna see Guardians of the Galaxy. A lot of it centers around the old saying that there's no such thing as bad press. (Images of a wild and old Mel Gibson, followed by a poster of his film, Apocalypto) Now true, bad press has destroyed many people as well as projects, but, (More clips from Alvin 3) those who know how to be smart and use it to their advantage are still reaping the benefits from it.
NC: Let's say you have two movies: one is a (Poster for Melancholia appears in the corner of the screen) totally original idea about a pissed off woman who has (Clips from the movie play) (vo) to deal with the end of the entire friggin world. It has great actors you recognize and has been praised by dozens of critics all around. (normal) Then you have a movie like Smurfs! (Poster for the 2011 live-action/animated Smurfs film pops up in the other corner of the screen) It doesn't matter how well I made this one sound, you immediately have a connection with this one.
NC (vo): (Clips from The Smurfs) You grew up with it and/or are familiar with it, and hearing that there's now a movie version about them will get some sort of response. Now it could be, "that movie looks awful, I can't believe they made a film out of this shit." And chances are it'll be exactly as bad as you'll think it is.
NC: However, you're not going to forget about it and that's exactly what the studio wants.
NC (vo): (More clips from Melancholia) With something new, it's a bit of a crapshoot. Maybe it peaks your interest, maybe it has stars you might like, (More Smurfs clips) but something like Smurfs has already proven to be a success in the past, it made money, and you remember it. So the chances of it making a connection to you is increased. The biggest crime a movie can commit to a studio is being forgotten. (Poster for Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark) Whether for being famously popular (Poster for Sharknado) or infamously popular, (More Alvin 3 clips) they just want you to keep coming back to the product. (More Melancholia clips) Because of this, there's a bigger risk with original ideas. You may look at it one second and forget it the next, which means a studio has to try harder to make it memorable and sell it. (Alvin 3 clips again) With something that was popular before, the audience is already there; an audience that will react to the film and remember their reaction, which is a huge advantage in marketing and selling your product. So you can kinda see why there are so many of these around. (Clips from Inception) Now, that doesn't mean there aren't original ideas that can do well and take the world by storm, but why would a studio take a risk that nobody would see an original idea when you're guaranteed (Clips from the Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens trailer) somebody will see one based on something else? (More Poltergeist remake clips) And hey, if you didn't grow up with it, it will be a new idea to you. (More Smurfs clips) Hell, I doubt all kids knew what Smurfs originally were when the movie came out, so they're seeing a brand new idea on the screen that, what a shock, (Images of older Smurfs merchandise) has years of shows and other movies they may want to follow, which will get the owners of that property even more money. (One more Smurfs movie scene) Financially, this just makes more sense.
NC: But the good news is that because these are projects that a lot of the filmmakers grew up with, they're also more likely to put more love into it.
NC (vo): (Alvin 3 clip again) Yeah, we get our shitted out knock-offs that aren't even trying, but (Clips from The Lego Movie) this year, people were upset that The Lego Movie wasn't nominated for an Oscar. Really think about that. People were angry that The Lego Movie was not nominated for Best Animated Picture. Before seeing or knowing anything about the film, would you ever think a sentence like this would be uttered? The Lego Movie? Best Animated Picture? Well, that's because the creators did their damnedest to create the best movie they could. Think about how easily this could have been a cheap marketing ploy just to sell more toys and attach any bullshit story they wanted to it. Again, the audience is there, so they didn't have to try that hard in order to make a profit. But, through clever writing, imaginative ideas and great directing, we got a film that people were shocked didn't win an Academy Award. And this is mostly because the makers of the film absolutely loved Legos. They did have a connection with it, they did remember the feeling it gave them when they were younger. And thankfully, they were talented enough to convey that connection to the audiences they showed it to.
NC: Same thing can be said for the slew of great Marvel movies coming out.
NC (vo): (Clips from Avengers: Age of Ultron) So many people grew up with these characters and chances are the filmmakers were just as big a fans as well. Because of this, they put even more time and effort into making their product as good as possible. Because if they fail, they're not just letting themselves down, they're letting Captain America down, they're letting their childhood heroes down, and yours as well. When somebody has that love and connection to a work of fiction, chances are they're going to bring a lot more passion to that product than something that can either sink or float. Adaptations of childhood nostalgia have gone from being halfed-ass rarities to the record-shattering norm.
NC: So, in a bizarre way, the question is, "why the hell should we put up anything original anymore?"
NC (vo): (Clips from Song of the Sea) There's no guarantee, it's a big risk, and there's nothing from the past that we can connect to. Well, those are the exact reasons why we should: because there's no guarantee, it's a big risk and there's nothing from the past we can connect to. It's all entirely new. Ideas like (Posters for The Dark Knight Rises and Rise of the Planet of the Apes) Batman and Planet of the Apes (Images of the original Batman comic and Planet of the Apes novel) had to have originally been created, not retold. (Clips from Avengers: Age of Ultron) So even though there are a lot of good reboots, sequels and adaptations coming out, (Clips from Songs of the Sea again) original ideas are still just as important as they ever were.
NC: Does that mean we'll always be caught in this endless loop of rare creativity? Unlikely.
NC (vo): (Clips from Bad Words) First of all, there are original ideas coming out, they just (Clips from Chef) don't get as much attention. These are art house films and independent films and hell, (Clips from The Grand Budapest Hotel) even some of them are surprisingly catching on. Second, if there's anything our society has shown us, is that we get (Stock image of bored boy) bored very easily. (Poster for Bruno) And when we get tired of something, we stop watching. (More Song of the Sea clips) And when we stop watching it, Hollywood has to think of other ideas. And trust me, that will happen.
NC: Remember when TV used to suck for a while? I mean, like... Really. Really. Suck?
NC (vo): (Image of Honey Boo Boo and Mama June) The reality show craze was everywhere and soon, more and more people were giving up their cable. (Clips from Game of Thrones) But now, thanks to other avenues like HBO (Clips from Orange is the New Black) and Netflix streaming, TV shows discovered that they have to try harder in order to keep up. (Clips from The Walking Dead) And by God, there's a shitload of good shows now. (Clips from Archer) Suddenly, most people went from getting rid of their cable (Clips from Gravity Falls) to suddenly realizing that they have like a dozen shows they simply can't miss.
NC: We will get tired of seeing adaptation after adaptation but, again, we should probably be grateful the adaptations were as good as they are.
NC: (Image of a Hercules statue) For years, Greek Mythology retold over and over the countless tales of Hercules, Apollo and so forth. (Poster for Brett Ratner's and The Rock's Hercules film from 2014) And yes, while their stories are still being told today, they obviously don't take up the majority of what we see. New ideas came in and broke the mold. (Clips from Avengers: Age of Ultron again) The same thing is more than likely to happen here: it will die down after a while, allowing only the true great timeless ideas to live on in the future.
NC: So if you like adaptations, enjoy them while they last; there's a lot of good ones out there.
NC (vo): (Clips from Song of the Sea again) And if you're looking for something more original, check out some of the films that aren't getting as much attention. (Clips from Chef) Or take comfort in the fact that this is all a phase that will eventually run its course. (Clips from Bad Words) One of the great things about the technological boom is that it has opened up communication beyond what we could ever have expected. (Clips from Birdman) And because of that, more and more voices can share even more varieties of stories. (Clips from the Star Wars Episode VII trailer) Whether classics from the past or (More Song of the Sea clips) new ideas from the future, (Clips from Birdman) good entertainment will always find a way to give us a new spin.
NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
Gets up and leaves as the end credits play.
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