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242 comments

I prefer origins to be mysterious (4, Insightful)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | about 3 years ago | (#35868334)

I like to fill in the blanks with my imagination. I hate overzealous exposition. I am not saying that I dislike story development or lore, but I do not need or want everything spoonfed to me.

Playing it safe (2)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about 3 years ago | (#35868438)

Isn't that basically what it boils down to? A franchise has an established fan base, a successful film means that the formula works, the director / cast combination works etc. etc. Couple that with a PG13 rating and you've got a money maker. Sadly we're in the minority regarding spoon feeding, people like that - they like (at its most basic) being told what to do, to have a leader figure no matter how abstract that figure is. I find that there are few franchises that really require sequels, and even fewer require prequels - I'm quietly glad for example that District 9 and Cloverfield haven't been turned into giant cash cows. Cloverfield would be especially suited to an alternate telling of the story from a different character's perspective. Having said that Paranormal Activity 2 seemed to work really well, despite it being an obvious cash grab. I expect the third and fourth installments to be terrible though.

Re:Playing it safe (1)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#35868660)

I find that there are few franchises that really require sequels, and even fewer require prequels

Seems you're not alone. [youtube.com]

I'm quietly glad for example that District 9 and Cloverfield haven't been turned into giant cash cows.

Except Cloverfield is a classic example of shitty storytelling. And last I heard, there was a strong desire to do a sequel to District 9. The ending was specifically left open ended so as to allow for it; assuming it made some money.

Re:Playing it safe (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about 3 years ago | (#35869118)

The story wasn't all that impressive, but it's the best 'shakey cam' movie I've seen. I think part of it is that I'm an FPS and survival horror fan, so when I see a film that really draws those two genres together... into a film, it has a certain resonance with me.

Re:Playing it safe (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35869206)

>The story wasn't all that impressive, but it's the best 'shakey cam' movie I've seen.

That's sort of like saying: "There was lots of pain and bleeding, but it's the best jailhouse anal rape I've received."

Re:Playing it safe (2)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#35869322)

I'm confused. Did you enjoy the story or the act of telling the story? It sounds like the later. My beef is with the former. I have absolutely no problem with stylized storytelling - but you must have a story regardless. The story there - sucked; and failed to deliver. Sadly, that's JJ's calling card - lots of hype, generally excellent concept, and failure to deliver.

Re:Playing it safe (1, Insightful)

medcalf (68293) | about 3 years ago | (#35868760)

I would amend that slightly. People like being told what to do, but they like thinking that they are unique, creative individuals, responsible for themselves, and not needing or wanting to be told what to do. In other words, yes, most people want to be sheep, but they also want to see themselves as sheepdogs.

Re:Playing it safe (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | about 3 years ago | (#35869054)

The way I see it there's two possible reasons for this:

1) We're wired up to be like that, to obey the leader, or perhaps a little less insidiously - to respect those we admire. But in todays society we all like to think we're pretty little flowers. So the trick is to pamper to the high order brain functions, while secretly targeting our inert need to follow.

2) We're all just lazy slobs.

Not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868788)

I think you're a bit over-eager to act like you're above the ignorant masses...people dont *want* to be spoonfed, but that is certainly what they are getting, and theres not much of an alternative. Indie and foreign films aren't any better, because the overwhelming majority of those suffer from exactly the same problems.

Its just a symptom of the studios wanting to make as much money as possible, making movies that are least likely to alienate any section of the intended market, which means dumbed down and unimaginative films. Thats a far cry from the "all the sheeple just want to be spoonfed, *I* on the other hand..." drivel you posted...

Re:Playing it safe (4, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 years ago | (#35869196)

Remember, a movie's sole purpose is to put asses in seats. Sure there's some kinds of asses they'd prefer over others, but in general, a movie that makes people feel smart (spoon feeding them until they can draw their own conclusion) will appeal to the masses, as are the ones that provide relief from the world for a couple of hours, hence the summer blockbuster.

The origin story attempts to put nostalgic asses in seats, by appealing to people's childhood days when they read the comics or other such things. And for recent franchises (e.g., video games), it's meant to appeal to those who want a deeper backstory.

It's all about putting asses in seats. And those asses are getting extremely tight these days, so filmmakers are trying to appeal to different groups of asses to get them to spend money. Broadening the market, really.

How about multiple choice (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 3 years ago | (#35868548)

Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another... if I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice! Ha ha ha!

The Killing Joker

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (2)

mikael_j (106439) | about 3 years ago | (#35868576)

I don't mind lots and lots of details, if the details make sense in the context of the movie's universe. What bugs me is when the details don't make sense and "explanations" just end up ruining the suspension of disbelief.

Then there's the outright spoonfeeding of things that are going on in the movie. I've heard more than a few people here in Sweden wonder if the average Hollywood movie could be an indication of there being some truth behind the "dumb american" stereotype...

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (1)

earls (1367951) | about 3 years ago | (#35868714)

Which is why I consider "lots and lots of details" exclusive to "makes sense".

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (4, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | about 3 years ago | (#35868738)

could be an indication of there being some truth behind the "dumb american" stereotype...

Its one of those stereotypes which also happens to be true. Contrary to political correctness stupidity, just because its a stereotype doesn't mean its not true. The average American is pretty dumb. At one point in time, there was even an official, unofficial list of words which were to be used for TV and movies; otherwise Americans wouldn't understand it. Even worse, Americans would get angry as they felt like the writers were making them feel stupid.

To be clear, that's the average American, not all Americans. Sadly, the average American is dumber than a bag of hammers; and even worse, proud of it!

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868824)

To be clear, that's the average American, not all Americans. Sadly, the average American is dumber than a bag of hammers; and even worse, proud of it!

If average people weren't so stupid, the rest of us wouldn't seem so smart.

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35869132)

I've been told that the average American has an IQ below 100! O:-)

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 3 years ago | (#35868910)

I'd argue that it's people in the movie industry who are stupid. Because they don't get it they expect that the movie-going public doesn't get it either. And to that end movies depict what people in Hollywood think Americans are like, not what they're actually like. But I have noticed that people in other countries seem to buy into the stereotypes depicted in movies.

That's not to say there aren't a lot of stupid people out there.

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about 3 years ago | (#35869188)

I've heard more than a few people here in Sweden wonder if the average Hollywood movie could be an indication of there being some truth behind the "dumb american" stereotype...

It isn't just the yanks (though their population size means that the lower intelligence percentiles cover a large number of people over there). Most movies, especially the average summer blockbuster, aim for the largest market possible and that means not confusing the idiots too much or they might not come back for your next movie.

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35868644)

I liked the way the Watchmen did it. It started out with the characters in place and we only learned of their origins (not even all of them) through their own flashbacks with their own voice-overs. We never learn how much of what we're seeing is real and how much is their own self-serving version of their origins. It was not only simple and effective, it also gave a lot of insight into how these superheroes saw themselves.

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about 3 years ago | (#35869258)

You can thank the source material for a lot of that though - they intentionally kept very close to that in both tone and detail.

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (1)

jitterman (987991) | about 3 years ago | (#35868804)

Ah, Mr. Lucas could have learned something valuable from you. What you've mentioned are some of the contributing factors that made his prequel films so horrid.

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (1)

tixxit (1107127) | about 3 years ago | (#35868828)

The problem is that the origin story usually has fairly little to do with the main plot (at least after the first movie or whatever). The show "Heroes" actually suffered from this. The producers thought that people liked origin stories, so in Season 3 (I think) they introduced a LOT of new characters with new origins. The story suffered greatly (lots of little threads, but with very little happening each episode). The season tanked as people didn't want to watch Season 1 again. The producers back tracked for the next 2 seasons, they scaled down to a much smaller base cast (about the size of season 1's), and stopped introducing new people with origin stories. Season 4 and 5 were much better as a result.

Re:I prefer origins to be mysterious (1)

houghi (78078) | about 3 years ago | (#35869386)

That is why I disliked LotR. I had read the book already so I knew that they would trow the ring in mount Doom in the end.

Oh, sorry: Spoiler alert above.

(And yes, this was sarcasm)

Oh look, some blog is doing this story again. (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | about 3 years ago | (#35868350)

We've answered this dozens of times already. There's no money in creating new stories when people will pay to see what they already know, no matter how bad/bland it is.

Re:Oh look, some blog is doing this story again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868464)

Especially since a whole new set of customers, who haven't seen the previous origin movie, comes of age few years.

Re:Oh look, some blog is doing this story again. (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 3 years ago | (#35868526)

So then, are we suffering from origin story fatigue fatigue?

Re:Oh look, some blog is doing this story again. (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#35868572)

Who says the remakes have to be bad/bland? The new Batman movies were IMO much better than the 90s movies. I also think that The Green Hornet might be my favourite movie so far this year.

I've just looked up more info on the Spiderman reboot I'd heard about, and I see it's going to be directed by the guy that did 500 Days of Summer. That film was rather unique IMO, I'm looking forward to see what the guy can do with Spiderman (who has always been my favourite superhero).

Re:Oh look, some blog is doing this story again. (1)

TheSeventh (824276) | about 3 years ago | (#35868716)

No, there is money in creating new stories, and it happens all the time. But there are hundreds if not thousands of new stories every year, and the movie studios buy hundreds of these scripts every year, and most of the time it's a guessing game as to which script will be a money maker, and which will bomb terribly.

They take chances on a small number of new stories, and some of them might make money.

Even the franchise movies sometimes fail, but the chances are higher that they won't. It's a simple money equation.

Nothing surprising here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868352)

Movies need to make money. The people who do that for movies don't really know enough about fictional characters to go see or appreciate a more in-depth story.

Even if "we" stopped going to movies, they would still be made.

Re:Nothing surprising here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868806)

The businesses that make movies hate risk. They like guarantees & sure things. They like to know their income isn't going to drop in the next few years (payments on that 3rd yacht etc). They'd rather spend 50 million on a remake/reimaging of film that made a few hundred million profit last time and is very likely to make 50 million profit this time than spend 10 million on a film that might only make 5 million profit. The 10m film might make 100 million or it might make 5m. The remake is a sure thing, especially if they make it prettier, louder, in 3D and use a few 'current' actors. It doesn't matter that people are getting sick of the same old crap and that more and more often the reviews end up being comparisons to the previous versions if it keeps the money rolling in. They are running out of ways of telling the same old stories so they have to explore origins, backstories and anything just to make the reimaging seem 'fresh'.

Slashdot Origin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868382)

Hey, can somebody post the story of Slashdot's origin, please?

Re:Slashdot Origin (3, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#35868476)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slashdot#History [wikipedia.org]

Fun fact that doesn't seem to be mentioned here: Originally Slashdot was running from a box in Rob Malda's closet. The original hardware Slashdot was hosted on was auctioned (or raffled? Don't remember) off a few years ago. I'll have to see if I can dig up the source and add it to Wikipedia (and hope the deletionists don't see it)

Re:Slashdot Origin (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#35868488)

Hey, can somebody post the story of Slashdot's origin, please?

Once upon a time, there was a lonely slash. And far, far away there was a lonely dot. They both were lonely wandering around the internet, seeking for someone with whom they would be for the rest of their life. One day they met, and immediately knew that they were made for each other. So they went together and formed Slashdot.

Re:Slashdot Origin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868558)

Somebody thought it was funny to create a url that's pronounced http:///..org/ [..org], decided to add tech-type stories to the site, and voila.

Re:Slashdot Origin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868624)

And three centuries* later, all that's left on Slashdot is two-days old dupes, ACs and trolls.

* IT time.

I might suffer origin story fatigue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868390)

But I can't get past my superhero fatigue to get to the origin story fatigue.

Re:I might suffer origin story fatigue (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 3 years ago | (#35868436)

I know how you feel, I've been suffering from mafiAA fatigue for years now so no worries about varieties of fatigue which arise from throwing money at that particular enemy of culture.

Jimmy Olsen (1)

boristdog (133725) | about 3 years ago | (#35868398)

From third-grade science-fair pinhole camera to photojournalist and Superman's friend. The story you never knew.

Re:Jimmy Olsen (1)

JamesP (688957) | about 3 years ago | (#35868586)

I always wanted to know the past history of Jar-Jar-Binks

NOT

Re:Jimmy Olsen (1)

ifrag (984323) | about 3 years ago | (#35868746)

Unless his origin story is that a time travelling assassin kills him before he can appear in any of the films. I suppose a separate film is not needed, episode 1-3 could simply be edited. That's edit / re-release model is more familiar ground for him.

Easy cash, what else? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868400)

Its much easier to reinvent the wheel. Just like its a whole lot easier to resell the same stuff over and over these days since many people easily forget.

Simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868418)

They found a formula with predictable success ( because we line up like the little piggies we are, eager to hand over our 20-30 bucks for the slop they throw our way ).

When they've run this formula in to the ground ( to the point where not even teenagers are willing to tolerate the crap ), they'll move on to the next.

Film makers aren't about telling stories. They're about making money.

Origin? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868428)

Hallowed are the Ori

Spiderman (5, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 3 years ago | (#35868430)

All I know is if I have to sit through Peter Parker getting bit by a radioactive spider one more time, well, I'm just not going to do it. My understanding is that the next Spiderman movie is a reboot; here's hoping they "cut to the chase".

Re:Spiderman (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35868560)

Yeah, but this time he'll be all emo and brooding after he gets bit. The demographics for the teenage girl market necessitated it. Product placement also requires that the spider infect him with a strong thirst for refreshing Coca-Cola.

Re:Spiderman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868808)

This really should be modded funny or if we had the option snarky, but I think sadly Insightful would be the better option

Re:Spiderman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868834)

Yeah, but this time he'll be all emo and brooding after he gets bit.

So... just like last time?

Re:Spiderman (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 3 years ago | (#35868584)

It's a genetically engineered spider now, because genetic engineering is the new Hardly Understood Mystery Force that Might Give You Super-Powers. Radiation went out of style in the early 90s.

Re:Spiderman (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35868610)

For well established franchises, I really don't get the point of doing the origins again. However for ones that are less known in the mainstream like Hellboy was, I think it makes sense. But it also depends how much there is to it, Spiderman doesn't deserve any origins more than a very quick bit, radioactive, spider, because quite frankly his origin sucked.

Re:Spiderman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868862)

Maybe they'll finally shake it up and go with the idea of Spiderman being a nice Jewish boy and stop with this radioactive spider malarky. (Not sure who originally suggested it, although I found a clip of Jon Stewart mentioning it in 2002.)

Gloss over them, if you can (1)

Quantus347 (1220456) | about 3 years ago | (#35868442)

If everyone knows the origin story, I tend to have more respect for the films that just gloss over the origin and move on the the main plot. Both The Incredible Hulk and Superman Returns did this fairly well; they just accepted that these characters were known and understood by audiences as part of western culture. Now, if your whole goal is to reset and alter/update the origin, such as was done with the Batman reboot or the Spiderman franchise, then sure, go do your storytelling best. But otherwise it just wastes screen time, and ends up dragging down the whole film as we are subjected to what amounts to a regurgitated history lesson.

Re:Gloss over them, if you can (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868516)

Also, some times you don't want to know the origin. The Dark Knight didn't go into the Joker's origin and was a better movie for it.

Re:Gloss over them, if you can (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35868656)

The Joker doesn't really have an origin. At least not one that's been agreed upon, it's changed several times and due to the nature of the character adding a new one every few years is reasonable. The Dark Knight did spend a bit on his origins, IIRC, at least one of the choices was in the film. But in general doing origins for a character that hasn't really got reliable origins in the series is a waste of time for something that's either not important to most viewers or going to piss off the comic fans who have a favorite one.

Re:Gloss over them, if you can (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about 3 years ago | (#35868568)

If everyone knows the origin story, I tend to have more respect for the films that just gloss over the origin and move on the the main plot. Both The Incredible Hulk and Superman Returns did this fairly well; they just accepted that these characters were known and understood by audiences as part of western culture.

I disagree. The origin is where the motivation behind the character lies. In fact, Superman Returns being the worst superhero movie since Ang Lee's Hulk proves that point. The only reason it wasn't worse is that it was kind of a sequel to Superman II, so you could take that same world story as the background. I'll agree with you that the latest Hulk was actually pretty good, but I did feel like we lost out on character development.

Now, if your whole goal is to reset and alter/update the origin, such as was done with the Batman reboot or the Spiderman franchise, then sure, go do your storytelling best.

Well, if you're not doing that, why bother telling a story at all? In that case, I'd just as soon they don't do the movie.

Each time somebody tries a new take on a superhero, the worst mistake they can make is skipping the origin story. Unless it's a direct sequel to a previous movie, the script writers and directors undoubtedly have new directions to take a character in and it's impossible to do so without establishing the setting. The Dark Knight is a much better movie than Batman Begins, but it could not exist without Batman Begins. That movie set up what Christopher Nolan's version of Batman was, as opposed to Tim Burton's.

Re:Gloss over them, if you can (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 3 years ago | (#35868694)

Disagreed. Why doesn't every movie begin with the birth of the protagonist? Because it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Motivations can be gleaned before or during or way after the event that transforms Peter Parker into Spiderman.

Everyone knows the basics of the Spiderman, Superman and Batman characters. A basic understanding of that is all that's really needed.

The reason Superman Returns blew chunks was because the plot was awful, not because we didn't know the origin.

Did we know John McClane's origin? No, we figured out his motivations as he crawled and bled through the Nakatomi tower.

Re:Gloss over them, if you can (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about 3 years ago | (#35869210)

Disagreed. Why doesn't every movie begin with the birth of the protagonist? Because it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Motivations can be gleaned before or during or way after the event that transforms Peter Parker into Spiderman.

Ah, but almost every movie does begin with the "birth" of the protagonist. Not the physical birth, but the first events that make him who he is. John McClane was a nobody until the events of the Nakatomi tower. That was the birth of the hero, not the day in the hospital when he was born. Similarly, I don't care about the day Peter Parker was literally born, but Spiderman was born when the radioactive spider bit him. You can't skip that. It's like skipping to Die Hard II. You see the reporters trying to interview McClane about his actions in the Nakatomi tower, and if you hadn't seen the first movie, you'd be asking yourself, "that story sounds cool, why didn't they show THAT? They keep telling me this McClane dude is a badass, but they didn't show it to me."

Superman Returns sucked because the story is Clark Kent. Who gives a shit that this dude is picking up planes and islands. The important part is that this guy has all this power, but doesn't completely end crime by killing everyone he doesn't like. He was raised like a human being by people that instilled him with certain moral values, he's alone, the only surviving member of his race, trying to fit in but not quite fitting in. That's the story. And before you point out Smallville, the problem there was exactly that instead of focusing on the character they focused on kryptonite-based villain of the week.

Re:Gloss over them, if you can (1)

residieu (577863) | about 3 years ago | (#35869230)

Yes, the origin of Superman is very important to the character and the movie. Superman Returns didn't need to cover it, though, because EVERYONE KNOWS IT.

Suffering? Is that the right word? (1, Offtopic)

eepok (545733) | about 3 years ago | (#35868446)

I know the guy that brings pedantic perspective to the conversation is rarely the one invited to drinks afterward, but I don't think anyone's "suffering" at the hands of repetitive character backgrounds.

Try "bored with" or "uninspired by"...

Suffering? Really?

Re:Suffering? Is that the right word? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868638)

I know the guy that brings pedantic perspective to the conversation is rarely the one invited to drinks afterward, but I don't think anyone's "suffering" at the hands of repetitive character backgrounds.

Try "bored with" or "uninspired by"...

Suffering? Really?

You can suffer from boredom. "Suffer" is a term with a wide range of definitions.

lol really? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#35868514)

Does this guy not understand how the movie business works? As soon as they find something that works, they keep doing it. They want to make money. As soon as one movie comes out that works, soon there will be a bunch of copycat movies. Like sports movies in the 90s. Or CGI movies in the previous decade.

But it's not like the movie industry is trying to push it on us, they are content agnostic (and money religious). The only reason they do it is because it makes money. When people stop going to see them, when the movies stop making money, then the studios stop making that kind of movie.

Re:lol really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868754)

People are cutting down on movies, but the movie companies can't see that, or choose not to because they're looking at last year's record profits. Why record profits when there are less people going? People are spending more, often twice the price, while they work through the current 3D fad and fake IMAX screenings.

Last weekend I was at my local fake IMAX (20 screen AMC), there were only two other people in that screen for the entire movie. Last year you'd be queuing up and having to get in early to ensure you got a reasonable seat.

Re:lol really? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 3 years ago | (#35868876)

Makes sense, if people go to more expensive movies, they go less frequently. It's not like people are suddenly getting more money to spend on movies these days.....

Re:lol really? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 3 years ago | (#35869354)

For God's sake, they did a REMAKE of TRUE GRIT! Apparently because John Wayne really sucked in his original (Oscar winning) performance! Yes, I'd have to say it's all about the benjamins, and not about art or originality.

Hollywood being unoriginal?!?!? (2)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35868524)

Surely you're not implying that almost all major motion pictures today are remakes, reboots, re-imaginings, sequels, and adaptations?!?!?

Origins are easy. (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | about 3 years ago | (#35868538)

Origins are easy because you can behave like your audience doesn't know who anyone is, and can thus focus more on introductions and sledgehammer subtle bits of character development rather than more subtle aspects. Even in cases where it would be difficult to find someone who is both able and willing to go to a movie, it's still easier to do an origin. And it's easier to be compelling with an origin because there's so much change happening that even a jaded viewer will at least try to follow along.

Any hack can write a decent origin story, but it does take some skill to thrust viewers into a universe populated by real people who the viewer has never met before, and to make those real people come alive and be compelling. They go from being ciphers to being people we know.

Look at something like LA Confidential - anyone who watches it can figure out who the main characters are, why they do what they do, and understand how they change through the course of the film. Yet we don't get full-on origin stories, the exposition about their backgrounds leading up to the things we see in the film is minimal or non-existent in some cases, but we know them.

Contrast that with an origin story - I'm going to take the most entertaining and ham-fisted one I can think of: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In the space of 30 minutes we learn how Indy became the man we've seen in the prior films - how he got his scar, his hat, his fear of snakes, his passion for archaeology and on and on. It's entertaining, but it's one of the laziest ways to force-feed a bunch of character development imaginable.

People who can pull off a compelling story and create compelling characters with a minimal amount of exposition are not the most common breed, thus we get origin stories.

No (1)

Necron69 (35644) | about 3 years ago | (#35868544)

Hollywood is suffering from story writing fatigue (or good story writing fatigue). How many decades more this will continue is anyone's guess.

As 'Avatar' proved all too well, no amount of glitzy special effects and 3-D can make up for bad writing.

Personally, I find the superhero stuff more interesting than most Hollywood dreck, but the quality of the screenwriting and casting all too often leaves much to be desired. "Van Wilder" as the Green Lantern? Seriously??

- Necron69

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868752)

No, Avatar proved that even with bad writing you can make billions

The most important thing always (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 3 years ago | (#35868546)

is to tell a good story. The concept, no matter how compelling, can't make a story. It's always just the launching pad - some have better foundations than others but the rocket can still fail spectacularly.

The problem with origin stories is that you run the risk is violating what some fans filled in by themselves - it runs counter to their sensibilities and cherished beliefs and what they see in the character. Consider midichlorians as destroying the mysteriousness of the force and making it something rather mundane.

The second problem is that the character may be cool and all that, but isn't the hook to a series. Essentially you're writing a story nobody demands or wants to see. Joey from Friends with his spin-off, for instance.

I think resetting a story constantly, when done maybe 30+years apart, like the new Star Wars, can keep a series fresh and with the times. But doing it with something like Spiderman (which I heard talk of) really just tosses away any attachment the existing audience had rather prematurely - it would be like rebooting HP right after movie 7 in the cynical hope to hook the next wave of children. And then sometimes its time to do some hard work and come up with entirely new characters and stories!

You really weren't created by a divine power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868552)

Evolution FTW.

Not the origin story you were looking for. Tell your religious leader he's wrong.

Re:You really weren't created by a divine power (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 3 years ago | (#35868654)

I wish I could, but have you ever tried to find the Invisible Pink Unicorn? She's INVISIBLE!

Re:You really weren't created by a divine power (1)

Duradin (1261418) | about 3 years ago | (#35869148)

Please remember to fire *up*. We don't need another Invisible Swordsman incident.

Yes and No (2)

wazzzup (172351) | about 3 years ago | (#35868562)

It depends, I think the Magneto/Charles Xavier origins story can be quite interesting - far more so than Wolverine. Wolverine, while likable, is just another mutant. The X-Men universe centers around Magneto and Xavier and their backstories. Plus, the X-Men comic books have such complex and convoluted continuity issues, frankly a reboot to the beginning is needed to introduce them to a new generation. FWIW, I've never found the slutty psychic thing Emma Frost has going nearly as compelling as Charles Xavier. Then again, I think comic books hurt their own credibility when they portray female characters as they do.

Despite, my enthusiasm for the Magneto/Xavier origins, I don't have much hope that the movie will be pulled off well though. I hope I'm surprised.

The Spiderman reboot is completely unnecessary - especially with an Avengers movie coming out soon. It's overexposure. There are plenty of interesting characters from the Marvel universe to draw from.

Re:Yes and No (1)

phrackwulf (589741) | about 3 years ago | (#35868616)

In a similar vein, the one bright spot in the total train wreck that was the Charlize Theron version of "Aeon Flux" was when she shoots a grappling hook at the giant air ship thingy and it bounces off. It is about time that happened to someone in one of these movies.

Re:Yes and No (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | about 3 years ago | (#35868830)

In a similar vein, the one bright spot in the total train wreck that was the Charlize Theron version of "Aeon Flux"
I assume you mean besides the obvious bright spot of Charlize Theron running around in a black catsuit.

Vote with dollars then (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 3 years ago | (#35868580)

The reason Hollywood produces stuff is because they think it will make money. Period. Any artistic value in film is purely coincidental. They've discovered that re-hashing the same old material is much cheaper and easier than doing something really new and innovative, and still sells well. Ergo they will do so whenever possible.

The origin and everything that follows (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 3 years ago | (#35868706)

Most comic movies are following a fairly safe pattern; even through all 3 movies in their trilogies (though some franchises aren't making it that far). I've gotten really bored with them.

The Watchmen was the most original I can think of. And, the Batman reboot origin was pretty cool as well.

Wider audiences ... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 years ago | (#35868710)

Part of the reason we need/end up with origin stories is the film creators are trying to cater to a wider market.

If people didn't know who the X-Men were or how they came to be, they might not be interested in the movie. Targeting geeks who are already 'in the know' and not telling everyone else what is happening doesn't fill cinemas.

I guess the same goes for a Spider Man origins story, though in this case it's more of a "reboot" of the series to start from scratch, sell more tickets, and try to pay big name stars even less money. Which, one might argue is a little cynical and money-grasping.

Besides, it's not like the series reboot and fresh origin story hasn't been a staple of comics for quite some time -- it seems to me we've been through a fair number of incarnations of Spider Man and Iron Man (and Super Man and Bat Man) throughout the years.

As long as it's a good (enough) story, and has the requisite effects, fight scenes, car wrecks, and chicks in spandex ... well, they'll probably do fine. Den of Geek comes from a certain perspective of people who would want some more "hard core comic geek" movies -- but studio execs want to maximize the number of ticket buyers.

My sister in law or wife won't want to see some super hero movie that just jumps into the middle without an origin story.

No we're suffering from retread-itis (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | about 3 years ago | (#35868718)

Nothing original, but it keeps paying off so studios bank on it. And why shouldn't they? As long as idiots line up to see it they have a business model.

Where things get dark is that once you've seen the Spiderman or Batman story three or four times, you just stop going (well, one would hope, we are talking comic book geeks after all, they just have to see if "this version" is "right version"... I digress) at some point (and this may already have happened) the people who make big budget films forget how to tell new stories and they will blame every single potential point of failure except themselves along the way.

Movies are "dying"? Clearly internet media pirates at work...

hey, look, a plastic castle! (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | about 3 years ago | (#35868736)

I blame our dwindling attention span...

It seems like folks can't remember something for more than a few minutes. How else do you explain politicians who say one thing today, deny it tomorrow, and get away with it despite piles of evidence that they actually did say it? How else do you explain CNN being able to repeat the same few stories every hour and still hold on to viewers? How else do you explain the insane popularity of things like twitter?

Hell, TV shows have started showing "last time on..." flashbacks just to make sure that people remember what happened in the last episode.

I think you'd have a hard time doing a 4+ movie series without going back somewhere along the line and re-introducing the characters. I think you'd have people forgetting what happened in the first movie, and folks coming in midway through who wouldn't bother to go watch the first movie.

Re:hey, look, a plastic castle! (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 3 years ago | (#35868780)

Hell, TV shows have started showing "last time on..." flashbacks just to make sure that people remember what happened in the last episode.

It's worse than you think. There are plenty of shows, reality and otherwise, that have a recap of what happened before the last commercial break. It drives me nuts. I can remember what was going on 5 minutes ago, thank you very much! It just makes it feel like they are trying to stretch 5 minutes worth of content into a 42 minute show!

I want them alive! (3, Insightful)

Yaddoshi (997885) | about 3 years ago | (#35868768)

Darth Vader was far more frightening until they showed us Anakin hitting on a girl twice his age and shouting, "Now this is Pod Racing" while attacking the Trade Federation control ship. Anakin became even more pathetic after we watched him turning into a creepy stalker teenager who used the Jedi mind trick to get Padme to like him. And the final insult - Anakin becomes a Dark Lord of the Sith so he won't get in trouble for cutting Mace Windu's hand off? Lame. Really, if Lucas had avoided giving us Vader backstory entirely, our own imaginations would have been more than sufficient at keeping Vader a truly frightening Dark Lord of the Sith, even after the helmet removal in Return of the Jedi.

Re:I want them alive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35869272)

Wait... you can use Jedi mind tricks to get girls? Where do I sign up?

(Waves hand) "This IS the penis you've been looking for!"

There are more examples (1)

RogerWilco (99615) | about 3 years ago | (#35868790)

There are many examples:
Enterprise, Green Lantern, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, every Hulk, all 10 seasons of SmallVille.

It seems that especially in the SF and Comicbook genre the studios feel the need to make these genesis movies.

If they do another FF movie, let it be them fighting the Hulk or something like that. Wolverine vs. Hulk would be nice too.

Superman should fight Brainiac or Doomsday or Darkseid. Preferably with Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League.

Or get me an "X-men: Phoenix Ressurection", something like that.

There are plenty good stories to tell.

Re:There are more examples (1)

Synn (6288) | about 3 years ago | (#35869316)

"all 10 seasons of SmallVille."

LOL. I watch the show and really forgot about that. 10 years and he still hasn't learned to fly yet.

Thankfully... (2)

CrackedButter (646746) | about 3 years ago | (#35868840)

James Bond never got an original story until 40 years after he was created, even then, it doesn't go into detail (2006 Casino Royale). Meaning we don't see him as a child, then at school, then in the Navy, then signing up for the MI6. We cut to the chase with his required double kill in the title sequence.

That should be good enough, and it is, its great in fact, especially when there are 25 EON Bond films. Spiderman gets 3, then they want to redo the origin story again, less than 10 years to the previous trilogy? What short attention spans we have.

Again, look at the Bond Franchise against the argument for a different actor requiring an origin story. We knew who Bond was, when Roger Moore, Dalton etc took over, just give us a new plot. The same can be done with Spiderman by carrying on from the third movie.

Bill And Ted 3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868846)

Are you implying Hollywood can't think of original content?
What would ever make you think of that?

Arthur [imdb.com]
Bill And Ted 3 [huffingtonpost.com]
Annie [comingsoon.net] (3rd remake!)
Footloose [movieinsider.com] (Did we really need this movie again?)
True Grit [imdb.com]
The Three Musketeers [three-musketeers-3d.com] THIS TIME IN 3D!
and much more!

Easy reason.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35868886)

It's profitable. You reboot with an alternate timeline /story line, and you can do new stories and the attached fan base will make you /your studio rich. Plus it is SO much riskier to come up with UNKNOWN and therefore POSSIBLY FINANCIALLY RUINOUS story lines. Sort of sounds like "recycled old is now thenew fashons" to me....

Of course, I don't remember Jack Sparrow in the Disneyland version of Pirates of the Caribbean, so it could be that the 'zutes do not have a clue about how to do story development over the career of a character nearly as well EITHER.

fanfic (1)

fermion (181285) | about 3 years ago | (#35868998)

Pretty much everything has gone to glorified fan fiction. Nothing wrong with that. It employs people, it makes money,

But that is not originality that makes long lasting art. That is the adaptation of originality to create something that is currently accesible to the masses. That is rewriting KJV into contemporary language and believing on has done something great. For a while yes, but we will alway back to the KJV.

It kind of reminds me of good tv and bad tv. Bad tv is where we have the same characters, all the time, with no growth. Good TV, like the stuff that Whedon does, has a base set of characters, but also a good background of characters that come and go. This is why MI-5 is good. The regulars tend to be in the background positions, while the primary characters are always recreated and there is no fear of having one go.

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