Laziness in Stories

We live in the age of information where AI is advancing at a rapid rate. We as a society are looking for the path of least resistance on critical issues. This makes creativity a premium skill, however many people in the entertainment industry opt for the path of least resistance to the biggest paycheck they can get. Reviving old franchises by extending the universe and doing remakes of loved media hurts the impact of the original pieces as well as limiting the creativity of writers who may have a new story to tell. 

There are many people who want to see more of their favorite characters or people who want a deeper dive into their favorite stories. While these are valid wishes, let’s look at Star Wars, one of the most popular movie franchises of all time. Lucasfilms produced two trilogies that stood alone as a complete story. Disney then purchased Lucasfilms to make their own Star Wars content. In doing so, they retconned the ending of the original saga by bringing back previously deceased characters and lowered the importance of the originals. These movies along with a handful of low-quality Disney+ shows have alienated some true fans and turned off casual viewers. 

We are better off giving the writers we enjoy new inspiration or allowing them to create their own original stories. Rian Johnson, a well-known writer/director/producer, was hired by Disney to write and direct one of the movies in the most recent Star Wars trilogy. In doing so, he was promised that he would get the opportunity to create his own trilogy. After some push back on the quality of Johnson’s Star Wars film, Disney decided to go in another direction. This allowed Johnson to sign with Netflix and make the type of movies that he wanted. The first film he released after moving on was “Knives Out.” Not only is this a personal favorite of mine, but it is highly regarded among critics and viewers. This shows we need to encourage writers to pursue their own stories but also shows we need the funding for media that is not already popular. 

Speaking of Netflix, they have been leading the trend of recreating media in either a new form or with new ideas. They have been adapting popular animated shows into live action. One example is they adapted the 2007 anime “Death Note” into a movie. The movie earned a 4.6/10 on IMDb where the show earned an 8.9/10. While fans of the series know that the movie is a poor representation of what the series is, someone new to the series may watch the movie first and get turned off from it completely. This is not a situation unique to Netflix, Disney has also been remaking some of their classic movies into live action films as well. The issue with a lot of these recreations is that they are based on the interpretation of the original piece which allows for themes, motifs or messages of all kinds to be misinterpreted or just missed in general. We need to allow beloved pieces of art to stand on their own and appreciate what they are—without feeling the need to recreate or redistribute it. Ten years from now, I hope we have new creative worlds and stories to talk about. If you are able, go out and support story-tellers with original ideas by buying books and going to the movies. 

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