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Hollywood Movie Series: For Art Or For Profit?

Jenny Kim |
August 6, 2014 | 6:07 p.m. PDT

Twitter @TiffUnscripted
Twitter @TiffUnscripted
The Hollywood industry is running out of ideas. Either that, or it’s looking for a simple way to make more money. In the film business where originality, creativity, and vision wins the market, producers and directors have been lacking the innovation that had prospered in the eras of Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Eisenstein.

Today, we have movies like Taken, Taken 2… and, of course, the upcoming Taken 3. The plots are identical, the actor is the same (although Liam Neeson is great), and even the title is unchanged, making the film franchise lackluster and bland. Liam Neeson can only kill so many people to save a loved one.

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The creation of the movie series is the result of pop culture’s biggest oxymoron: Hollywood. Though it thrives off its art form, the film, its main objective is to rake in profits. Artists claim to never compromise their art form for something so superficial as money – yet Hollywood’s artists pose a different story. 

So at what point is it okay to compromise the ingenuity of the art for the lucrative benefits at the end? Are three “Taken” movies really necessary to deliver the “message” of familial love and vengeance, or is it just for the easy profits and guaranteed revenue? Considering the plot line has barely evolved throughout the three films, the main reason for continuing such franchise is probably the latter.

Although some series like “Taken” can be trite, Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was genius in all aspects. It paid homage to J.R.R. Tolkien’s works and die-hard Lord of the Rings fans, it utilized advanced computer graphics for its time, and it created a huge franchise that was marketable to everyone from young teenagers to old adults.

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However, since Jackson came back with “The Hobbit” series nearly ten years after the release of the original “Lord of the Rings” series, the issue of guaranteed profits and easy marketing becomes apparent once again. Though intended to be one continuous prequel to “Lord of the Rings”, “The Hobbit” has been split into three films. In such context, it is evident that producers and Jackson have sacrificed Tolkien’s effective storytelling for the potential revenue that a large-scale blockbuster such as “The Hobbit” can bring in.

Because Hollywood is a business that thrives off of public interest and response, films, no matter how banal, will continue to emerge so long as people will pay for it. And from the looks of it, Liam Neeson isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Reach Staff Reporter Jenny Kim here.



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