(And why that kind of pisses me off.)
I’m dealing with some latent Geek issues lately. First, Disney bought Lucasfilms and everyone (or close to everyone) in the Geekmunity went apeshit bonkers over the chatter of three more films taken out of George’s wretched little hands and maybe given to someone who grew up on Star Wars instead of the guy who abused the franchise to death. Still, I wasn’t thrilled. Not a freaking little tingle of excitement spread through my obviously geeky little body. Nope. I just sat there and said, ‘Meh’.
Now, a couple of things are happening in conjunction. First, the new Star Trek trailer is going around:
Then, The Hobbit was released. Okay, maybe I got the order wrong (no idea), but that just underscores the deep feelings of apathy that I get when I look at all of these old franchises pushing more material in the same worlds that they’ve been pushing material in since I was a kid. Add on top of that all of the comic book movies, and, well, you have a recipe for my own, personal apathy.
Now, dear reader, please do not make the mistake some Google+ers did of assuming I’m talking about originality. I’m not. I know all of the old cliches about everything having already been done (but not by you). This apathy I’m feeling doesn’t go that deep. I could probably watch the same story play out in a million different new worlds in a million different styles with a million different characters and not find myself as hopelessly bored as I am with the same franchises that I was interested in as a kid. You know which ones they are. We all do. Star Wars, Star Trek, Tolkien, DC, Marvel, Harry Potter (which just drug on far too long – I never got past the third movie) and I’m sure there’s two or three that I missed stuck in there somewhere. We’re all Pavlov’s Dogs – trained to drool whenever a ginormous film studio poops out another big-budget sci-fi action film placed in one of the worlds that we’ve loved since we were children. As much as I want to drool, I find the whole experience getting more and more hollow with age. It was still novel when the first LOTR films were released. Now, it’s just stale and a little hollow. Like putting a coat of paint on my old toys and saying ‘Please, buy them again!’.
We’re adults, now. We might have grown up flying around model Enterprises and X-Wings made of Legos, but I’m more interested in seeing the new worlds and new strands of imagination those early periods of play created in the minds of young geeks who are now geeks in the prime of their lives, at the top of their careers, ready to show the world what they can do. I want to see all new toys. Worlds that have depth and life and interesting stories associated with them. Worlds that can turn into NEW franchises, franchises that my kids might get an opportunity to crush on in the same way I crushed on all of those older franchises. I feel like, by and large, we are stagnating… stuck in the worlds and with the stories that we were told when we were children.
When I posed this question on Google+, I got a mixture of reactions. Some were defensive about being allowed to like what they want to like (my opinions on how I feel about things are mine alone – I don’t expect others to share them, and I have no truck with people who don’t feel burnt out on these franchises). Some were in agreement, and others told me that the newest, most interesting stories are actually not being told on the big screen (unless you have a very large monitor) – they’re being told on the Internet… so now I have a whole slew of links to peruse to find the hidden, secret, yummy new stuff as opposed to the old, tired franchises.
So consider this my plea not just to movie studios, who will follow the dollar regardless of where it leads, but to the men and women who are writing those worlds, building those environments… those who are my age, who are in the prime of their lives and at the top of their careers, those creative people out there who, like me, grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek and Tolkien and everything in between…
…it’s okay. You can stop remaking the old stuff. Now that you’ve made it to the big time… can we see something new?
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