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Hollywood's Unoriginality (split from the Star Trek thread)


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Hollywood's Unoriginality (split from the Star Trek thread)
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rampancy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
 
2008-12-04, 18:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by curiousuburb View Post
The official website has been updated...
  • now Flash-ified with pointless corridor flythroughs
  • now using 'Okudagram' interface cues...
Dammit! I hate how it just hijacked my display by going fullscreen automatically. Not cool.

The "Okudagram" displays are really interesting - more evidence that it's not purely following established canon in that they look even more advanced that the TNG+ -era LCARS-style displays (they actually remind me of the cool holographic display that Daniels has when he tells Archer who he really is in ENT). The hallways remind me a lot of the Enterprise-D's hallways with their ten-sided polygonal look.

Oh...and please don't tell me that the doors ACTUALLY look like that in the movie...

"The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice."
- Mahatma Gandhi
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2008-12-04, 18:47

All big "event movie" sites are like this, and I can't stand them. So dense and needlessly complex and "show-offy". I can't recall a decent, fun-to-navigate, fast-loading and truly engaging movie tie-in website. Ever. They simply don't exist.



They turn these Flash guys loose with (apparently) the directive of "make us a site that people will only visit once and say 'screw this' from there on...".

Am I wrong? No, I'm not.



I visited "The Dark Knight" site twice - twice, for something I've been wanting to see for two years. The second time was a few months later, only to confirm if it was as bloated and sucky as I had originally thought. It was. Shit flying around everywhere, noises going off on everything you clicked, trying to find the simplest bit of info involved all this "travel" and wait, etc.

I hate sites like those..."X Men", "Iron Man" (all the Marvel stuff), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Who Gives a Damn, all the Japanese horror stuff, "Superman Returns", the two recent Bond flicks, Peter Jackson's "King Kong", definitely the "Star Wars" prequels, "Sahara", etc. It's like the bigger and more anticipated the movie (with the exception of "Sahara", of course), the shittier and more useless the website.

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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2008-12-04, 19:31

Well... I'm worried that if Hollywood actually got their head out of ass and actually started being *gasp!* creative and original and doing things right, there would be a sudden nationwide epidemic of heart attacks.


Just maybe... maybe they're being unoriginal and tacky turds simply for sake of our collective health. It's got to be the only explanations.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2008-12-04, 19:56

Oh come on. It's not like everyone in Hollywood is uncreative.

It's like when people complain about the endless cycle of sequels/spin-offs/reboots in Hollywood. Would we be having a nine-page thread about an original story? Look at the top-grossing films of all time, and see how many are original stories.

Hollywood makes what people want to see. They're not doing it for fun or for society or for art, they're doing it for money. If you want to see more original films or foreign classics or artsy dramas or robot love stories, then vote with your dollars and go see them.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2008-12-04, 20:02

I don't buy that necessarily. Sure, we'd definitely have a nine-page thread about a standalone, original movie...as long as it was good.

I'm betting something like "Pulp Fiction" probably would've had this place hopping had 'Nova been around in 1994. I saw that opening night in Orange County at the Tustin Marketplace Edwards...it was definitely the freshest, most fun I'd had at the movies in ages! The joint was packed (all that buzz going on) and everyone ate it up...I'd never heard so much laughing and "ohmigosh" in a movie audience before.



The thing is, most of these big spectacle things are, in the end, outright turds. They live or die by their opening weekend. Some ("Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight") build on themselves and actually stick around and pull in good numbers and crowds. But some - "Superman Returns" and this recent "Indiana Jones" - suck as much as you'd imagine, and kinda limp along and all but kill the franchise. Nobody wants to see a sequel to either of those turds, I believe.

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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2008-12-04, 20:40

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
I don't buy that necessarily. Sure, we'd definitely have a nine-page thread about a standalone, original movie...as long as it was good.

I'm betting something like "Pulp Fiction" probably would've had this place hopping had 'Nova been around in 1994. I saw that opening night in Orange County at the Tustin Marketplace Edwards...it was definitely the freshest, most fun I'd had at the movies in ages! The joint was packed (all that buzz going on) and everyone ate it up...I'd never heard so much laughing and "ohmigosh" in a movie audience before.



The thing is, most of these big spectacle things are, in the end, outright turds. They live or die by their opening weekend. Some ("Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight") build on themselves and actually stick around and pull in good numbers and crowds. But some - "Superman Returns" and this recent "Indiana Jones" - suck as much as you'd imagine, and kinda limp along and all but kill the franchise. Nobody wants to see a sequel to either of those turds, I believe.

I seem to recall a positive review of IJ from a certain forum member here.

I know I sort of gave Hollywood's version of why there's so many sequels, but I mostly agree with it - would they really keep making them if it didn't make financial sense for them to? If box office receipts showed that everyone was clamoring for more original content, why would they continue to make sequels? They're a profit-driven industry.

Even if Pulp Fiction would have had a nine-page thread here in '94, it wouldn't have had a Burger King promotion or a special limited-edition Slurpee flavor with collectible cup or a tie-in toy line or a shitty video game or kid's light-up sneakers. And that's where the money is, these days.

Some companies (Pixar!) specialize in original storytelling, but they're only able to because of their uncommonly good box office record (highest in the industry, actually ) and even then they're blessed with family-friendly, merchandise-friendly subject matter, which Pulp Fiction simply isn't. And even they are moving towards an increased reliance on sequels and adaptations. For a lesser studio, there's just no hope. That's why DreamWorks is a Shrek-making machine and why Blue Sky is an Ice-Age-making machine. (And I have a hunch that Pixar is only able to greenlight stuff like newt and John Carter of Mars because they have the 900-pound gorilla of the Disney marketing machine behind them. WALL-E's massive budget was subsidized by the sales of millions of Hannah Montana t-shirts. )

If you're given the choice between producing two films, one that's based on an established franchise with millions of fans and one that has potential but is currently unknown, which would you produce? Or if you can line up a multi-million dollar Happy Meal promotion with one franchise, but not with the other?

As the "little guy" I'm as frustrated at that as anyone but I don't fault Hollywood studios for wanting to make money. They're businesses, not charities or arts organizations. Their reason for being isn't to provide us with great entertainment, it's to make gobs of money. Ideally, the two go hand-in-hand, because makers of great entertainment are rewarded with higher ticket sales. But if one potential film has a less profitable outlook than another, because it lacks a built-in audience or whatever, you can't really fault the studios for choosing to make the more profitable film instead.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2008-12-04, 20:47

Roboman,

So in conclusions, we should blame the audience?

I have this mental image of the emcee going out and yelling at the audience, "It's all your frigging fault! Yours! It was you who ruined this movie! It was you who dumped on us artists!"


Okay, okay, I'm being irreverent.

On serious note, though, I can't help but think that Hollywood is just as guilty as the audience who gladly shells out their $8 for crappy movie; kinda like a chicken'n'egg problem. I think they are more likely to not take the road less traveled because, well, they're in a business, but that only mean they'll be mediocre.

Would it be fair to contrast this with Apple as a company that has snubbed its nose up at the industry standard, booting floppy drives long before it was thinkable? I mean, if single company did that, they would make a killing. (Well, that'd be Pixar, I guess... )
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2008-12-04, 21:09

Thread split for the discussion of originality (or lack thereof) in Hollywood...
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2008-12-04, 21:12

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana View Post
Roboman,

So in conclusions, we should blame the audience?

I have this mental image of the emcee going out and yelling at the audience, "It's all your frigging fault! Yours! It was you who ruined this movie! It was you who dumped on us artists!"
Certainly not. I don't think the studios or the audience should be blamed because, as far as the Hollywood model goes, nothing is wrong.

Now don't get me wrong. I hate the constant stream of inferior sequels as much as anyone (they're making a sequel to Donnie Darko for crying out loud). I'm just saying that, as far as the Hollywood model goes, everything's just fine - the audience is presumably getting what they want, because the films produced are based on what they've paid the most for in the past, and the studios are making the most profitable pictures. Those who aren't satisfied with the studio's output (and that is the minority of people, I'm sad to say) should simply look beyond the Hollywood model for their entertainment (certain pictures excepted, of course). It's not Hollywood's fault or the audiences fault or anyone's fault - the Hollywood model is functioning beautifully.

The Hollywood model is designed to make films that appeal to the largest audience possible, in order to make the most money. I don't understand people who say that Hollywood should make less profitable films, as if the entire industry's business model should be changed just for their tastes. That simply will not happen, and if you don't like the idea of for-profit entertainment, you should look outside of Hollywood, rather than faulting it for being what it is.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2008-12-04, 21:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboman View Post
Some companies (Pixar!) specialize in original storytelling, but they're only able to because of their uncommonly good box office record (highest in the industry, actually )
I don't get what you're trying to say here. Pixar is a great counter-example to unoriginality in Hollywood, but you play it down because they're good at what they do and have become wildly successful? It's not like Pixar gained its success and reputation from spitting out easy knockoff films and only once they were successful did they later start putting out original films. The only knockoff they did was Toy Story 2 and even that wasn't intended to be a major motion picture, only pushed to being one after being strong-armed by Disney.

Otherwise, I get what you're saying. The point about Pixar just threw me totally for a loop.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2008-12-04, 21:24

Roboman, I hope you caught that I wasn't being entirely serious with my image.

Also, I have that sense that we're in basic agreement, only that I view their steady stream of shitty sequels as evidence that they're not being serious with what they make; they're not asking what can make even more money and taking risks to make it succeed. Rather, they're saying, this will probably suck but at least we'll be in black if we make it and go no further and to me that's bad business. Well, not the kind of business that get you out on the street next day but rather festooning and dragging behind... Not too unlike the big three, I might say.

You're absolutely right that it's really all about profits. It's the sole reason for their existence, and any pursuit of arts is secondary to this. My contention rests on that yes, you can make gobs of money by making good arts; they just need to look a bit harder and deeper, but it's there.

It does not have to be totally original; we were copying others stories for millennia, but at least in mythology, they had distinctive flavors; you knew when you were reading Greek mythology and not Babylonian mythology even if the core story is basically identical. I've claimed that they can in fact do this with successful franchises such as Rocky, Rambo, Indiana Jones; make a new universe that's a bit like them but with new flavors here and there and it's all new story worth retelling. But that's not what they are doing.

If there was a word I'd have to use to describe Hollywood, it would be that they're lazy.
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
awesome
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
 
2008-12-04, 21:58

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
I don't get what you're trying to say here. Pixar is a great counter-example to unoriginality in Hollywood, but you play it down because they're good at what they do and have become wildly successful? It's not like Pixar gained its success and reputation from spitting out easy knockoff films and only once they were successful did they later start putting out original films. The only knockoff they did was Toy Story 2 and even that wasn't intended to be a major motion picture, only pushed to being one after being strong-armed by Disney.

Otherwise, I get what you're saying. The point about Pixar just threw me totally for a loop.
I agree that it was poorly phrased. Let me rephrase:

Pixar, a total unknown, made a third of a billion dollars in profit at the box office with their very first film.

There.

My point is that, from the very get go - before they even had a chance to make a sequel - Pixar was very clearly an exception to the rule. It was very much a "duck and get out of the way" film. And indeed they did respond to Toy Story's success with a sequel at the earliest opportunity (they started producing A Bug's Life before Toy Story was released).

Pixar also had a three-picture deal in place before they even began work on Toy Story.. This likely encouraged them to be more adventurous with their subsequent films than they might have been otherwise. Pixar was in an enviable position from the start - the three-picture deal gave them more freedom to experiment than most startup studios have. They weren't in a position where one dud would have killed them. Three duds probably would have, but they could flail around for two films and strike gold on the third and still come out okay. What I'm trying to say is, they had the security of a multi-picture deal, so they had more room to experiment.

Also, I think the people that work there are just unusually artistic. Their Emeryville offices have never really been caught up into that Hollywood mindset, hence their de facto motto, "Quality is a great business plan, period." And it's true. Pixar puts more thought into the animation of their end credits than lesser studios put into their entire films, and when you're as fanatically devoted to detail as Pixar is, you're going to produce a product that will stand out. Most Hollywood studios aren't as devoted to the art of film, because they see it as being at the expense of potential commercial success. And I'm okay with that, because if all studios had such attention to detail, Pixar wouldn't stand out as much any more.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
hmurchison
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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2008-12-05, 16:48

Hollywood is, by and large, unoriginal.

You could have a fantastic screenplay with fabulous characters and and engrossing storyline and you will still have
to fight tooth and nail to get it to filming if you're a newbie. It's certainly a clique and with movies costing many millions
of dollars you aren't just going to get anyone to finance you.

Also keep in mind that it takes only but a few changes to take an original story and make it unoriginal and bland. That happens a lot
serious movies get comedic elements added destroying the writers intent.

A lot comes down to actors and their performances. If Silence of the Lambs is made with B list actors you don't have the same performances.
Which is why many films are only greenlit on the contingency that they get suitable A list actors.

In Hollyweirds defense. Every 3rd person in LA is writing a script and truly thinks it's something special. I've read just a few and trust ..they can
be absolutely dreadful. I imagine they are numb from being inundated with horrible script after horrible script. They must feel like a trauma nurse
that cannot relate to "only" having to deal with a minor injury. They are already in rejection mode once they view most scripts. Good scripts often
get buried.

omgwtfbbq
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