I, Probert

Former GeekPlanetOnline Site Editor Dave Probert is a man with an ear to the ground of the geek community. When that ground starts to rumble, our man in East Sussex has something to say...!


With the year drawing to a close this has been an exciting week for people wanting trailers for the hotly anticipated films of 2012. However, for those who bemoan Hollywood's lack of originality it must be a little wearing. We have seen trailers for a threequel (The Dark Knight Rises) a prequel (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) and a prequel that we were told wasn't a prequel but having seen the trailer we now know actually is a prequel (Prometheus) and earlier this year we all got very excited about the trailer for a film that is a sequel to four films at the same time (The Avengers).

So why are we such suckers for follow ups? Obviously if we enjoyed the original film then we are going to be eager to see more, but could there be more to it than that? Maybe it comes down to reliability.

With high quality film making equipment becoming more and more accessible, anyone with a decent hand held camera, some friends and plenty of spare time can knock out a film. The market is swiftly becoming flooded with direct to DVD films of such variable quality that it makes the decision to watch anything new difficult. For every hidden gem there are plenty of ill conceived monstrosities. Even the big studio attempts at original films have been met with indifference with the likes of Green Lantern, Green Hornet, Cowboys and Aliens, Conan the Barbarian and Sucker Punch all getting lukewarm receptions. With all these lacklustre genre films being released is it any wonder that cinema audiences are looking to tried and tested franchises for their entertainment?

Except that isn't quite the case either. There have been original genre films such as Source Code, Attack the Block, The Skin I Live In, Hanna and Super 8 which have all had critical or commercial success so why is it that we aren't getting as excited by future films like John Carter, The Woman in Black, Dark Shadows or Dredd? Simple, they are unknown quantities and while we may like the ideas of these films there is the concern that they might suck.

If you'll forgive the seasonal analogy it's a little like Christmas. There are the gifts that we are pretty sure we are going to get and are excited to be finally getting our hands on. Then there those obscurely shaped parcels that don't look like anything we remember asking for. We don't dread opening these presents in case they are rubbish, we get excited wondering what they might contain. Sometimes these can be the best presents because of their generosity, originality or simply because they show that the person giving them to you knows you better than you might have thought.

Wouldn't it be nice to have some of that seasonal excitement all year round? While we know we have some very nice cinematic presents on the way let's allow ourselves to view the unknown quantities with excitement instead of trepidation. Sure, some of them may just turn out to be the film equivalent of a badly knitted jumper (which is probably the best review Battleships is going to get) but some may turn out to be that very thing you didn't know you wanted.

I'd like to finish this column by donning my editor's hat and saying a big thank you to all our readers for supporting us for another year. I'd also like to give a massive thank you to all of our contributors in both audio and print for regularly putting out some great stuff. I know I say this a lot but I am constantly blown away by the stuff they put out for free and they deserve to be much better known than they are. I'd also like to thank my partner in crime Mr Matt Dillon for working so hard on the site; you will see the fruits of his labours once that ticking clock on our front page reaches zero. Finally I would like to thank my infinitely better half Gillian for her unswerving love and support and for her hard work copy editing the articles for the site. These articles wouldn’t look half as good without her.

A very Merry Christmas and happy new year from all the GeekPlanetOnline team.