Originality isn’t Everything

Today I’m a lucky, lucky girl. I got to tour Kartchner Caverns, a marvelous experience carefully tailored to protect the living cave from the likes of us messy humans. We weren’t allowed to take anything in so we couldn’t drop anything by accident. No cameras, since flash photography can be destructive and people can’t be trusted. No gum lest someone decide to spit it somewhere unseen. No touching anything but the metal handrails. Our guide carried little flags, and if we accidentally brushed a rock in passing, she marked it for later cleaning.

At one point our guide directed her flashlight upon the tracks the discoverers of the cave left in a mud-flat on one of their first explorations back in 1974. Every scientist who has had to cross since has walked in those tracks. Because of care like this, despite the cave having been open to the public for twenty years, over 80% of the cave floor has never been touched by a human.

For a living cave that takes hundreds of thousands of years to grow, that can be damaged by the oils on our skin, I’m delighted that the caretakers are so careful not to let anyone stray from the path. I’m not so impressed with it in realm of entertainment.

A glance at the current offerings is not promising. Prometheus. Madagascar 3. Snow White and the Huntsman. Pride and Platypus. Fifty Shades of Grey (which, if you somehow haven’t read despite having internet access, is a slightly-reworked Twilight fanfic.) All remakes or take-offs on stuff we’ve seen before. But just when you think I’m going to get my rant on, I’m going to mention The Avengers.

I love The Avengers. I haven’t seen a movie in the theater in years, until I saw The Avengers. And then I saw it again. We’ll go at least once twice ??? more before it leaves the theaters, probably. It’s a movie worthy of that big screen.

The Avengers have been around in comic book and sometimes cartoon form for a very long time. There’s very little that fans don’t already know. (Full disclosure: I’m not a long-time fan.) Somehow, though, possibly just because he is Joss Whedon, Joss Whedon made it work.

Over and over from my writing friends I’ve heard variations on “I have this idea but it’s not original.” And I tell them (because I am the queen of unasked-for advice sometimes), “Nothing is original. What matters is HOW you do it.”

After all, how many times have you read/seen the boy-meets-girl subplot? How many ways can there be for him to run into her? Boy-meets-boy is less often seen, but if it’s not done well (boys are different, you know) it’s going to seem like the same old thing. What matters is how it’s done. How well the story is told.

So, yeah. Though I wouldn’t complain if Popular Media took a few more chances, branched out a bit (maybe enough to encompass MY work?), you won’t catch me complaining about Aliens or The Empire Strikes Back or The Wrath of Khan. I’m all about sequels and re-makes—if they’re GOOD.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s time to plot my next viewing of The Avengers.

One Comment:

  1. You’re making me actually contemplate seeing The Avengers in a theater. And I haven’t done that for years, because it’s fairly difficult for me to walk the distance required, and also to sit that long in theater seats. But maybe…

    (I also agree with you about originality. More please, but only if it’s well done.)

    (Not that I’m a fan of poorly done, unoriginal stuff either.)

    (More well done stuff please.)

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