Tyler Durden summed it up best when he said “a copy of a copy of a copy” in a film ironically based on a book of the same name. Though Fight Club surpasses its source material in a number of ways, there’s no denying it’s become a worrying trend in recent years for most of cinema to be based on other aspects of media.
"how many Bond films do we really need? Poor James must be tired out with 51 of them under his belt"
Books are a popular go-to for most studios, considering the script is pretty much pre-written for them. There’s no denying that talent went into the production of the Harry Potter franchise and Silence of The Lambs, but how many Bond films do we really need? Poor James must be tired out with 51 of them under his belt. Comic book adaptations similarly dominate most of the Summer box office, and whilst I appreciate seeing storylines like The Dark Knight Returns and Civil War being screened to the masses, this means they’re often watered down to cater for general audiences, making them sometimes too silly to stomach.
Television shows are likewise becoming a favourite of the Hollywood honchos, thanks to having multiple episodes to establish the plot and characters in advance. Often this is due to show popularity, drawing in thousands of fans to see The X Files and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles simply on a larger screen. This can only lead to disappointment (think The Last Airbender outrage), all whilst The Smurfs maniacally cackle as they exploit 80s animation nostalgia.
Star Wars is the biggest offender in that regard, with countless mediums ‘expanding’ the universe. The recent cash-in is Shattered Empire, a prequel comic series set before The Force Awakens, undoubtedly contributing to the massive sales the brand will see come December. Let’s not even begin to count the number of TV shows and video games spin-offs that have released over the years (Battlefront conveniently releases in November).
"with many modern games now taking a cinematic approach to storytelling, what use is trying to squeeze over 15 hours of gameplay into a mere 120 minutes?"
Speaking of, our favourite pixelated protagonists have been bridging the gap for decades, either as film tie ins (Spiderman 2, Goldeneye) or on the big screens themselves (Tomb Raider, Resident Evil). In more recent years, the fad is no longer validated - with many modern games now taking a cinematic approach to storytelling, what use is trying to squeeze over 15 hours of gameplay into a mere 120 minutes? Of course there’s all the running around from A to B you can edit out, but to have Assassin’s Creed and The Last of Us (both now well into production) be constrained to a feature length running time is a disservice to the fans and creators of today’s console classics.
But if there’s one reason to call this craze quits, it’s the films based on everyday objects. As if capitalism wasn’t already infecting Hollywood, brands are now paying big bucks to get their commodities on the silver screen. Though The LEGO Movie was a rare anomaly to this particular trend, featuring hilarious meta parodying of the product itself, most others only serve to personify product placement via skeleton bare plotlines and see-through characters. Most notable tends to be board games, with Battleship and Ouija being critically panned for reusing action and horror film setpieces respectively, whilst the Transformers franchise has generated millions in various formats, from toy cars to TV to Michael Bay’s testosterone-fuelled blockbusters.
Nevertheless, considering we’ve come so low that the US marshmallow treats Peeps actually have a movie in the works, it’s time to stop giving studios our money and start rooting more for the Best Original Screenplay awards come the New Year rather than the banal adaptations we’ve come to accept as the norm.