Studio Monopoly

Twenty-five years ago Ridley Scott made “Blade Runner,” initiating the trend in adapting the works of sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick that continues to this day. Soon, it is rumored, he’ll be working on an adaptation of a different kind, starting what might be another trend in moviemaking  and one that would seem right out of one of Dick’s bleakest, satiric dystopian visions: he’s making a movie out of “Monopoly.”

That’s right, the board game. Don’t these guys have a “Clue?” Actually, that dismal 1985 failure is being remade also, and other games pitched for the feature treatment include “Candy Land,” “Trivial Pursuit” and the Ouija board.

But that should come as no surprise in a summer in which not only half the releases are remakes and sequels (with many more remakes to come, as reported here), two are adapted from toys (“Transformers” and “Bratz”), at least a couple from video games (“DOA” and "Resident Alien”) and one that is not only a sequel but an adaptation of an amusement park ride (“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”). Nor when one considers the fact that upcoming films have been planned around TV commercials (The Burger King) and bad art (Thomas Kinkade).

This means more than just a bankruptcy of original ideas, I think. It means that instead of taking their cue from great films or great literature or art or human experience, moviemakers today are inspired by the shit they wasted their allowances on while growing up: toys, video games, junk food, retro board games, comic books. It means that far from being a viable, unique art form, movies have become indistinguishable from their own advertising and merchandising. The film, the ads and the line of spin-off products are one and the same.

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