Jewish World Review July 19, 2012/ 29 Tamuz, 5772
Nothing new in the new Spider-Man movie
By Barry Koltnow
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) The world hasn't made sense since Darrin Stevens.
It's been 45 years since TV executives replaced the actor (Dick York) who played Samantha's husband on the show "Bewitched" with another actor (Dick Sargent) and hoped that nobody would notice. Did they really think we'd be fooled because both actors had similar first names? I've never recovered from the treachery. I have trust issues because of it, and I don't sleep well. While it's true that back problems led to York leaving the show, my problem is with the lack of an explanation.
As a result, I have trouble fully committing to any movie or TV character because I live in fear that one day, some executive will make an arbitrary decision based on ratings, money or whimsy, and hire a new actor to replace the one I like.
Do you think it was easy for me to accept Roger Moore, even though it probably was Sean Connery's decision not to do any more James Bond movies? They should have ended the film series right then, admitting that Sean Connery was the perfect Bond, and that perfection is its own reward. Don't even get me started on George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.
I am nothing if not flexible, and I have made allowances for certain changes in actors, including Batman and The Joker. George Clooney pretty much killed Batman for all intents and purposes, and the universe demanded a new Batman. As long as you're changing Batman, you might as well change his nemesis.
But the exceptions that I allow are few. More often, the changes are egregious, such as the casting of Russell Brand in the title role of "Arthur." My rule of thumb is that if a certain actor created the perfect character, as Dudley Moore did in the 1981 movie, it should be a crime against art to remake the movie.
I won't belabor the point. You know how I feel about this, and all of this has just served as an introduction to the real topic of today's column "The Amazing Spider-Man."
As you probably know, the newest Spidey adventure opens Tuesday, and I've seen it.
My opinion on whether it's a good movie is not important to this discussion. Besides, I keep reading that most of you get your movie reviews from friends on social media or by anonymous sources on the Internet, so I won't waste your time with my opinion.
Here is what has bothered me since the day it was announced that Andrew Garfield of "The Social Network" would replace Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker, and that director Sam Raimi would be replaced by a little-known filmmaker named Marc Webb. It doesn't matter that Maguire and Raimi didn't want to return to the franchise. As far as I am concerned, the franchise ran its course with three terrific films that were in theaters between 2002 and 2007. Those three films together made $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office. That doesn't count lunch boxes, costumes and other paraphernalia. When is it enough money? Why can't anyone be satisfied with making a lot of money, and then move on to other projects?
Please allow me to repeat those dates 2002 through 2007 because I don't want to hear that tired old refrain from the movie studio about how so much time has passed since the original film, and it was necessary to remake the movie for a "new audience."
It's all about money. It's always about money, but it's never been so blatant.
Why was it necessary to make another Spider-Man movie? That's the question I have been asking myself since the announcement of the "new chapter in the Spider-Man saga."
"It was important to the filmmakers to show a side of Peter Parker that moviegoers haven't seen before," a studio statement said.
Really? We haven't seen Peter Parker being picked on by bullies in school before? We haven't seen Peter bitten by a radioactive spider before? We haven't seen Peter pursue the girl of his dreams before?
In the new movie, I learned nothing new about Peter's saga. And I learned nothing new in 3-D. I suppose the studio is counting on 3-D to convince audiences to line up outside theaters around the world. And they will line up because many people believe what they are told. They are told that Andrew Garfield is a good Spidey, and he is. They are told that Emma Stone is a good Gwen Stacy, and she is. They are told that The Lizard is a good villain, and it is.
But is that worth the price of a tub of popcorn, or would those studio resources be better spent on an original project?
I wish Samantha could wrinkle her nose and make it all go away.
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