Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio: Jumper

Last Saturday, I went to see Jumper at AMC Saratoga 14 with a few friends. This isn’t a review of Jumper… well, Jumper sucked and blew, and it was dumb. There, I reviewed it. But this entry’s primary purpose isn’t to review Jumper, it’s to showcase a little game I made up awhile back. When you go out to see a movie, pay close attention to the trailers. Add one to the count for every:

-Remake (a newer version of a previously released movie) (Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job)
-Sequel (slash prequel slash interquel slash etc.; a movie taking place within the chronology of a previously released movie) (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Land of the Dead)
-Adaptation (a movie based on a previous non-movie work, like a book, play, real life event, what have you) (I Am Legend, Iron Man)

Count each trailer that meets one of these conditions (movies that match multiple criteria still count as one, though they make interesting case studies and should be noted for posterity), and compare it to the total number of trailers, and you have a percentage that represents how many upcoming films are “unoriginal”. Of course, plenty of movies that don’t fall under these criteria are unoriginal in a multitude of other ways (entries in well-defined genres, ripoffs of other movies, some guy getting kicked in the crotch, and so on), but I’ll go out on a limb and say that my definition of an unoriginal film is a far less forgivable instance. How many times do we need to see The Incredible Hulk on the big screen (at least two, apparently)? I’d much rather see another Michel Gondry movie with whimsically low-budget special effects than another James Bond crapfest. With this game, we get a general idea about how the coming months will play out in terms of originality in Hollywood. If we sample enough movies, we might even be able to glean some useful data and (God willing) throw together some Excel spreadsheet charts!

On with the trailers!

The Happening
I’m very excited about this one. We haven’t had an M. Night Shammalammadingdong movie for a few years now, and I’m eager to see if he can top Lady in the Water, arguably the shittiest film of all time. The presence of Mark Wahlberg and a seemingly pointless reference to Colony Collapse Disorder in the trailer are icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned. While the Wikipedia mentions that this script started as a live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender (man, that would have been a really stupid idea), it no longer carries this distinction, and is therefore ORIGINAL.

Street Kings
Keanu Reeves is at the top of his game when portraying a renegade cop who doesn’t play by the rules, so this will probably be good watchin’. I’m always sad to see more capable actors like Forest Whitaker get dragged down though. And looking at these credits, I see at least two rapper names (“Common” and “The Game”). Oh yeah, this’ll be good shit. But a cursory scan of the credits also doesn’t reveal the phrase “based on a short story by” or anything of that kind, so we’ve got another ORIGINAL on our hands.

Wanted
Noble assassins that curve bullets around corners! It’s clear that these trailers were made just for me. What could have potentially been a freakish long streak of originality is blissfully broken by this ADAPTATION of a comic book miniseries.

WALL-E
Pixar can do no wrong, and like every other film they’ve made, this one is 100% ORIGINAL. Though the robot’s resemblance to R.O.B. and Johnny Five is intriguing, I won’t hold it against them if the movie is up to their usual standards of excellence.

10,000 BC
This film slides by on a technicality. Though it, as historical fiction, is loosely based on real life, it is not based on any specific real event, and therefore is ORIGINAL. The CGI blows though. So that’s something.

The Bank Job
My brain didn’t retain any knowledge of this trailer after the film, so I’m glad I wrote it down so as to look up the video later. Wait, maybe “glad” isn’t the word I was looking for. There’s like sex and bank robberies and a bumbling ensemble cast and and other cliché bullshit, but the trailer proudly proclaims to be based on a true story, so it gets the dishonorable ADAPTATION stamp of disapproval. Oh yeah, and it sullies The Clash by playing London Calling at the end. Boo.

Total: 33.3% (2/6)

So as of a February 16th screening of Jumper at AMC Saratoga 14 in Saratoga, CA, Hollywood was slated to be 33.3% unoriginal. Honestly, this is one of the best scores I’ve ever seen in my thus-far limited tallying, but now we’ve got hard data! Give this game a try the next time you go to the movies, and I’ll post your results (include date and location of viewing; the more random data, the better the pie charts!).

On a sidenote, “Hollywood Unoriginality Ratio” makes a great acronym to describe these dumb movies. Go me.

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