Column writing assessment for school. Guess who achieved with an Excellence? It's like no one seems to have realized I write about almost exactly the same thing every year in different formats. Oh, well.
* this one's quite old, actually. Can't remember when, but from before Predators was released.
Popcorn: check. Drink: check. Maltesers: check. Excitement level: maximum. The lights dim, plunging the gargantuan theater into darkness, and a strange logo appears on the screen for a second, flickers, and fades away. Impatient rustlings from the audience herald the coming of the actual trailers- bonuses, really, for the avid movie-watcher. The scenes on screen are dark, the music tense, and I instantly know I want to watch what the next three minutes will try to advertise. A lightning flash on screen. I shake my head and chide myself for not wearing lenses because I know I couldn't possibly have seen what I thought I'd just seen. The darkness on screen lifts and the world seems to momentarily stop as I realize one of my worst fears has come true- they're making yet another sequel to Predator.
Leaving the theater two hours later, the trailer comes back to punch me off my euphoric pedestal of Iron Man 2 appreciation. My friend offers me his consoling opinion: "they're not doing it to everything, D." As we're walking past the doors to the screen next to ours, I can hear the unmistakable rattle of gunfire and the sweet screams of dying actors and it is really hard to resist the temptation to sneak a look. Being the creature of sin that I am, I poke my head in as discreetly as I can through the over-sized red doors with the huge yellow '1' on them. They're showing Predators. Ofcourse. An entirely unnecessary sequel, that's unnecessary because the Predator franchise died a long time ago when Arnold Schwarzenegger just laughed at us everytime a new sequel was scripted, and blatantly refused to be a part of it. It's common knowledge that a Predator movie without Arnie is just like a Predator without his mask- ugly and unable to survive vicious blows to the face. Moving on.
I don't even have to check the other screens because I'm pretty positive I know what atrocities are playing there. Screen 3: the remake (or reboot, depending on what "fresh" tactics the producer used to increase its appeal to uninterested audiences). The movie on the screen is probably A Nightmare on Elm Street. It is not the version that we all loved for a refreshing idea (and the spectacular Johnny Depp death scene) and became an instant classic, but a "grittier, "dirtier" remake that not a single person actually wished or asked for. If I could travel back and forth in time, I would see that this very screen has been graced with other just as half-hearted and unneeded remakes. In the past, Batman Begins, Halloween and Friday the 13th, to name a few. In the future, we shall be bestowed with the gifts that are Prince of Persia, House of the Dead, Spiderman 4 and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (yes, ANOTHER remake). Hell, they're even remaking Leprechaun, a move that was so bad that the producers themselves decided that they would make the (also unnecessary) sequels self-depreciating and satirical. They even named one of them Leprechaun: In Da Hood. Behind door(s) number 3 there is probably a ghastly mash-up of existing franchises that serves no other purpose than to ruin everything the original creators worked to achieve. The last remaining screen is most likely showing an adaption that has already been adapted anywhere from once to twelve
separate times by twelve separate people.
... touche, magic hallway, you've just proven my considerate friend spectacularly wrong.
This (partly imaginary) walk down the lobby has left one outstanding impression. All traces of originality seem to have vanished. At this juncture, one might stop and think, "well, so what? It's just Hollywood. It's no biggie." Oh, that is what we call a biggie, my friend- because it's not just Hollywood, it's society as well. We don't live in the 18th century anymore, where originality was frowned upon and often punished- we live in the age of information, we crave and appraise originality. Originality is the sole reason for wonderful everyday things such as useful technology, superb healthcare and delicious food. Yet we never stop to think about how originality is important, we just take for granted that someone did all the dirty work, and sit back and reap the benefits. Look closer at the world, and you'll see there's a McDonald's on every a corner, a GAP across the street, a KFC two streets over and the 29th Friday the 13th sequel playing in every cinema across every city on the globe. And if that wasn't enough, now we have five billion people connected to each other via the Internet. Bang. All free thinking screeches to a halt and conditioning runs rampant. This is another moment where one might stop and float the iconic "so what?" How does it matter if everyone likes the same things? Well, because there's a world of difference between liking the same things and seeing, wanting, buying and throwing away the same things. We're slowly and steadily being connived into thinking in the same parameters as the rest of the populace.
Constant evolution is the one process that is integral to the survival of the human- or any- species. To evolve, new ideas and adaptations need to be widely recognized and integrated into everyday life. How can we achieve this when we are so close to establishing global uniformity? Cultural, intellectual and physical differences will simply blow away life dust on savage desert winds. Evolution will stop dead in its tracks and we'll begin to progress in revers; get more decadent and destructive with each passing generation.
As I exit the plushly carpeted lobby- passing under a discreet metal detector- and head down the escalators into the harsh, unflattering glare of captured halogens, I feel that a sigh and serious headshake are in order. Not only had that brief and unappealing trailer ruined my pre-movie enthusiasm somewhat (and has just eradicated the need for a post-movie jig, but that's irrelevant) but it's also managed to fire up my misanthropic side and leave me wondering once again about one of the possible future scenarios that creates the most apprehension- what exactly happens when the space monkey with his fat finger poised over the Big Red Button of Nuclear Damnation forgets how to think for himself?
Oh, I do love the smell of napalm in the morning.