Ryan Chartrand

Hollywood, you’re worrying me.

Take a look at the films released in the last month: “Evan Almighty,” “The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Live Free or Die Hard” and “Hostel: Part II.”

See the common theme? Indeed, they are all sequels. In fact, if you go back until the beginning of the year, you will find 14 sequels and remakes in just six months, including such brilliant titles as “Surf’s Up,” “Hannibal Rising” and “Shrek the Third.” Yes, that was sarcasm.

It’s a trend that has gone on far too long and is eroding creativity in American films.

The problem isn’t only sequels and remakes, but adaptations as well. We are halfway through the year and there have already been 29 films released that are adaptations of novels, comic books and television shows.

Has Hollywood truly run out of ideas? Has it really come to the point where we absolutely must create film adaptations rather than have someone write an original screenplay? How often do adaptations of comic books or novels live up to their subject material, anyway?

I decided to pull out the calculator to find out. Using the RottenTomatoes system, which calculates an average rating for a film based on several respected critics’ opinions, I found the sad truth: At the midpoint of 2007, the average grade for a sequel or remake was 42 percent, and the average grade for an adaptation was 53 percent. Both averages are considered “rotten” on the RottenTomatoes system.

Why are we putting up with this? Why is Hollywood getting away with selling us mindless, unoriginal crap every week?

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the “The Lord of the Rings” series (an adaptation with sequels), enjoyed a few of the “Harry Potter” films (another adaptation with sequels) and even own “Ocean’s 11” (a remake with sequels).

But doesn’t it seem a bit odd to you that all that’s been released in the past decade and all that’s soon to come are sequels, remakes, adaptations or – better yet – a mix of all three?

Sadly, it’s always been this way. Many of the earliest films ever released were adaptations of books and plays. It wasn’t until the invention of the television that many filmmakers decided it was time to start writing more original screenplays to stay in business. The adaptations never disappeared, however, and picked up their friends “sequel” and “remake” along the way.

Fast-forward a century, and instead of competing with television, Hollywood is making films based on television shows (e.g. “TMNT” and “Miami Vice”). Now they’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas.

Even more unfortunate, however, is the fact that we’re spreading the trend. India, which is the most prolific film industry in the world, has now started a sequel and remake fever.

What was once an alien word to Indian filmmakers in “Bollywood” (or their version of Hollywood), sequels are, as of this year, becoming a growing trend that is likely to have negative results. The word was never uttered before because they knew that sequels and remakes simply don’t work with intelligent people.

American moviegoers shouldn’t be satisfied with what they are getting right now. Adaptations almost always turn out terribly because screenwriters end up distorting the original stories so badly that they either become flashy spectacles with Jessica Alba-quality acting or silly, overdramatic and sloppy bores that not even Spike T.V. would consider airing.

As for sequels, the films that do deserve them usually sell out to special effects with the excess money from the prior film rather than writing a strong storyline that the fans of the original would appreciate. Then there are the films that don’t deserve sequels in the first place, yet Hollywood chooses to torture us with them anyway.

Hollywood is on track to beat last year’s total of 26 sequels/remakes and has already exceeded last year’s total of 25 adaptations.

Do you think they have any intention of slowing down?

Take a look at these upcoming titles: “Transformers,” “The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” “Indiana Jones 4,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” “Halo,” “The Simpsons Movie,” “Jurassic Park 4,” “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” and “Rush Hour 3.”

While the thought of all of these films excites you at first, it’s that moment after when you realize that not one of those will live up to their source material that you need to focus on more. When deep down you know you’re most likely going to waste your money seeing them, why not send Hollywood a message instead?

If today you decided you were only going to see original films from now on, perhaps a new era in Hollywood would begin and creativity wouldn’t become extinct. Although they have devised an impressive trap with their upcoming blockbuster lineup, unless you really want to see “Rush Hour 26,” perhaps you’ll send them the message this year before it’s too late.

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