Ask anybody what the problem with modern cinema is. More than likely, you will encounter the notion that “too many sequels are getting made”. Not enough new ideas are put into scripts. Hollywood simply raids the past to create the blockbusters of the present.
It’s a formula that often works well. They simply take a film that was made 30-odd years ago, update it with new slang, a new setting, and the latest computer generated film techniques. It makes for a successful product. People flock to the theaters in droves, pay far too much for a ticket, and sit in dumbstruck awe for an hour and half. All for something they have seen a million times before.
Both the audience and the filmmakers what a farce this is. They are pure waste of an artistic effort. Yet, we still go see them and they continue to make them. Everyone is guilty. The unspoken truth behind mass media is that nobody actually cares about the merit of the output. The producers only care about how much money a film will make. The cinema goers only care about wasting a few hours at some place other than their depressing homes or apartments.
These films get made simply because most people are, at heart, cowards. We gather around the dining table or the living room and despair. We know we should be doing something together. However, it can’t be something that actually takes effort. Attempting to do something meaningful is always hit or miss. We’d much rather choose an activity where little effort. If it turns out badly, at least we didn’t really try too hard.
This often means choose something that everyone will like. Nobody should be offended by what is put in front of us. They might blame us for that. Instead, we appeal to the lowest common denominator. A film that might require thought might upset somebody.
This often takes the form of some shared cultural relic from days past. Filmmakers must go back to a time when popular culture meant something to everyone, since it no longer does today. The past is our last refuge for understanding each other. Remakes and sequels are powerful for this reason. They carry prior expectations of greatness by the culture that created them.
As modernity marches onwards, popular culture will continue to degrade. Not until it reaches previously unknowable levels of idiocy will it ever get better. Only when things start of fall apart do we see the meaning in creating something new. The adage “if something isn’t broke, don’t fix it” holds true, even for things as vapid as Hollywood movies. It is only when confronted with the rampant desolation of something completely broken does true change happen. Patching the holes in a sinking boat only extend the suffering of the desperate passengers aboard.