I’m far too excited for Catching Fire and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, considering that those movies won’t even be released for over half a year. They’ve been on my mind a lot lately and that got me thinking about how hardly any movies are original anymore.
They fall into two categories. First are the movies based on books. Here are some that came immediately to mind: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Twilight, Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games, The Host, Jurassic Park, Ella Enchanted, Alice in Wonderland, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the Avengers films, Les Misérables, The Princess Diaries, Bridge to Terabithia, Chronicles of Narnia, and I had better stop now before my fingers fall off from typing so quickly as I think of one adaptation after another. Notice that these are all rather recent movies.
In addition, Merlin, Sherlock, Elementary, and Game of Thrones are TV shows based off of books. I’m sure there are plenty of others but I watch barely any TV so I couldn’t think of any more. I may think Doctor Who is ridiculous, but I’ll give it credit for at least being original.
The second category is made up of sequels. Obviously there is some overlap here with the first group because many books have sequels so their adaptations usually do too. These include Star Wars, Star Trek, Miss Congeniality… oh darn, I can’t think of anymore, which doesn’t help me prove my point.
It’s not like adapting books into films is a new thing. As an example, several of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous horror films were based off books. It’s not like adapting books into films is a bad thing, either. I read The Hunger Games a few years ago and wasn’t impressed but after I saw the amazing film based on it, I was sufficiently convinced to give it another go. Similarly, the reason I now won’t shut up about Middle-earth is that I decided to read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings before the new movie came out. Adaptations can encourage people to read the original books. And it’s just plain cool to see what everything looks like, provided the filmmakers did a good job in following the book’s descriptions.
Still, I think it’s a bit disappointing that so many movies right now aren’t original. Are screenwriters unable to create stories on their own? Obviously Star Wars has gone into sequels by now, but I think George Lucas is pretty cool because the first movie was completely original. Yes, he was inspired by other things, but he didn’t take someone else’s entire story. I wish there were more “fresh thought” in the filmmaking world.
Now that I’ve complained about this for most of the post, what are my suggestions for solving this problem?
Um. I don’t really have any. I was going to say that we need more screenwriters but I would sound like a hypocrite if I did because I don’t want to be one. I’d rather write books.
Wait, I’ve got an idea. I’ll write a script about a screenwriter trying to come up with something original.