If you’ve read my articles in the past, then you’ll know that I’m pretty critical on the movie industry for their lack of ideas. I am constantly writing articles about movie adaptations, video game adaptations, book adaptations and sequels. Very few people have ideas of their own. Now there seems to be a new trend in Hollywood. The new trend is base you movie on actual events.
Obviously basing a movie on actual events is not completely new, people have been doing it for years. Movies based on real events have even been done well. The Great Escape starring Steve McQueen is one of my favorite movies of all time and many people rank Brian’s Song as the best sports movie of all-time. Sports movies are especially known for basing movies on real people.
But lately the amount of movies based on real events is getting ridiculous. Think about some of the movies getting Oscar buzz this year like the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, Valkyrie, Frost/Nixon, Changeling, Defiance, Milk and Revolutionary Road. In that list of nominees there are more movies that are based on real events than movies that are completely made up.
Go to Wikipedia and check the page on “List of Films based on actual events.” I know that since this is Wikipedia a few of these might be incorrect and some older movies might be absent because of a lack of knowledge of them by the people that post on Wikipedia, but still the difference is amazing. It lists 23 movies in the 90’s based on real events; movies such as Apollo 13, Rudy and Saving Private Ryan. There is still one more year left in the in this decade and there have already been 89 movies based on real events.
Obviously based on real events can be used very loosely. Whoever writes the screenplay to these stories have to turn them into a story that can be told in 2 hours and actually works in a movie format. That is harder than it sounds but still isn’t it kind of cheating to be given all the characters and the basic story? It seems like cheating to me. Especially since if you steal the story of an actual place or actual event, like American Gangster, In the Valley of Elah or Freedom Writers then you’ll most likely get recognized as a serious Oscar caliber movie. But if you base your movie on a comic book, television show or video game then you aren’t sniffing any kind of awards unless one of your actors dies before the film comes out.
I know some people are going to say, “well, most of these movies are better than comic book adaptations and book adaptations.” That’s true, I’ll give you that. But the fact that these stories are real, and a lot of other adaptations aren’t, means that it should be easier to make. In no way am I trying to defend the horrible movie that is the Transformers, but what is harder to recreate: an interview between a news reporter and a president or a battle between giant robots that can also turn into vehicles? Do you think it’s easier to bring to life a mother that lost her son or a high school for wizards?
I’m not saying all movies based on true events suck and adaptations of books or all video games are awesome. All I’m saying is that a lot of people are getting too much credit for bringing to life something that already happened in real life and writing about something that’s already been written in history books. Meanwhile people that come up with their own ideas, or even try to bring something more irregular to life don’t get nearly enough credit.