Are movie sequels and adaptations good for culture?

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

I was going to take this article as an opportunity to review “Ghost in the Shell” ― the live adaptation of Mamoru Oshii’s cartoon of the same name. But instead I want to address something else. There’s a saying, maybe you’ve heard of it, it goes “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” I’m not 100 percent sure what it means but I think it applies to the state of movies nowadays. Established properties such as “Power Rangers” and “Ghost in the Shell,” among many others, are all getting updated for the modern age in what many would call blasphemous cash grabs. I don’t know what that means either but I know I disagree with it: What’s wrong with bringing back beloved franchises if it means the betterment of culture?

First things first, if something worked once then it is bound to work again. Take comic books for example ― everyone loves Captain America and The Iron Man. They are awesome characters in the comic books. In the movies, they are awesome too. It’s easy to see. Plus, where would we be without all the cool superhero merchandise in stores like Target and Hot Topic? I don’t know about you, but I love my shirts that tell the world I am a proud consumer of cool franchises. We would be in a boring world if no one got to see Hulk Hogan duke it out with The Iron Man in a bunch of badass and epic scenes and I know millions of people agree with me. But I’m no fanboy folks; I admit that the darker treatment movies like “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” receive is great for culture as it shows that comics, like real life, can also be bleak and depressing.

“Isn’t there something inherently scummy about Hollywood vulturing off subcultural artforms like comic books and regurgitating them out as blockbuster action flicks with mainstream appeal, largely if not only to make bank off merchandising?” No! These kind of people make me sick because they take the fun out of everything and that is what life is about. We should be happy we live in a time where our younger siblings and the new generation of youngsters are exposed to the same things we were exposed to as children. Well not all the things. I don’t remember “CHiPs” but Grandpa says he does. Matter of fact, I don’t remember a lot of the remakes coming up in the next couple of years but that’s besides the point. Remember “Power Rangers?” That’s what I thought. Epic and badass.

Moving on, we can learn a lot from movie sequels and adaptations. For example, they teach the youth that everything they love ― their friends, family and favorite sources of entertainment ― will one day die and turn to fodder (food) for something else. It’s symbology: Worms are not much different from blind fanbases, in a good way. Coming back to “Ghost in the Shell” starring Black Widow (a nod to all the comic book fans out there), many people argue that the original cartoon is a masterpiece and should not be remade. But how else will younger people experience the “masterpiece” that the original one is? The only solution is to remake it. Besides, the original cartoon is kinda boring and the remake speaks more to our generation and its relationship with technology.

We are living in dark times and in these dark times we can learn a lot from art. For example, look at “Beauty and the Beast.” I won’t lie, I cried. Because in troubling times, we are reminded that true love exists. Also, look at “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” where the ultimate bad guy (who I think is a metaphor for the president) is bound to get his just desserts. Remember “Alien?” I know what that is! So when the new movie, directed by the original director Ridley Scott, comes out, we fans can all rest assured that we will get even more of the same epic and badass stuff that speaks to us in some way! They say that art imitates life and it is obvious that the artists behind the brilliant movies of today keep the culture thriving.

In conclusion, there comes a time in every person’s life where they say enough is enough. Enough of all the complaining, let’s enjoy the fact that Hollywood is pandering to our nostalgia because after all, I would rather see a cool movie based on something I recognize than something boring I’ve never even heard of.

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