Friday, October 7, 2011

Movie remakes ... Whyyyyy?

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One of my favorite movies is John Carpenter's "The Thing" starring Kurt Russell. The movie came out in 1982 on the big screen. At the time, the graphics were phenomenal. Nowadays, the 1983 graphics would be considered mundane. Today's high tech graphics and animation are really phenomenal. (see how life destroys all that we once held sacred?)

The Thing was a remake of a previous original that came out in the 1950s, I think. It was good but not great. The "Thing" was actually an actor who lumbered around like a bad Frankenstein who came out of the Arctic chill. So the Kurt Russell version was a real treat. The monsters grew out of it victims in the 1982 version, although the ending was lacking. It was like the new movie traded in the originality of the first film for better graphicw. The original film not only had a great plot, but it had a better ending, too.

Well, the 2nd film was about 30 years ago. And about every 25 to 30 years, remakes arrive to entertain the new audience of younger generation filmgoers who probably saw the Russell film but not the first one. That's kind of a statement about out lifestyle and the length of a real lifetime. We who loved the first movie are no longer relevant. Those who love the Russell version are being deactivated culturally, though we struggle to keep up clinging to technology we can purchase with our babyboomer mentality of spend, spend, spend.

But there is a new generation out there today and they want more. More than we babyboomers had. More driven by a feeling of entitlement created by the power of technology. Steve Jobs didn't really teach us to expand our minds. Jobs really taught us to covet that which we could purchase. We don't buy a computer to mprove our lives. We buy computers to fill an insatiable hunger. We have a computer but it's not good enough. So we buy. Aother, better, faster and supposedly doing things we need. But we don't need anything. We want things.

And that's how we see entertainment. We don't need a new version of The Thing. We just want it, like a new computer. It's how we describe today's generation, what i call the "entitlement" generation.

The new version of "The Thing" comes to theaters this coming weekend. Same story. Same fright. Better graphics. And a new public hunger that can never be satisfied.

In fact, I am writing this from my iPad2, struggling to be as good as the laptop that already did everything.

And I will go see the new remake of The Thing because I've been conditioned to be that way, and for no other reason.

If Steve Jobs taught us anything, it might be something like this: "Why be happy with what you have when you could have something that might be better, but will probably just be mediocre? That's why the great inventions I just unveiled last year are no longer relevant and the one I am touting now is what you need to have ... Need! Need! Need!"

See anything similar with today's movies?

- Ray Hanania

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