#TBT: Sometimes, I Think Our Culture Has Run Out of Ideas …

Happy #TBT. To celebrate, we’re sharing an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: Sometimes, I Think Our Culture Has Run Out of Ideas …

… And when I see that the game Battleship is being made into a movie, it does absolutely nothing to make me feel better.

This is a game, remember, with about as much complexity, personality or story as the keypad to your home alarm system. I thought making a movie based on Pirates of the Caribbean was stupid but, of course, by comparison Pirates is incredibly rich material. After all, the Pirates actually say things, move around and seem to have motives and certainly have a great theme song.

This is important to me because the creation of original intellectual property is important to the life of the culture. It’s an expression of who we are, what we want, what we’re dreaming about and what we’re afraid of. This endless returning to the past to mine some existing character or concept has a “beginning of a dark age” feel to it. If we don’t even feel capable of doing better than the game Battleship, how long will it be before we’re staring up at today’s skyscrapers and asking, “How did they build these?” If this generation’s dreams and imaginings aren’t even their own, but simply an echo of the past, how are we going to get better?

I saw that they’re “rebooting” the Spider-Man franchise next year with another movie, which roughly tells the same story as the movie that came out only about nine years ago, and which has had two very successful sequels, as recently as 2007. Wha? If Spider-Man needs rebooting this soon, I’d send it back in to get its motherboard replaced. I had a BlackBerry that I dropped in coffee once that didn’t have to be rebooted as often.

This issue is really important in the live entertainment business BECAUSE of the inherent barriers to participation in live entertainment. The opportunity for the live entertainment industry to rule entertainment as a whole is sitting right there in front of us, but it depends on one thing: compelling, original intellectual property.

The Book of Mormon is going to drive the culture. Putting some familiar boomer-era cartoon character on ice skates is not.

It’s one thing to remake something great. The world needs Battleship: The Movie like it needs Urkel back in prime time.

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