The Guardian – well possibly there’s a disclaimer to distance themselves from potentially prejudicial opinions – but certainly in the Guardian Stuart Heritage takes a weary pass on the recently revealed plans for an extended universe based on John Wick. The recent hit sequel – John Wick 2 – has clearly got the money makers in Hollywood rubbing their hands in glee.
I wish I had some notion of the figures, because purely from an audience pov I have to say I’m with the Guardian – or Mr Heritage – on this. Hollywood is over-crowded with franchises, more than that its become so averse to working with anything fresh it’s starting to feel like they’ve actually managed to invent time travel. Even the recent lone-standing Dunkirk is drawing on a battalion of familiar names and faces – from the overhyped Christopher Nolan to the tweeny darling Harry Styles, a raft of seasoned stars – Branagh, Murphy and Hardy – to the very topic. WWII must have overtaken Vietnam as the most overexploited conflict in History.
I cannot be the only one sick of the same old faces, the same old storylines, being churned out. We used to associate the world of film with fantasy and imagination. Now most of what’s on offer leaves me with a similar feeling to visiting my local. But Hollywood seems absolutely convinced that the way to capture our wallets is through the familiar. Beyond the expanded universes – between Marvel and DC there are a potential 8 lined up for the next two years – we have a remake of Scarface (because the original was so poor??), a live action Aladdin (How? Without Robin Williams?), sequels (and I’m tempted to put that in air quotes) to Flatliners, Top Gun and Tomb raider. Spider-Man has just been re-released, the third re-boot in about a decade, and the 6th film. Elsewhere in a cinema near you, you can also catch another episode of Despicable Me. Or Planet of the Apes. Or Cars… Lets not even talk about Baywatch.
And sometimes I wonder if maybe, they’re right. The Star Wars prequels earned themselves a shiny gold pedestal in the Disappointment Hall of Fame, and for many of us its hard to imagine much surpassing them. Then along came The Force Awakens. A remake of A New Hope, but without the half decent (by a few) acting, groundbreaking effects, engaging characters or basic logic. Yes, I am being tortured for information but I’ll totally believe a random defecting stormtrooper and fly him to our secret base… You can see why the rebellion hasn’t won yet. We have the costumes that Luke made not fashionable at all, the sand,the Falcon, the death star, the sand, the wide-eyed ingénue, the sand… We have $936 million reasons why Hollywood keeps feeding us regurgitated rubbish.
And one very good reason, why I won’t be bothering…