Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery, so movie makers today must be in flattery mode since they keep remaking films that were made when I was younger. I can see it now. Some studio exec is sitting in his office and wondering how to capture the youth market with a movie. Then, the light bulb comes on in his head and he says, “lets remake movies from my younger years, put some flashy special effects in it and call it a brand new film sensation.”
I could handle it when they made three more Star Wars movies. This helped tell the story prior to the three movies that were wildly popular back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I didn’t really care for how the prequel trilogy was written and certain storylines resolved, but I can appreciate the fact that Lucas wanted to further flesh out his vision… and pull in a few more billion dollars for his golden years.
Most of the times, I can endure a decent remake (or, in the case of the Batman franchise, the occasional re-boot) but, increasingly it seems modern studios have gone too far. They want young moviegoers, and everyone else for that matter, to actually believe Godzilla is a new movie. Godzilla was spitting fire, stepping on cars and Japanese soldiers and eating houses before I was born. He is not a new movie icon as the current film tries to portray.
In fact, Godzilla has played in films with some important characters in all of our lives. Who could forget “Godzilla versus Santa Claus” or, reportedly the shortest movie ever made, “Godzilla versus Bambi.” In that historic seven-minute movie, the opening scene shows Bambi walking in a forest next to a flowered meadow, enjoying a beautiful day with no cares in the world. Then, in a flash, Bambi comes face-to-face with Godzilla, roaring and spitting fire. Bambi then innocently nuzzles Godzilla’s foot to calm the savage beast. The next scene shows Godzilla looking into the camera, making a horrible face and roaring loudly. Then, you see Bambi look up and get stomped and squished by Godzilla’s large foot. End credits. While hardly a classic, it made filler for midnight movies and let us have some humor between films.
So, when I see countless (and I mean countless) commercials, ads, trailers and other materials promoting Godzilla as the newest movie icon for young America, I have to draw a line in the sand. Not only is Godzilla older than me, but he is not even American. He is a Japanese creation.
Now, I enjoy going to the movies, and there have been some good ones made over the past few years. But, more and more, I see film makers reaching into the archives, pulling out something they can spice up with computer generation or special effects and passing it off to the movie going public as new. My argument is, what has happened to the movie makers of today? In the past, the movie makers were the prime story tellers of the day, taking a great script and making something so wonderful that we watched it at the theater, purchased it on VHS, DVD or whatever and have watched the film so often we can quote line after line without hesitation.
Those films are getting fewer and fewer.