Group Project: Week Eleven

With only a week to go before our magazine hand in date, our group has mostly been focusing on finishing off articles/photography for their chosen sections and putting together the layout for our magazine. After editing my photography in Photoshop, I have chosen the images that I want to include within my feature. Also during the editing of my own photography, I have searched and decided which film stock images I want to include within my Revival of the Fittest and Spotlight Cinema articles; as I am writing about other films that obviously cannot include my own photography.

Below are the newly edited images that I have chosen to add to my layout on the Vintage Cinema feature:

DSC_1655

DSC_1672

DSC_1678 copy

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I have chosen to stick to a minimum of 4 images for this feature as I feel that more images than this would only distract the reader from the actual article. I have played around with the Hue/Saturation in Photoshop in order to stay true to the vintage feel and so have dimmed the colouring in the images featured to give it a classic throwback look.

As mentioned above, I have also chosen the stock images from the films I have written about in the Revival and Spotlight Cinema articles. I felt as though the following images projected what each film was about but also at the same time provided intrigue for the viewer. I have also chosen these images as they show the A-list actors for each film, which obviously our audience will recognize and therefore will be more intrigued to read the article.

Carrie_2013 Evil-Dead-2013-after-credits-large-532x300

spring-breakers-3a The-Place-Beyond-the-Pines-300x233

Iron-man-3-new-photo-2 dawnofthedead_290539

Also during this week, I have finally finished editing the Revival article and have made it somewhat shorter. Although this was a tricky challenge I feel that it now actually reads better than the original and furthermore it will now fit within the layout design that I had in mind…I hope! What was difficult about writing this article was catering it to a unisex audience. As someone who reads mostly film magazines I have noticed that these kind of articles are usually written with the idea that the audience will mostly be male. So I had to pinpoint arguments within this controversial topic that would appeal to both sexes but at the same time making relevant points that applied. However, I feel that my new edited version has a better flow to it and provides enough insight so that our readers will ponder themselves how they feel about this particular topic.  Below is the edited version of this article:

Revival of the fittest: are remakes suffocating originality in Hollywood?

With remakes appearing to dominate the box office this year, we are compelled to ask if this trend is here to stay.

For the past decade, remakes and adaptations of some of the most well-known cinematic classics, which were instrumental in the success of film makers and actors alike, have dominated the box office. In 2013, remakes of Red Dawn, Evil Dead and Carrie are due to be released and this particular trend shows no sign of decreasing. Historically, when cinema was still a relatively new art form, this would not have been a major concern, particularly as new technology enabled such classic narratives to be enhanced in the retelling. However, what may once have been considered innocent retelling has now induced great concern in the industry due to a distinct lack of original stories emanating from Hollywood. This leaves us wondering if this situation is symptomatic of the industry’s desire to evoke a simpler time in its evolution to pop culture, or has Hollywood really lost its way?

Like most forms of entertainment, the film industry is a business driven by investment and the need to make a profit. It cannot be denied that in such difficult economic times, even one bad investment may cause a studio’s demise. Perhaps the only safe choice is in the form of a remake or sequel of a highly successful existing franchise, thus diminishing the original concept. Although when looking at the situation from this perspective, remakes and sequels may seem the only solution financially, the question remains as to whether or not this recycling will have a detrimental effect on Hollywood in the long term. Nevertheless, not every re-imagining can be classed as dire when compared with the original. It is evident that the formula for a successful remake depends upon whether or not it works as a film in its own right.

A prime example of this recently is the Dawn of the Dead remake, Zack Snyder’s version of the George A. Romero horror classic of the same name. In spite of initial hostility, the film was acclaimed critically and eventually gathered a cult following of its own, after fans of the original accepted it as a remake and appreciated it as a horror film in its own right. Fortunately, Snyder’s film was released thirty years after the original, which worked to its advantage by making the retelling of the zombie-ridden classic appear timely. Snyder achieved this by breaking down the essential components needed to create a successful remake. (Perhaps you need to say what these are). In this particular case, this was largely due to the fact that he paid homage to Romero’s work by including cameos from original cast members Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger and Tom Savini, a clever ploy which caught his audience off guard. Crucially, the remake was able to hold its own as it had a new plot, which worked on its own terms, thus making it a worthy remake of the genre.

In addition, whether or not an adaptation, sequel or remake is successful should be based on the question of the cinematic intention and quality. An obvious example that the motive for a product is simply to make money can be seen in the release last Summer of the all new and arguably improved Spiderman film, remade only ten years after the web-slinger made his cinematic debut. Clearly, this was a cynical tactic by Sony to make a Spidey film to capitalise on and coincide with the hype being generated by the release of The Avengers, Marvel’s super hero dream team. As a result, the Spiderman reboot felt sanitised and formulaic, which was reinforced when the public did not accept yet another causeless remake. Although the motives driving remakes are usually obvious, it should be remembered that film companies themselves are often the public part of larger conglomerates, such as Tristar and Sony. Consequently, if profit is simply based on the legacy of the name, a studio can almost guarantee that there will be enough sales to recoup some losses from original films which are released. It is indicative of a wider culture of cinema, in which cheaply made, handheld horror movies are churned out because the returns dwarf the production costs. Often, these studios already have the IP rights to past franchises or classic, so it is a cheaper investment in a similar vein.

As part of this growing trend, we have copies of copies of remakes, rip-offs and sequels which are completely lacking in originality and worse still have nothing worth saying. Instead of having cinema, we have propaganda movies which try to convince us cinema is worthy but which ironically prove that it is not. However, entrenched in such disappointing mire, there is the occasional Star Trek or Batman Begins remake which demonstrate that not all of these distributions are rubbish. In future, could we expect to see a remake of The Godfather? Hopefully not. This is exactly the kind of film sapling we need to grow through in order to dispose of this unimaginative foliage of remakes we have been seeing year after.

As next week is the deadline, in the meantime the group is going to focus sorely on the layout design and finishing anything off for individual articles. Over the next few days, I am going to be designing my layout for each of my articles that will now go over four pages as I have a lot of content. So far, I am happy with my own individual articles and photography however I am still slightly dreading putting together my layout as I do have a lot of copy. So designing a layout that will look right with the rest of the group’s work in the magazine is going to be tricky, but we shall have to wait and see!

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