I'm off to see the new Star Trek movie this afternoon. Actually looking forward to it. I want to see for myself how this 'new' Kirk matches up with the 'old' Kirk of legendary fame. So far I've heard mixed reviews. And reading them a few questions came to mind.

How many times can a famous character/movie series. etc., reboot itself? Substitute Star Trek for James Bond or Jason Bourne. New actors--no writers take over and breath a different viewpoint into old friends we grew up with and came to know and enjoy.

What does this say about writers with original ideas sitting around in Hollywood? Or is that a laughable misconception? There are no new ideas. Should we let the old characters die off when the original creators/actors step away?

Frankly I'm really impressed with the new James Bond. I enjoy Lustbader's take on the written form of Jason Bourne. But on the other hand there does seem to be a dearth for anything new.

Or am I being snarky again?

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Saw it. Absolutely loved it. Recommend it if you're into an action-adventure mixed with wit and humor.
Though I'm not usually a science fiction fan, I liked the first Star Trek series and wasn't too excited about going to see this movie. I was afraid the characters I grew to love would be changed too much. Then my grandson asked me to take him, and who can no to a grandson? I was in for a surprise. I loved the movie and the characters. My grandson - who will be 13 in June - hadn't been a Star Trek fan, but he now wants the original TV series on DVD. If I can find it, guess what he's getting for his birthday.
Big budget Hollywood may not be the place to look for new, original ideas, B.R. There's just too much money involved to take a chance on something with no established market at all.

Maybe you saw the same trailres before Star Trek (which I also really enjoyed - I forget how much of Star Trek is comedy and the comedy was well done) that I did - new Terminator, new Transformers, new GI Joe. The only "original" story was Up and that's hyped as, "From the makers of... a whole bunch of other movies you're completely familiar with!"

But it's not really Hollywood's job to break new, original stories anymore. Us old guys just have to accept that. Hollywood is an aftermarket, their product always starts as something else.

Hey, are you going to go see Robert Downey Jr., in the new Sherlock Holmes movie?
John--Sherlock Holmes? Absolutely. The moment I read Robert Downey Jr., was going to play Holmes I was intrigued. Up front it sounds like an odd-ball cast selection--but then Downey surprises.
See, you don't ant anything new and original from Hollywood either ;)
John--someone on another web site suggested 'original' films comes from Indies--not from mainstream Hollywood. I have a tendency to agree with this idea.
I think there are plenty of original hit movies out there ("The Prestige" and "Memento" come to mind, and "Terminator" started as an original movie idea, I believe). Even Pixar's reputation is based (and earned) through originality -- "Monsters, Inc.," and "Toy Story" and "The Incredibles" and "Wall-E" were pretty original (while playing within a zone defined by family movie expectations). Even "Star Wars" and "The Matrix" were founded in cinema. Bio-pics have to be some of the least original, if that's your standard -- I mean, really, just telling someone's life story? And I love how you put it, John: Hollywood is largely an after-market. The up-front costs for a major motion picture tend to yield conservatism, so I don't blame them. Also, I think people go to movies to be entertained more than for deep experiences. There's an escapism to movies because they engage so many senses but not your thought processes. Reading a novel over many days or weeks is a different experience that can yield more experiments -- novels have less upfront cost and a greater diversity of sources (authors).

That said, as archetypes, some characters endure and can be reinvented again and again. I think it's interesting that the trend these days is an emphasis on origin stories ("Batman Begins," "Ironman," and "Star Trek," for example). Even the new Bond is about his origins. I wonder if that's because these characters are re-rooting themselves or if the writers find it easier to work while the clay is still wet. As a framework for reinvention, starting from the beginning seems natural. Maybe it's just the path of least resistance for writers trying to keep the benefits of the fan base while refurbishing the characters for a new audience.

All that aside, the new "Star Trek" is a blast, the new Kirk has just enough cheese and machismo to feel like Kirk without making fun of the character, and kids and adults are excited about this particular set of characters again.

I don't think there's an academic answer to your question. I do find it amazing when artists find these old characters, dust them off, and make them fresh again. However they do it, keep 'em coming!
Depends. Sometimes an actor defines a role: Connery is Bond, IMO, and none of his successors have anything like his combination of charm, masculinity and casual brutality. The new Bond, what's his name, seems a bit too evolved for my taste. Bond should be a convincing cad and a merciless killer, and has to be able to deliver a quick one-liner with dry aplomb. Only Connery had the hat-trick going on. Give a movie hero a cape and/or a cowl, though, and nobody gives a damn who plays the role: Michael Keaton? Fine. Christian Bale? Whatever--they're not Batman, the costume is. As for the new Star Trek movie--I'll let you know when I've seen it.
Connery is Movie Bond. Since he was the first to portray the character on the big screen, of course he is the one who defined how Bond would be. But the movie Bond, be it Connery, Moore, Lazenby, Dalton or Brosnan, is not a faithful reproduction of Ian Fleming's Bond, that is, the Bond of the original novels. The new Bond, Daniel Craig, is the first one to accurately reflect Fleming's character. Fleming's Bond isn't just a vehicle for empty charisma and one-liners; he is actually a character with a lot going on inside. Before Casino Royale, the closest the movies got to the Fleming Bond was On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond played by George Lazenby. There was actually some real drama and emotion going on there, what with Bond getting married and all and then losing his bride at the end and all.

So in the movies, Bond is able to continue to develop because he started out as a different character than the original. The Bond novels, however, are in need of some fresh energy. Each writer who continued after Fleming changed the character some, and the books weren't written nearly as well. Hopefully they will keep trying because I like reading Bond novels.
John McFetridge makes a good point about the reasons behind the remakes.

You see, Hollywood has some pretty awful business practices. I mean dreadful, and these cause their prices to skyrocket with an inflation rate that surpasses Zimbabwe, because everyone wants massive amounts of money up front because they know they won't get their profit share.

With costs so high, margins so thin, and the risk so great, they really are scared to try new ideas unless it's the sort of high-concept idea that sells itself.
I don't know how much control Hollywood has over its business practises and how dreadful they are - realistic is more like it.

Audiences just don't go out in big numbers to see low budget movies without movie stars. There are very rare exceptions, but no business is based on exceptions.

People don't want their money up front because of worries about profit share, they want their money because their presence will deliver an audience. It would be different if audiences reacted differently more often, but they don't.

I also question the indie movie idea these days. There was a time when there were a lot of indie movies with quite different approaches, but most indie movies now are just Hollywood audition pieces.

I really have no feelings whether any of this is good or bad, it's just the way it is. I guess I never really loved movies that much to begin with, so I don't feel let down by Hollywood like some people seem to.
I do an entire blog about Hollywood's shoddy business practices, and from my research, I've discovered that they've pretty much created their own problems.

When I was doing my research I discovered that while many believe that audiences don't go to movie without movie stars, they also don't go to a lot of big movie with movie stars. A lot of major "stars" these days can't sell tickets to the lifeboats on the Lusitania. Nicole Kidman is a prime example, being paid between $15-$20 million a picture, but never carrying a movie over the $100 million mark.

And as for smaller films, Liam Neeson was considered more of a character actor or supporting player for a long time, yet his film Taken, made by a French company, made over $144 million domestic, and another $70+ million international. And while I can't find an exact figure, most put the budget at around $60 million, which is about half of what a "modest" Hollywood movie costs these days.

As for indie films these days, in the 90s there was an indie explosion. That made indies cool, so the studios started buying up the indie distributors, and they did stop being about making something that was different to fill a void Hollywood was ignoring, and became all about making acquisitions that would get executives awards, invites to swanky dinner parties, and a shot at scoring with a hot actress at a Sundance apres-ski party.

Ironically, the economic downturn may change indie films for the better, because the distributors who are buying them realize that they actually have to try to get these films to audiences outside of the major city art-house circuit.

But like I said, I have an entire blog about the movie business, so I can literally go on and on about this topic.


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