Sitting in the theater, popcorn in hand, you watch the previews roll on and get a funny feeling: Haven’t they already made this movie?
Hollywood writers and producers are constantly working their creative juices to come up with fresh ideas, however, remakes, sequels, prequels, and the like have been a trend in the industry for decades. 2011 is no exception. There are more than a few films premiering this year that will have you doing a double take.
In 1984, a blue-eyed cutie named Kevin Bacon had us kicking off our Sunday shoes in a film directed by the late Herbert Ross called Footloose. 26 years later, Craig Brewer (director of 2006’s Black Snake Moan), is attempting a remake. In this year’s version, Kenny Wormald, a relatively unknown dancer from Boston, will revive Bacon’s role, Ren MacCormak, a big city kid who shakes things up in a small town. Perhaps this film will have a whole new generation playing Six Degrees of Kenny Wormald? Fun Fact: What was our new young star doing when Bacon was busy cutting footloose back in 1984? Wormald was pretty busy that year too… busy being born that is. What a way to make Mr. Bacon feel his age! No worries though, Bacon is still looking good doing what he does best and even has a film coming out this year that makes our list.
X-Men: First Class, in which Bacon plays mutant Sebastian Shaw, will debut in October. This film is interesting because rather than continuing the story of X-Men the movie is a prequel. The film goes back to the time when Charles Xavier first opened his school for mutants. In the last four films, Professor Xavier has been played by Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame, but James McAvoy will play the young professor in the prequel. Expectations for McAvoy are high as Stewart definitely leaves a hard act to follow, or in this case, precede.
They say truth is stranger than fiction…so maybe Natalie Portman’s suspicions of Mila Kunis wanting to snag the solo in Black Swan aren’t so crazy after all. Kunis may be trying to steal her co-star’s thunder with a No Strings Attached copycat out this summer called Friends with Benefits. Will Gluck, director of Easy A (2010), has made a film quite similar to the one we all saw premiere with Portman and Ashton Kutcher in February. Kunis plays opposite Justin Timberlake, and the story follows: boy and girl try to sleep together with no strings attached, boy falls for girl, girl just wants to be friends. Who knows how the two films will stack up but the way this season is playing out, Natalie, I’d want to stab her with a shard of mirror too!
There is something that never fails to elicit an annoyed sigh from me during preview time: a sequel. Great films followed by below-par sequels have been a problem in the entertainment world when producers trade ingenuity and quality for an easy way to make cash at the box-office. However, there is one sequel premiering in May that I am actually excited for: Hangover 2. It wasn’t long after the first Hangover premiered in 2009 that film hit the $235 million mark, breaking box-office records to become the highest grossing rated R comedy of all time (beating out previous record holder Beverly Hills Cop). Since the first movie premiered, the film’s four leading men (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha) have had 12 starring film roles between them. Now, Hollywood’s hardest working foursome is back together and I anticipate more from than sequel than an excuse to make money; hopes for this Hangover are high. As far as the other sequels out this year, keep an eye out for Cars 2, Happy Feet 2, Kung Fu Panda 2, and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and see how they compare to their originals.
This December, Garry Marshall will release the next version of his 2010 film, Valentine’s Day, under the equally creative title, New Year’s Eve. Valentine’s Day stars Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Biel will be in the new film, but as different roles. Just as V-Day’s did, the cast list for New Year’s Eve looks more like a Xerox of the A-list: Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert De Niro, Hillary Swank, Bon Jovi, Katherine Heigl, Lea Michelle, and Zac Efron just to name a few. Although the style of this film will mirror Valentine’s Day, I don’t think viewers will mind being reminded. From the cocktail of crazy mega-stars to the cheesy enchantment of a rom-com, I think this movie has potential for success.
Everyone knows the expression: Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it. Everyone, that is, except the creators of Scream and Final Destination. The films will come out with fourth and fifth installments this year, respectively. At this point, I don’t know who to blame, the people who continue to make these garbage films, or the people who continue to pay and go see them. Either way, I’d say both films are rated R for I’d Rather not.
Despite the déjà vu that these 2011 flicks may cause, two films rise above the rest in the world of sequels, remakes, and series: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II. The fourth of the five twilight films is out this November and audiences await what is said to be the raciest of the series so far. For HP fans, the time has come to finally say goodbye to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, as the final installment of the film series, which has captured audiences for a decade, is released this July.
So, as the rest of 2011 unfolds we wait to see which reprisals have us wanting even more, and which have us saying enough is enough.