Friday, October 28, 2005

An Idea by Any Other Name

Sylvester Stallone is bringing Rambo back to the big screen. This comes hot on the heels of the deal he made to write and direct "Rocky VI." Raise your hands if you paid money to sit in a movie theater for "Rambo III." Okay, now how about a show of hands for "Rocky V?"
That's pretty much what I thought. Here's the problem: There are no more ideas. All the stories have been written. All the films have been made. There is not one single original thought left on the planet. The Law of Conservation of Energy basically states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can change its form. The Law of Conservation of Mass basically states that mass cannot be created or destroyed, but can change its form. The Law of Conservation of Ideas states that ideas cannot be created or destroyed, but can change form. That's what remakes are. That's what sequels are: Conservation of Ideas.
I was never more impressed by this than when it was suggested to me that my son's "Star Wars" experience is comprised of Episodes I, II and III. He has a great appreciation for the "later episodes" - but those are DVDs. His big screen trilogy is the story of Darth Vader, not Luke Skywalker.
I don't blame VH-1 for all those "I Love the (Whatever Decade)" shows. They are merely operating within the principal of Conservation of Ideas. Remember Pet Rocks? Remember Whizzers? Remember The Jackson Five cartoon? All of these ideas exist in a firmament that is kept alive by the memories and limited imaginations of the entertainment industry. How else could one explain the need for a live-action version of the Fat Albert cartoons? Hey-buh guys-buh, that's-buh pretty-buh lame-buh.
Still there is great comfort to be found in the familiar. Remember what they did when Bob Dylan first plugged in his guitar (you can relive it all on DVD)? We want to be entertained, but we don't much care for being challenged. Ethiopian food is great, but a cheeseburger is a sure thing.
Getting back to Sly, I've got this suggestion: computer graphics allow us to seamlessly integrate characters from one era with another. There is no reason why Rocky Balboa couldn't meet up with his monosyllabic doppleganger, John Rambo, to rid the world of the terrorist threat of radical Islamic boxing promoters - the ultimate buddy/action/feel good film of the year. As Sly himself might say, "Ahbsolootlee."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How did you know that we had Ethiopian food for dinner tonight?