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News flash: Forthcoming movies are based on old stuff!

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I know people have been pointing out for years that a lot of new movies that come out are based on stuff that's been around for a long time.

And normally I kind of shrug and say things like “So what?” and “But there are also a lot of new and fairly original movies coming out” and “The new versions are often fresh new takes on existing stories” and “Arguably, there's no such thing as an original story anyway” and “Most of Shakespeare's works were based on other stories” and so on.

But the previews this afternoon really drove home the point.

Laura and I went to see Harry Potter VII, Part One (speaking of Shakespearean titles, and movies based on other works). And the previews were (not in this order):

Green Hornet
Originally a 1930s radio show. (Did y'all know he was explicitly related to the Lone Ranger?)
Green Lantern
Original version appeared in a 1940 comic book, although the movie character derives from the 1959 comic book incarnation.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Originally a 1950s book.
Yogi Bear
Character originally appeared in a 1958 TV cartoon.
Tron: Legacy
Sequel to a 1982 movie.
Kung Fu Panda 2
Sequel to a 2008 movie.
Red Riding Hood
Extremely loosely derived from a 14th- to 17th-century folktale.
Cowboys & Aliens
Based on a 2006 graphic novel.

I'm especially amused at that last one. I was thinking that it was the only one of the previews not based on or derived from an earlier work (other than being generally derived from the Western and alien-invasion genres), but it turns out that was just 'cause I didn't know about the graphic novel it came from.

Anyway, all of the things I said up top still apply; I don't actually object to movies being based on other stuff, and there are still plenty of movies that aren't. But I was amused at the consistency of this set of previews in this regard—and especially at how many of the movies previewed are explicitly based on stuff dating back to before 1960.

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At least you didn't have to see a preview for The Smurfs or Gnomeo and Juliet. And there is also the Cohen Bros. redo of True Grit.


Yep, Britt (Green Hornet) Reid was John (Lone Ranger) Reid's grand-nephew.

As for Green Lantern, I'm somewhat bemused that apparently there's something of an online protest movement over the movie making a black character white. This since the most recent exposure a Green Lantern has had was John Stewart in Justice League Unlimited, rather than Hal Jordan who the movie's using. In the comics, John debuted circa 1972 as the second Earthman to be Hal's emergency replacement, getting a ring / GL status full time circa 1984/5.

Technically, Cowboys and Aliens is "original". The graphic novel comes from an outfit specifically set up to create graphic novels that are explicitly meant to serve as storyboards for movie/tv pitches. They also tried to pay kickbacks to comics stores so that they'd order lots of copies of the gn to push it to number one on sales charts so as to have more buzz when pitching to Hollywood. The latter failed since word got out and at least one major sales chart refused to recognize the sales to dealers.


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