I’m currently on the AMTRAK, en route to the Big Apple, and just overheard the following conversation:
Person 1: Wanna go to the movies later?
Person 2: What do you wanna see?
Person 1: Remember the movie about the Greek gods and stuff? The guy from Avatar is in it. The sequel just came out. I really want to see it — it looks so good.
Despite my skepticism of Person 1′s ability to someday produce intelligent, contributing offspring, his enthusiasm for the film in question (“Wrath of the Titans”) gave me pause. Because, honestly? I haven’t seen a single commercial for it. I had to go to IMDB to make sure it was, like, an actual thing, and then I was like, “Rosamund Pike, why are you in this movie? You are better than this.”
I somehow was roped into seeing the first one when it came out in 2010. Ironically, 2010 is the number of times I said “this movie’s fucking awful.” I sat in the cinema and pictured my Greek ancestors rolling (in the river Styx), horrified at the treatment of their beloved myths and history. I also sat there, shocked, that Sam Worthington was actually considered a bankable star. And that Pete Postlewaithe was in the film.
The first film was panned by critics, despite making a ton of fucking money. I don’t remember much about it except loud noises and the sound of my own weeping, but I do remember walking out of the theater, longing for the two hours of my life that I lost (two hours I could’ve spent watching porn or penning the next great American novel or staring at the floor), thinking, “Well, at least it won’t get a sequel.”
Somewhere along the line after the Y2K letdown (I was ready for that shit), Hollywood dropped the ball. They traded story for special effects, and then they traded heart for 3D. I re-watched 1997′s Contact the other night and marveled at how genuine and realistic the special effects were, how they complemented the plot and made Ellie’s experience all the more beautiful and hard-won. Then I watched Alice in Wonderland with my sister. I’m not sure how Hollywood went from Contact to Alice, but it’s not a painting a pretty future for storytellers and filmmakers.
I’ve underestimated just how desperate Hollywood is for money, while they claim to have the collective audience’s interests at heart. I’ve trolled plenty of Yahoo! entertainment comment sections to know that originality is what the people want, not more shitty prequels, sequels, threequels, squeakquels, or whatever the fuck they’re punning these days. Remember when Inception and District 9 came out and everyone and their brother was shitting their pants over them? Know why? Because it was fresh. It was something that required people to think. The explosions made sense. The exposition was done well. People were even talking about them days after they saw them. It was a beautiful thing. I saw Inception 8 times at the theater. 8. I spent over $100 on that movie. I think I may have, like, stock in The Dark Knight Rises because of it.
This somehow went from me ragging on this piece of shit movie to a piece on the systematic breakdown of Hollywood’s cred.
Except those films were considered aberrations, happy accidents, and another Alvin & The Chipmunks movie was ordered.
This somehow went from me ragging on the Titans thing to a deeper look at just how close to flat-lining Hollywood is. I apologize for the sudden switch. Now I fucking have to go change the title of the post.
But, the point remains. There is another entry to the pantheon of shitty movies and their shitty sequels, a lot of money was spent in making it, and no one will remember it come Monday.