Same old story, and we just love it

The Examiner

Another remake is upon us, without anything new to say. It relies on cliches and stale, endlessly recycled concepts. 

The re-remake is this: It's the rant that begins with, “Doesn't Hollywood have any new ideas?” 

Jeff Fox

The answer is they have plenty, but these folks also know their audience. We say we want the edgy and new, but the market rewards the glitzy, shallow and safe. 

Emma Stone has a knack for turning up in all the right movies – she was terrific in “Birdman” – but does the world need an origins story for Cruella de Vil? Doesn't matter. It's what we're getting. How many more minor Disney character spinoffs can we expect? I don't know. How many spots on a Dalmation? 

Does anyone – anyone – think there's a crying need for a Willy Wonka prequel? Doesn't matter. It's what we're getting. Other than the fact that it seems like a waste of actor Timothee Chalamet's considerable talents, I doubt the world will be worse off. 

But economists remind us that the cost of anything is the foregone alternative, and the millions spent on all those storyboards, all that makeup and all that marketing could have gone into something else. The only way to make them stop is for us to stop rewarding their behavior, but I imagine that this summer we'll all be in the mood for something fun, flashy and not overly challenging. The world will keep spinning, grumblers will keep grumbling, and not much will change. 

Does the world need another adaptation of “Dune?” Actually, the first one was so bad – mainly because it was so '80s – that maybe a second go will be OK. I like the cast and director, so we'll see. 

Everyone likes “The Ten Commandments,” right? Charlton Heston, Yul Brenner, hail, locusts, lots of betrayal, violence and death. Cecil B. DeMille's greatest work. Even greater than “The Ten Commandments” that he himself made 33 years earlier. And he used borrowed source material both times. And so it goes. 

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” 

So far as I know, they haven't filmed an adaptation of the Book of Ecclesiastes. I'd love to sit in on that pitch meeting. 

“I don't know,” the producer says. “Sounds like a lot of nuance. Sounds arty. Can we work Thor into this somehow? Thor contemplating the road not taken? Thor in the Batmobile. Yeah, that's it.” 

And the writers trudge back to their laptops and start pecking away. 

Jeff Fox is The Examiner's editor. Reach him at jeff.fox@examiner.net or 816-350-6365.