Has Hollywood Lost Imagination?

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Over the last few years, Hollywood seems to have lost its imagination. We can now expect most big releases to be sequels, spin-offs, reboots and adaptations. This has left me wondering why Hollywood has lost its spark; have they genuinely run out of new ideas or are they just creating films they know will make money? Either way, this is a sad direction for originality in Hollywood.

Sequels are always popular, especially when one is needed. For example, the devastatingly original A Quiet Place finished on a massive cliffhanger, so I was really excited to see the inevitable sequel, A Quiet Place II. However, lots of reboots and sequels do not carry the same level of necessity. Having seen and enjoyed the original Halloween, mentions of a new film (confusingly also titled Halloween– have film titles lost imagination too?) nevertheless left me unexcited and uninterested. I know they have the potential to bring a new lease of life to the original and invite a whole new generation of people to the franchise, but sometimes the original should just be left alone. There were original sequels too, and many, many more over the years to the point that Hollywood is clearly just using it as a safe way to make money. Similar sequels and reboots are being made all over the horror genre too, with a new The Exorcist and Candyman in the pipeline.

However, sometimes sequels and reboots can be worthwhile. The 2017 version of It, for instance, was arguably needed. Also, films that have dated through technology, language and politics can be healthily refined with today’s standards… But overall, I’ll stick with the originals.

A Quiet Place II

Platinum Dunes.

Another popular trend at the moment are adaptations, whether that be from a book, stage production or even TV show to screen. Just a few recent examples are The Last Letter From Your Lover and In The Heights. These can allow more people to experience a story, particularly in the case of a theatre-to-screen adaptation in which tickets are often expensive and you’d be lucky to grab them when the production is touring – and some of these do really well. I would also be lying if I didn’t say I loved the Mamma Mia film (though the stage show is better). However, they could also show that Hollywood has just lost its imagination, using existing stories and music. This is similar when it comes to the surge in real life or historical events being made into films. I do really enjoy a true story film, especially one that is inspiring, but sometimes the same story or historical event can be overused.

Overall, whilst I am enjoying going to the cinema to see new films (especially after the pandemic), I just feel like new, exciting and inspiring plots are lacking. Many books and theatre plays being adapted to the silver screen I have already read, seen or I at least know the plot of, and so this somewhat subtracts from the excitement. This is similar with adaptations of non-fiction stories or moments in history, especially ones that already have many films focusing on them (how many different Winston Churchills do we need?). Although it is slightly different with reboots and reimaginings as they provide different perspectives or storylines that link to the original films, I just crave something new and unknown, especially when some films, like the live-action remake of The Lion King, are essentially shot by shot replicas of the originals.

 

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Second-year History student, Classic Culture Editor 2021/22. Loves everything theatre and literature but especially horror books and musicals.

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