It has been annoyingly frustrating to sit in a movie theater and see previews showing how Hollywood is set to remake yet another classic film or produce a sequel that will undoubtedly tarnish the prestige of the original. If one were to attempt to find the greenest industry, it would have to be the entertainment industry, an industry full of recycled ideas.
Always providing a humorous social commentary, South Park makes light of this problem with the episode “Save Hat.” In this episode, Stan, Kyle, and Cartman go on a quest to stop this horrible issue. Creating an organization to “Save Films from their Directors,” the boys find themselves in the midst of a terrible conspiracy where George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are planning to remake Raiders of the Lost Ark.
This episode ends with the same result as almost every recycled idea that we have seen Hollywood produce. Viewers of are appalled by a terrible version of the Indiana Jones remake saw Ewoks chasing a young Harrison Ford.
As such, they responded, saying “Wait a minute, this version is awful” and “Yeah, they ruined it.” When George Lucas has a change of heart and decides that it is time to stop this horrible trend, an evil Spielberg works to stop him. The boys from Colorado as usual, save the day, making sure that nothing will be done to tarnish the original Indiana Jones. This South Park parity provides a useful social commentary for the problems of Hollywood. Watching the cartoon version Steven Spielberg turn into an evil director whose only goal is to make money, it becomes evident that Hollywood has become this.
Did we really need a remake of Karate Kid? Was Jackie Chan really better than Pat Morita?
Did a second Star Wars trilogy enhance the franchise?
Was the new Knight Rider better than what David Hasslehoff did?
Is another Indiana Jones movie necessary?
The answer to all of these questions is NO. These remakes did little to help the originals; if anything they simply tarnished our memories of excellent entertainment. The quest of these South Park friends to stop Spielberg from releasing an unnecessary remake is a quest that any fan of an original work can relate to. The evil Spielberg is a representation of the lack of creativity that plagues Hollywood.
There are counterexamples to this argument. The Dark Knight was an excellent film that showcased the abilities of Heath Ledger and provided a new look at the Batman universe. With the right director, excellent writers, and talented actors, a recycled idea can be the basis for an excellent work. Unfortunately, for every Dark Knight, there are dozens of Star Wars: the Phantom Menace.
This entire debate and this episode lead to the inevitable question, are there any good ideas left in the entertainment industry? For all of our sakes, I hope that the answer is yes.
The episode can be viewed here: