Why does Hollywood make movies out of mere comic books?

Dear Readers, This rant about Hollywood was part-inspired by one of my Australian friends who happens to be a landscape painter. His views about Hollywood are probably more charitable than mine.

I write in August 2016 as “Hollywood” has just released a new DC Comic Books movie starring Will Smith, something about crims who have been given super-hero-type powers. This movie is titled, Suicide Squad. “News stories” (which are really just publicity balloons) arise about an actress or two in the movie being miscast … But who cares? Hollywood, probably in search of dollars, and abandoning artistic integrity, has become just a branch office of the US comic books industry. Thus it deserves everything it gets.

Look at it this way, and it’s appalling … “Hollywood” has been milking the US comic books industry for dollars instead of milking world literature. In literary terms, “Hollywood” has done far worse than turn inward, or become overly-introspective, it has lost touch with reality and yet it remains busy promoting comic-book-reality. So let’s wonder awhile why “Hollywood”, one of escapism’s more luxurious homes in human history, has become this unrealistic.
Let’s be charitable and assume that Hollywood is in fact too big, too-multifaceted, it has to be at least part-populated by people who are still sane, to have become just malicious, or even badly misguided. Let’s assume that “Hollywood” has just lost its imagination for a period that’s temporary, that it’s going through a bad patch, an unfortunate cultural phase, but not as bad even as rock n roll having lost its roots. But even this could be far too charitable.

Not only has Hollywood sold out to comic-booksville. It makes too many remakes, which means that already-made movies have become the chief topic of study in “Hollywood”. One of the latest unnecessary remakes is a remake of The Magnificent Seven, this time around starring Denzel Washington. As if the world needed or wanted another remake of The Magnificent Seven! So ”Hollywood” has two dire problems: it has sunk to the level of making too-many remakes (lost its imagination) and it’s making too many movies drawn from comic books (lost its faith in world literature). This is the end of “Hollywood”.

You can tell this is the end of “Hollywood” when you make just one count about “Hollywood” as a so-called USA industry: why has the USA made so few movies about the American Revolution? For on reflection, we would soon realise that the USA has made far more movies about winning WWII than about winning its American Revolution– why on earth would this be?

But it’s not all bad, movie lovers. The good news is that lots of good movies and excellent TV mini-series are being made in Canada, UK, Ireland, Norway, other Scandinavian countries, in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, in what used to be called Middle Europe. In Nigeria in Africa, in China,South Korea, South America, Australia. Firms such as HBO, Netflix and BBC keep making stunningly watchable material.

While in India, luckily, Bollywood (Hindi Cinema) is fully geared-up, equipment-wise and techo-wise, it’s ready to go. Bollywood is also lately doing a few productions in Australia. All Bollywood has to do is switch more new content to something the Western World wants, milk world literature in the right ways, and everything should be quite ok from Bollywood. So forget Hollywood, think Bollywood. Forget Los Angeles. Forget hollywood magic, it’s gone, time has moved on.

Goodbye, Hollywood. Maybe it had to do with the world’s digital revolution? Maybe it has to do with the politico-cultural decline of the USA? How and why across the years, Hollywood forgot about world literature and adopted for US-written comic books is hard to say, but it was a fatal mistake. Fatal, and very disappointing with it.

Author: Dan Byrnes

Dan Byrnes is an Australian poet, writer, historian, a one-time journalist in Tamworth NSW Australia (or, Country Music Capital, Australia). Born in Sydney in 1948, meaning in late 2018 he is aged 70! He is deeply interested in modern Australian history (since 1788), literature, poetry and music. He had a normal high school education plus several stints at university, ending with a double major in History/Psychology, then with an Honours degree in History. Of late, and as he gets older - in 2019 he will be 71 - he spends time compiling and recompiling old work, adding to this blog, and wondering deeply with the history of Australia since 1788, a relatively new country, which received up to 162,000 convicts from Britain, why there is such apathy to maritime history in general and in particular, such apathy to the question: who owned/insured the convict ships?

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