Originality means the power of independent thought or constructive imagination, according to Merriam-Webster. Entertainment wise, originality usually sets the most masterful artists apart from the feeble ones. It seems though, that originality is a rare find in the music and film industries.
Movies like Carrie, Dawn of The Dead and The Fog demonstrate how screenwriters have become more dependent on works that can before it, rather than inventive. Although each remake has its own twist, it’s still based on another movie.
In an op-ed on First Showing, a web-based destination providing coverage of mainstream and independent films, movie critic Jason Kaleko discusses the lack inventiveness in Hollywood. “America’s movie culture is falling to the wayside as truly original scripts are being discarded for surefire moneymaking strategies,” said Kaleko.
In order to support his theory, he cites the American Film Institution’s 100 years, 100 Movies. He points out that no movies released after 2000 made the list. This is because films made after that year are based on rehashed ideas made into new movies in order to make money. Case in point, 2008’s Dark Knight, a film that generated just over $1 billion in revenue. What better way to lure in movie-goers, than to make a movie with familiar Batman characters and a new storyline.
Sequels to movies can also be considered, because they “piggy back” prequels. This has become an epidemic in itself as many movies today have at least two or three sequels.
“I went to go see Why Did I Get Married 2 and I loved it way better than the first,” said Tavares Kennedy, a fourth year business administration student from Fort Lauderdale.
“When movies are remade you already know the crew that made the movie are capable of pulling off another good movie, and I’ve never felt like I wasted my money,” Kennedy said.
Some movies have gone beyond the call of duty to form series within themselves: James Bond, Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the Thirteenth movies are all prime example of this phenomena.
Although these movies were hits, it’s only because the prequels are already familiar with the audience they were targeted at.
Music is another form of entertainment that suffers from an authenticity drain. Music from the past 20 years has borrowed segments from older songs and artists, be it a music sample, lyrics or video concept.
Hip-hop mogul Andre Young, otherwise known as Dr. Dre, explained what he looks for in a new artist in an interview with Reuters. “Originality and a good vocal performance,” said Young. He went on to mention that his Ipod, is filled with old artists, since he doesn’t have a favorite new artist.
For example, the video to Erykah Badu’s single, Window Seat, was based on another video done by New York punk duo, Matt and Kim just one year earlier.
Consumers of American entertainment industry must demand more from Hollywood. This means boycotting the next “Xeroxed” album single or film.
“I think that everything no matter what is linked to something someone else has done before,” said Darriel Clark, 23, a fourth year allied health student from Washington.
This concept of simultaneous repetitiveness is hindering entertainers from what’s important: originality. Once creativeness is lost it is hard to obtain again.