It’s May 25th the Anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s incredible knock out of Sonny Liston with a punch that left the world puzzled. This is completely unrelated to my topic today, but I would feel kind of bad if I didn’t at least mention one of my favourite moments in sporting history. It’s also the anniversary of the first Star Wars movies’ release. May has been a hectic month, we lost the great Mathmetician John Nash and his wife, whose lives where the subject of the masterpiece A Beautiful Mind in a tragic car accident. There have been a lot of things I have wanted to talk about this month but haven’t been able to find the time to thanks to my stacked schedule producing for GeekReply.
Segways are difficult.
Andy L. Kubai is a writer at GeekReply who recently posted this article. In the piece he detailed his opinions on which film franchises are being played out beyond their lifespan. It is a good list and it’s worth reading so please do check it out. As film is a big passion of mine I asked if I could write a response and here it is:
Personally, I can’t get excited for Star Wars: The Force Awakens no matter how hard I try. It seems that while there are a lot of people who are very excited for the release of the film and hyping it as the second coming of Christ, I just haven’t been able to get the same feeling.
It’s not that I’m not a Star Wars fan, quite the opposite in fact.
I love Star Wars. I love Star Wars so much that I never want another film to be made.
There was a time, before The Phantom Menace, when the mere concept of a Star Wars film being bad was unfathomable. Star Wars was the only trilogy with three amazing instalments, there was no way a Star Wars film could suck. Then we got three awful Star Wars films consecutively, and each one was worse than the last.
While I’m supposed to be excited because of the lack of George Lucas directing the films the presence of J.J. Abrams makes me nauseous. The man ruined everything that made Star Trek, Star Trek by removing all of the philosophy and ideas and turning it into a dumb action movie with very little substance or character, and I certainly don’t want that for Star Wars.
I do take issue with one particular comment from Mr. Kubai however:
“But if Disney (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) can actually pull this off, we could be looking at an exciting new chapter in the Star Wars universe.”
I think you’re looking at this the wrong way. Disney is most certainly not what you should be worried about. There is a ridiculous misconception that Disney only produces children’s films and henceforth Star Wars is ruined with them. To which I have a few rebuttals:
The first is that Star Wars is a family film. It’s a film franchise that has always had a massive following of children who grew up loving the film into their adulthood. Star Wars should be kid friendly, mature certainly, but the idea that Disney would turn Star Wars into a family film, is like being afraid that there is peanut butter in your peanut butter, it was already a family film series.
There also seems to be this hugely wrong idea that Disney can’t produce darker content, which is very wrong. What a lot of people forget is that Disney is the largest film company in the world and owns other production companies. The most obvious is Pixar which releases good family films with mature content but the other one is TouchStone Pictures who have produced such films as: War Horse, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Lincoln and freaking Pirates of the Caribbean. The notion that Disney only associated with family friendly content is absurd. Disney can do dark, and it can do mature, in fact it does do it all the time.
Even the Disney animated classics are mature, they’re intended for families but at no point are they dumbed down babyish trite. Let’s not forget that LucasArts are still behind this film as well.
Disney is not the problem, and it never has been. My personal concerns for the movie are everything to do with Abrams and nothing to do with The Walt Disney Company or Lawrence Kasdan (who amazingly has signed on to write the film).
My response to the played out Franchises
While I do agree that Star Wars may be played out in that we consistently have at least some form of Star Wars content, there hasn’t actually been a live action Star Wars film in ten years.
Where I do have genuine disagreement with Mr. Kubai though is not on the topic of Star Wars, but actually his stance on a few of the film franchises he chose to include on his list. While I agree that franchises such as The Fast and the Furious should probably go (especially seeing as they are more character driven), when reading about horror franchises such as Hellraiser and Friday the 13th I found myself thinking the same thing:
These franchises haven’t been used in years.
While I understand that there was a time in which Hellraiser and Friday the 13th where played out beyond all believe. Hellraiser hasn’t had a film since 2011 (which no one saw) and has largely been out of the public eye since the 90s and Jason Vorhees hasn’t been on screen for six years, and before the failed attempt at a reboot he’d been missing for a previous six years. The last Friday the 13th was in 2009 and despite it being a financial success there was more critical acclaim for Julianna Guill’s chest and Jared Padelecki’s eight foot wide shoulders than the film itself and the franchise subsequently died.
To put it in perspective, if you’re not including the cross-over film Freddy vs. Jason there has been one Friday the 13th film in fourteen years. I don’t think the Friday the 13th series is even close to being played out. The franchise is practically dead and I don’t personally see the harm in the planned 2016 Friday the 13th film if it’s able to stand on its own and be a decent slasher film. We all know that it would never be able to capture the horror of the original Jason-less movie but I don’t necessarily think it has to. It’ll probably disappear for another six years after this one anyway.
As for Hellraiser, I would also say that whether you’re for or against it, it’s not really being played out anymore. In fact I’d argue that my native horror franchise hasn’t actually been relevant even in the UK for a very long time.
I do think that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is already being played out belong belief with subpar quality. However I think that when it comes to rebooting franchises or continuing them, I’m not always against it if they can do something different.
I would welcome a reboot of The Never Ending Story as the film never made full use of the book and left out the entire second half of the story, but I cringe at the mere mention of a Back to the Future reboot. I think personal preference will always be the main factor though. Some people may love rebooted franchise or long running franchise others may not.
I don’t necessarily think that Mr. Kubai is wrong as he does raise some arguments for why some franchises should stay, however I think a lot of the franchises that we often think of as being played out are more present in our memory, than they are in reality.