Last night my wife and I decided to have a night out, and we decided that we would go to the cinema for the first time in about 10 months. We decided to go watch Prometheus, mostly because it was one of few current blockbusters on at the cinema in Hong Kong, and partly because it was Ridley Scott and part of the Alien family. Now I’m a big fan of the whole Alien saga, I’m also a big fan of the Predator saga too, and with playing video games I’m not entirely against the Alien vs Predator movies. Yes they were a bit rubbish, and didn’t live up to they hype but when it comes to Alien and Predator I just can’t get enough. Now, some of what will follow will have some discussion on what happened in the movie so please stop reading now if you want to go see it. I will say, however, that it is worth seeing, although maybe one for the DVD collection.
This is not really going to be a rant about the movie. I’ve read a number of people’s opinions, reviews etc. of the movie where people complain about it not actually answering any questions, and that there were a bunch of holes left in the plot that were not even close to being covered. What this post will be about is a general bashing of Hollywood at the moment. The first of which is all this prequel, remakes, cliffhanger nonsense that just keeps on happening. Some movies were awesome, and they were awesome for a reason. Some of them were awesome because they were original at the time, or maybe they were directed by a top class director or acted by phenomenal actors. Remaking them will never rekindle that glory in any way shape or form. Yes I understand that you’re looking to milk as much money as possible, but surely you could spend that money on making a movie from one of the many many outstanding books being written these days. Don’t get me wrong, most movies done from great books are not even close to doing the books justice, but I would rather see that happen, because it in turn makes people go out and read the books, then see a remake of a classic ruining it all.
So that’s the remakes covered, what about the prequels? Some movies, like Star Wars, already had prequels when they were made. Lucas elected to start with episodes 4, 5 and 6 because they were the most entertaining. He was right, 1, 2 and 3 are nowhere near as great as 4, 5 and 6. Others, however, just seem like people are just doing them to milk as much out of the crowd as possible. Then some create prequels, and leave a whole bunch of holes in the plot to ensure there is always the option of going back and making a sequel to the prequel that fits in before the original. That to me is what Prometheus is…. its been done in a way that offers them numerous opportunities to go back and either do a sequel to it (where presumably she finds their planet and goes Ripley on their ass) or they could even do a prequel (where they would kind of do the bit in the middle that Prometheus left out – she lands at their planet, and after killing the first few thousand, she comes across the old guy sitting in a log cabin who reminisces; cue soppy music, faded colours as we go into flashback mode).
I can almost see a future where we may even get separate movies that are actually different endings to a prior movie. They can maybe tell you a rough idea of where each ending is going and you as the audience can either go and watch the one that appeals to you, or (as I assume they would intend) you would go to all of them and then say how awesome a concept it was without realising that you’re walking funny from the rogering you just took. I mean why settle for a couple of extra dollars from selling the Director’s Cut with alternate endings, when you can milk the public for 2 or more movies as alternate continuations. Imagine the amount of sequels you could create. Miramax, in association with KY jelly, presents the first option of sequel to alternate choice C sequel to Prometheus, in super 12D graphics, even though you can only really handle 3D.
However, at the end of the day I can just about get that. A director has a certain interest in a saga and wishes to continue it. At the end of the day they’re interested in making money just like any other corporation, and cashing in on a prequel, sequel, pre-sequel-post-prequel-filler, etc. What is really starting to annoy me about Hollywood is this incessant need to make everything use 3D. Now don’t get me wrong, some movies are indeed worth doing in 3D. Avatar for example was very impressive in 3D, but there was a movie that was shot specifically in 3D, and it was a movie that had been held back for years and years until technology made it possible. Animation movies are sometimes ok, because they can be done using 3D software. However, what irks me is these movies that are clearly not shot on 3D cameras, and then made into 3D movies as an afterthought.
Let’s take the example of Prometheus. I can honestly say that I didn’t at any stage really think wow this is so realistic and great in 3D. In fact looking back I think I only really noticed it when the names of the actors were coming across the screen at the start. There were clearly a number of moments where 3D would have been great. For example, this was an aliens movie, they showed the gore of the alien coming out of the chest, but how awesome would that have been in 3D, with the alien jumping out towards the audience. What about at the end, when debris is falling everywhere, surely there is an option here for stuff to be falling around towards the audience. Then there was the ridiculous bit of the space ship rolling towards the two survivors, would that not have looked a lot more impressive in 3D, if say at some stage they had it rolling out towards the audience a bit more? I don’t particularly like wearing the 3D glasses and if you’re not going to make it look impressive then why bother at all?
So why do it at all? Well clearly it seems to all be done to rake in the money at the box offices. Cinemas these days charge you almost double to go see a movie in 3D, but on top of that you have to bring your own 3D glasses. That in turn means that the movie companies can spout an inflated figure for money earned at the box office. It stands to reason that if 100 people go see an ordinary movie, and 100 people go see a 3D movie, the 3D movie will make more at the box office, because they charged ridiculous money to go see it. It would be interesting to see just how well 3D movies actually make if they released the same movie in 3D and normally to see which one sees more demand. Of course they will never do it, as then people might actually realise they’re being bent over again. You pay almost the same to see a movie as you do to buy the DVD, you then get the option to buy snacks at ridiculous prices, and now we’re being “wowed” with the latest technology for another chance to lube up and get bent over. By all means use the latest technology, and provide us with some impressive movies done in 3D, but don’t just keep tacking it on as a way to make money, its starting to get stale.