When Caution Backfires

If you visited this blog for any time, you know I'm often miffed about the spate of movies and other properties being recycled. Okay if you even remotely heard of this blog you've probably telepathically picked up my bad attitude. Let me be honest here, we do not need another “Mr. Mom” movie. One was enough, thank you, and Michael Keaton was awesome in it.

Yet, as we have seen me rant on in our news analyses, there are plenty of remakes coming. No, I don't know why there's a new Spiderman film, unless the goal is to make Tobey Maguire cry. I don't know why someone wants to a Daredevil movie, but, oh well. Don't even get me started on the remake of Doom.

Of course, the reason for things like this is simple – caution. Some good name recognition, a marketing campaign, good overseas sales, and you've got a safe moneymaker-in theory. Hell, I'm betting a Doom film will get plenty of audiences just due to morbid curiosity–that's why I watched the first movie (which, oddly was guilty of trying too hard).

The watchword here is caution.

I also think were going to see more caution across the ocean, as Japanese companies dealing with the impact of the earthquake look for guaranteed, profitable opportunities as things get back to normal. I have no doubt be re-release of Sailor Moon by Kodansha is part of this, and were going to see more of it.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of the remake mania we see in Hollywood is a case of caution brought on by the Great Recession. After all when you're not sure what's going to sell stick with something you know will get attention –though in the case of the Battleship movie I'm not sure that's good attention, but I digress.

(I don't know, maybe put Michael Keaton in it to make up for the fact they're going to be busy destroying "Mr. Mom")

Everyone is being cautious–perhaps even understandably so in some cases.

Now we professional geeks should ask one question–what happens when caution becomes a disadvantage? What happens when unoriginality, reaching into the backlog, and carefully–tuned, exquisitely marketed remakes and derivative properties fail. What's next?

What happens when the recycling fails, gets dull, or there's nothing left – the idea of doing a Spiderman reboot makes me wonder if we're damn close to that now.

Yes some of us probably can't wait for this dismal apocalypse of un-originality to come so I can get over with. I'm waiting for a kind of cultural implosion to happen within a decade, hopefully before the Missile Command film comes out.  But I'm sure it's going to happen.

So my fellow professional geeks, what are your plans for the creativity apocalypse? Are you watching your company carefully, monitoring their next dismal media product that will doubtlessly fail despite it coming from a beloved property? Are you translating a backlog of manga or novels, knowing at some point interest will wane – and you may need another job?  Could you be the one with the new comic, game, or novel idea that's going to come in at the right time when people are tired of the next same-old same-old?

At some point, barring even worse economic trauma, the effects of this rampant unoriginality in reaching into the backlog will come about. We need to be ready.

Steven Savage