Film Repeats Continue to Appear

By Jeff Mitchell

Today you will find more moviegoers clamoring over the new 3-D release of “The Lion King” than many upcoming new films. In this mood we tend to put more weight into old classics than we do into many new productions. Audiences find enjoyment in these films that we have loved since childhood, but consequences should be known. This has begun to hurt the film industry as studios reuse the same stories, but put them into new formats and repackage them as “original.”

Courtesy lionking.org
Courtesy lionking.org

While films that have been based on comic books has evolved into a growing trend that has not stopped. There are films such as “300” that have become blockbuster favorites while there have also been flops too, such as “The Spirit.” This is not to say that comic books are necessarily bad sources as they can deal with deep, controversial issues the same as books or films do, but the problem arises when studios simply believe that they can use a name to sell tickets without producing a quality film. This has been the case with books for a while, and many of us cannot count the times when we see a film-adaption of a book and hear someone say, “I liked the movie, but the book was much better.” “The Dark Knight” is an example of how critically acclaimed films can be based off of comic books and have substance. Film and literature are two forces that can go hand in hand to complement one another; studios just have to be sure to keep that power in balance.

Another reason why the growing trend has become so popular is that it has become a way for studios to make money without producing original content. This makes complete sense though; if you were a studio head why would you pay for writers and story planners to create a new movie plot that might completely flop when you can rely on materials that you know people will like. It only makes sense that people will pay to see idols we have admired since childhood transform from ink to film.

The problem that strikes deeper than creating poor quality films is eliminating the incentive to be original. When a gem of uniqueness is found it tends to get used over and over until it becomes a cliché.

Take 3-D films for instance. When 3-D was first used, it was for a select few movies that could skillfully utilize it to create a fun experience. Now, the use of 3-D is almost a norm and it is getting increasingly harder to find theaters that do not offer this feature. With “The Lion King 3-D” this is the case because the question even though it is such a good film, why does it need to be put into 3-D for people to want to see it?

These features are definitely quality changes to the movie going experience, but when priority is given to “special features” over actual storytelling and directing, film begins to falter.

Even as we gripe how “The Lion King” was an original work that was taken and reproduced just to make money, some do not look. “The Lion King” is actually based upon the play “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare. Perhaps it is just human nature to mimic what we admire, and it is also profitable. Releasing films is a great idea, but it should still be possible to release them as they are without changing the way that it was perceived originally. Even if the 3-D effects are mind-blowing and of epic proportions, “The Lion King” is a good enough film without 3-D and this new adaption could perhaps be tainting to the original film rather than enhancing the film as it was.

Jeff Mitchell can be reached at [email protected]