It's no secret that Hollywood loves to cash in on established properties these days. Lately its seems like everything's a sequel, a remake, a reboot, or a combination of the three. However, there's no getting around the simple truth: moviegoers still love original films. Tom Hanks seems to have a very specific rationale for that love, and it all has to do with an original story's ability to defy our expectations. He explained:
I like to think we approach movies the same way we approach being members of the audience in that you just want to see something you have never seen before. It's funny. Who saw La La Land yesterday? When you see something that is brand new, that you can't imagine, and you think, 'Well, thank God this landed,' because I think a movie like La La Land would be anethema to studios. Number one, it is a musical and no one knows the songs. ... This is not a movie that falls into some sort of trend. I think it is going to be a test of the broader national audience, because it has none of the things that major studios want. Pre-awareness is a big thing they want, which is why a lot of remakes are going on. [La La Land] is not a sequel, nobody knows who the characters are...But if the audience doesn't go and embrace something as wonderful as this, then we are all doomed.
Leave it to the most well liked man in Hollywood to put it so simply. EW reports that Tom Hanks recently took the stage for a Q&A session at the Telluride Film Festival and gave the above statement. Although he was specifically there to promote his new film, Sully, he couldn't stop himself from singing the praises of a wholly original story, like the upcoming La La Land. Citing its originality as an asset, Hanks explained that original stories have a unique effect on the audience. When we have no pre-set expectations, that's when a film can truly floor us. It's storytelling in its purest form.
Of course, Tom Hanks also points out the dark side of this phenomenon as well. He goes on to highlight the fact that an original movie like La La Land needs to find an audience. If original stories stop gaining traction, and all we are left with are sequels, remakes, and reboots, then -- in his words -- we are all doomed. La La Land has thus far performed incredibly well with critics, so we shouldn't worry just yet; original films still definitely have a place in our world.
He's not alone in his assessment of the current Hollywood landscape. Just last year, director Brad Bird similarly came out and expressed some concerns over the abundance of non-original films coming out, and proposed an "allowance" system restraining the amount of franchise films a given studio could produce. If we want original movies to remain important to audiences, something like this might eventually need to happen. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that it never gets that bad.
Ultimately we feel compelled to agree with Mr. Hanks on this issue. Franchises are great, but they will never match the feeling of being unexpectedly blown away by an original, innovative story. What are your thoughts on this issue? Let us know what you think below to keep the conversation going.
Make sure to catch Tom Hanks' new film, Sully, this weekend when it hits theaters on September 9.