The illusion of free will

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A few months ago, we were watching TV when a trailer for Harrison Ford’s new movie, ‘Ender’s Game’ came on. Mark said, ‘Hmm, that’s a weird one for Harrison Ford isn’t it? Has he done anything sci-fi before?’.  I looked at him in stunned silence, mouth agape for a few moments before spitting out, ‘Star Wars! BLADE RUNNER?! Arguably some of the most defining films of that genre!’  There was a pause while the horror of what he’d just said dawned on him and then, ‘Can we just pretend I never said anything that stupid and never speak of it again?’ Well, yes but now it’s immortalised in a blog.

It actually was a genuine brain-blip or whatever you want to call it, because Mark actually has excellent taste and knowledge when it comes to films (unlike his music!) and this is probably what led us to sorting our DVDs by genre… yes, we are that sad.  As we did this, I noticed we had a number of sequels (and prequels) to films that we didn’t actually like. We had enjoyed the originals and had kept the follow on films just for the sake of having a full set.  It seemed ridiculous that we’d keep films we both hate and waste shelf space like that, so we got rid!  That awful Silent Hill sequel went the distance, as did the equally appalling 30 Days of Night follow up.  Why don’t filmmakers know when to stop? I know you probably would want to cash-in on a success but surely protecting the brand integrity is just as, if not more, important.

Okay so Silent Hill and 30 days of night weren’t exactly huge but take Alien. I love Alien… I love Aliens… Alien 3 I can just about get away with, but clearly the standard is sliding by this stage. I can see it, surely they can too?  But no… Alien Resurrection is released and because I have the Quadrilogy box set, I can’t actually get rid of it. So it sits there, mocking me.  It’s the same with remakes, lately for some reason this has become a big trend. We went to see ‘Total Recall’, it was okay but didn’t really stand up to the original and although there was some nice homages, it was a completely different film. So why remake it? Why not just create that film, use the same actors and call it something else? Because it wants to ride on the back of the success of the original.

We’ve just been to see Robocop this week (where the title of the blog comes from) and again, it was very good but it didn’t set my world on fire. Not like when I saw it as a kid and thought it was amazing. The technology has moved on, ideas and perceptions of the future have changed and something about that leaves these remakes falling short, for me anyway.  Can’t we move on too and leave classic movies alone?  George Lucas, this means you.

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