Isn’t there some rule against repetition in storytelling? Most tales that purposely retread the same ground all over again do so lazily, a conceit allowed either because a concept begs the question (a la time travel tales) or simply because we, the audience, are feared to be too dimwitted to get it. Thus do Guy Ritchie movies and movies like The Illusionist regularly spend the entire climax copy-and-pasting stuff from the first half of the movie, albeit with a little added flair. Yes, we get it, it’s like poetry, they rhyme. Surely Orwell or Strunk and White have some preventative edict concerned with this brand of laziness, no? Surely repetition is the friend of the lazy writer, no?
Anyway, Happy Groundhog Day! Looks like little Phil didn’t see his shadow. Think we’ll be stuck in a time loop, forced to relive today over and over again? I gotta say: it’s 8:28 AM here and I can’t say I’m exactly thrilled with today’s results this far. Still have a ways to go, I know. Maybe starting over would actually be a good thing, though. I’ll be careful what I wish for. I’ll also be careful to remind everyone that this hysterical song is the theme for Groundhog Day:
Sometimes timing is everything when releasing a major studio film. That’s why we get The Prestige and The Illusionist one after the other, Antz and A Bug’s Life, Dante’s Peak and Volcano, The Truman Show and EdTV, all released within a month or two of a very similar counterpart. Is that good timing or bad timing? If the subject of these films is “in”, then it hardly matters. People suddenly like period magician dramas, so they want both Illusionist and Prestige. They suddenly like animated ants and volcanic destruction and reality TV heroes, so they want multiple movies about them. One can imagine a studio holding a film they find to be strikingly similar to one that just came out, hoping to distance this from that, only to be accused of copying the success of the first.
Whatever the studio machinations, sometimes the relevance of a movie is just plain dumb luck. Hacking and cyberterrorism have been in the news quite a bit lately, what with the November data leak at Sony and subsequent hullabaloo surrounding The Interview only just starting to get pushed to page two. Michael Mann’s globetrotting hacking drama Blackhat addresses that current fear, but unfortunately it doesn’t manage to extract a very good story out of the headlines.