Monday, October 7, 2013

How The Evil Dead Remake Explains Pop Culture At Large

So, I just finished watching the Evil Dead remake. The movie was well done, and exactly what it was supposed to be.

I also felt that it was a microcosm of the filmmaking world at large.

The only real issues that the movie had was its familiarity.
But it was a remake. That's what a remake is supposed to be.
I mean Evil Dead II was it's own remake. So it wasn't like there was some tradition that had to held up here. 

And yet, there was something missing. Something that could have made it a lot better.

And I realized what those things were.

It was aftermodern

The Evil Dead remake had pretty much everything a modern Evil Dead remake should have, short of a Bruce Campbell saying awesome one liners as he fights demons.

There was a couple of things that gave the characters a lot of depth, and I'll give them credit here.

I'm a big fan of Ataque de Panico,  Fede Alvarez's short film depicting an alien invasion in his native Uruguay. I think Alvarez is a talented guy with a long amazing career ahead of him.

I don't know, I like a lot of movies made in other countries. I think a part of it has to deal with the military industrial complex. America spends more money on defense than any country in the world. There really isn't a plausible fear when it comes to aliens, zombies, or monsters in Manhattan, unless you act stupid during the entire situation.

But any of those scenarios in another country, like Egypt, or Syria right now, would be interesting. Especially when seeing how its citizens deal with it. We can't all be Brad Pitt and have a special airplane fly us out of any situation.

That, and we are a culture that fantasizes about this nightmare scenario. America lives in codependency with the threat of a giant monster it can be the hero against.

It's why we love movies so much. We're a bunch of drama junkies. We can't be content. Contentedness is boring.

And yet, we feed off of remakes from old movies we have seen many a time before.

I guess it's understandable. It takes five times as much energy to create an original property as it does to make a remake.

Anything in its past is a tangible advertisement, it's money you don't have to spend in marketing. You get that a lot with new stuff "I've never heard of this movie, it it any good?" as opposed to "Oh, I saw the original as a kid. I will check this out".

There's a confidence to working on an established property. It's like building your own boat versus buying an already made boat. If you build a boat, you always have this fear that it might sink. Like, you're not doing something correctly. But, a boat that's already built usually doesn't have those problems. It's an old boat.

Since people did not have a hand in creating the intellectual property they're working with, they tend to develop an entitlement about them. Like people are obtaining what they haven't earned. They mistook a remake's recognition for their own fame. Of course, you have the drones treating the remake like some pet or family member.

It's like when Crystal Skull came out, and you had all those idiots on the Internet saying "Welcome Dr. Jones". That's cringeworthy.

You're supposed to feel like an asshole for making a fan film. Unless that fan film is mindmeltingly amazing.

Remakes do sort of the same thing. You see younger talent in these things, and they have an arrogance about them they didn't earn.

I feel the same way about most DJs/people of the sampling ilk.

There's this Twitter account called "DJ's Complaining", and it's dedicated to well, DJs complaining. Henry Rollins broke this down in his now famous rant about modern music and the egos these people have.

In my work, I have found that the people who create original work tend to be humble (unless someone is actively trying to destroy their creation), but a lot of people who were not involved in the original creation process have an ego about them.

It's the same way with joke thieves. Look at how Carlos Mencia acted during his time on Mind of Mencia. Compare that with Louis C.K.

There could be a couple different reasons for this. One, fame has gone to their head because it was easy for them. Or, they act in this brash manner due to an inferiority complex. That is, they must exude what they believe to be confidence, so no one steps back and realizes that the emperor has no clothes.

Star Trek Into Darkness echoes postmodernism. The movie retraces and reiterates all of the things that Star Trek has done in the past.

I mean, the movie didn't really break any ground, outside of interesting concept art and design. And I know why that is. But, it sort of goes against "boldly go where no man has gone before".

To go where no one else has gone takes risks. And risking is hard. Especially nowadays. We are living in a world that is paying for the risks of the past. All the films and albums that the industry gambled on that didn't pan out is why things are the way they are. But, that can be a huge drain to one's motivation.

Now, I'm not a fan of Kantianism, mainly because Kantianism is not practical. That, and I'm a filmmaker. There's that old interview with George Lucas in the 70s where he says that a special effect is not good in and of itself, but only good if it helps tell the story better. Later in life, it might be argued that Lucas became more Kantian when it came to special effects.

So doing things in and of itself themselves is a weird thing to live by. But on the subject of remakes, schlocky movies, and the difficulty of making movies, it's sort of re-emerged as a counterpoint to working on movies you don't enjoy.

Like, you see all these people working on all these various projects. And you wonder, do they even like movies? All these nerds complaining about stuff. Do they even like movies?

They always work on something in the hopes of getting somewhere else. Somewhere else in the somewhere future. But, have they enjoyed anything they've worked on recently? Is there any sign that their goals are tangible?

Like, they would make a crappy horror film, because they want to build clout and make their serious drama later. But sometimes, that doesn't happen. What ends up happening is that movie ends up bombing, and the drama never gets off the ground. They would have been better off just making their serious drama now when they had an opportunity to make a film.

It's like these people who go on Kickstarter and try to get their short film made for $40,000. Robert Rodriguez made El Mariachi for $7000. Why not just make the movie? Cut out the spectacle, and focus on story. You might not get another chance. Not with that kind of money.

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