I try to give Hollywood the benefit of the doubt when it comes to its lack of originality. Remakes and reboots might be sourced back for an easy concept, but following through on the idea isn't always so simple. Modernizing, reworking and reimagining plot details is one way to inject a fresh take on old material, for instance. And in some ways restarting a franchise with sequels in mind entails some recycling but also requires new ideas to go forward with.
But now, with announcement of plans to stretch an Escape from New York rehash over three movies, it's clear the only new thing producers have in mind is a way out of thinking of anything novel at all.
We should have seen this coming. With successful series like Harry Potter and Twilight having extended finales and The Hobbit being adapted into a trilogy, it's already been noted that Hollywood is looking to prolong stories in order to get more buck for their bang. And the growing trend towards lazy prequel projects -- those that like to illustrate a character's already known origin story (or unknown yet open to the wonder of our imaginations) -- is meeting up with that practice in this creatively bankrupt Escape reboot.
At first it sounded like Joel Silver was merely redoing the Snake Plissken franchise, as in remakes of both Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. and then concluding with the never-made Escape from Earth (not to be confused with the recently released animated film Escape from Planet Earth). But no, the idea is in fact to spread the plot of New York over a trilogy but with the first installment showing us Plissken's backstory leading up to when he's forced to make a deal to rescue the U.S. president from the wasteland prison formerly known as Manhattan.
In the past this sort of thing could be expected from television producers. Novels that had once been adapted as fine feature films like The Shining, From Here to Eternity and The Andromeda Strain have been redone as TV miniseries. While Escape from New York could also be turned into an episodic cable property, that just doesn't have the moneymaking potential that a trilogy of tentpole films does. And with all three installments already prewritten to a degree, this looks to be a fast-moving product, maybe even something released over a maximum of three summers.
Then again, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is mentioned in the Deadline report as a precedent for Silver's plan, and that prequel reboot kick off surprised us all with how good it turned out. Still, all we need is for this to be successful to inspire more stretched-out remakes. Not to throw anyone a bone, but it'd be really, really, really easy to do the same thing with the already planned reboots of Flight of the Navigator, Scarface, Child's Play, Time Bandits and Romancing the Stone (especially to forget about going on to Jewel of the Nile).
Are there any movies we've seen in the past, though, that we felt were too concisely told? Any adaptations we found to be too abridged for a single film's running time? That's the question behind today's poll. One obvious answer would be Dune, but that too was already redone as a TV miniseries. Other films people found to be too compressed include epic fantasies Stardust, Eragon, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga Hoole, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Neverending Story.
What movie would have been better as three movies?
Here are some responses received so far via Twitter:
Join the next discussion on Twitter by following Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic) and Movies.com (@Moviesdotcom).