英美劇的衰落,從扎堆拍前傳開始……外媒急了

滬江英語2019-06-24 23:13:40

不知道從什麼時候開始,英美劇和英美電影的前傳越來越多。


今天剛剛得知,《飢餓遊戲》要拍前傳了。



前不久,《小丑》作為蝙蝠俠系列的前傳放出預告片,賺了不少眼球。



不光是這些,現在但凡一部有名氣的劇和電影,基本都必定要出前傳。


比如《權遊》就一次計劃的4部前傳,雖然搞到後來只有一部《血月》Bloodmoon 在拍。



和它一樣的魔幻大作《指環王》也一直在高調拍前傳,還被亞馬遜欽點為鎮店之寶。



更不用説還有冷飯精品店《哈利波特》,不光用炒冷飯搞火了一個官網 Pottermore,成了一個打雞血的賺錢機器,其前傳《神奇動物》也成了新的“百年大計”。



而且看現在的輿論走向,大家還在呼籲給年輕版鄧布利多和格林德沃拍專門的愛情電影《校長情史》……那又成了《神奇動物》的前傳了。


除此之外還有《唐頓莊園》這種不搞前傳而搞電影版的。



其實性質也差不多。


感覺現在的影視界快要被前傳和重置版佔領了。


而悲劇的是這些依託大作而生的衍生物卻不一定能保證質量。


比如《驚奇隊長》這個漫威宇宙前傳,雖然票房不錯,但是口碑掃地,評分也不高。



這是怎麼了?


國外的評論界覺得,這可能有問題。


A Long Time Ago… Why Prequels Are Taking Us Back To The Future In Popular Film

很久以前……為什麼熱門影片的前傳都帶我們回到了未來


An upcoming film will explore the origins of the Joker, last seen in the Batman franchise. But prequels are often poorly received – perhaps with good reason.

一部即將上映的影片將探索上次在《蝙蝠俠》中出場的小丑的身世。但前傳影片往往口碑不佳,而且這也許是有充分理由的。



Last month, audiences got their first glimpse of the trailer for the upcoming film, Joker, which explores the origins of its iconic title character, last seen in the Batman franchise. The trailer came just weeks after Captain Marvel was released to cinemas, detailing the back story of Carol Danvers, a superhero who suffers from amnesia and struggles to find out about her past.

上個月,觀眾們首次看到了這部即將上映的電影《小丑》的預告片。這部影片探索了上次在《蝙蝠俠》中登場的這個擁有標誌性頭銜的角色的身世。這部預告片在《驚奇隊長》上映幾周後就播出了。《驚奇隊長》詳細介紹了患有失憶症並努力找回過去的超級英雄卡羅爾·丹佛斯的背景故事。


Joker is not the only prequel in the works. DC entertainment (also behind Joker) will follow up with The Batman, a 2021 film set to focus on a younger Bruce Wayne. The sixth instalment of Die Hard, titled McClane, will also be an origin story focusing on John McClane in his 20s.

《小丑》並非唯一一部前傳電影。DC娛樂公司(也是小丑這個角色的創作公司)將於2021年推出《蝙蝠俠》前傳,這部影片重點關注布魯斯·韋恩年輕時的故事。《虎膽龍威6·麥克蘭》也將是一個關於身世的故事,它講述了20幾歲時的約翰·麥克蘭的故事。



And after the critically acclaimed Better Call Saul – a prequel to Breaking Bad – it was recently announced that classic TV show The Sopranos would be followed up with a prequel movie. Even Game of Thrones will be filming a prequel series.

在《絕命毒師》前傳《風騷律師》獲得廣泛好評之後,最近據稱經典電視劇《黑道家族》也將拍攝一部前傳電影。甚至《權力的遊戲》也將拍攝前傳系列。


Prequels and origin texts focus on the back story of our favourite characters. Traditionally much rarer than sequels, they are fast becoming a popular mode of storytelling, alongside the recent boom of 90s remakes. Prequels allow filmmakers to stay in familiar territory while also developing new storylines for old (and even dead) characters.

前傳和起源故事聚焦於我們最喜歡的角色們的背景故事。前傳歷來都要比續集少見,但如今它們卻很快成為流行的故事演繹模式,最近同時興起的還有90年代影片的重製版。前傳使電影製作人在為原來的角色(甚至已死的角色)創作新故事的同時,依然可以留在熟悉的領域。


While prequels present a unique opportunity for storytelling, they are often poorly received, from Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, to Exorcist: The Beginning. On the list of film prequels on Wikipedia, 36 were direct-to-video. Prequels like Godfather Part II and Better Call Saul appear to be the exceptions to the rule.

雖然前傳為故事演繹提供了一個獨一無二的機會,但它們往往不受歡迎,例如《當阿呆遇上阿瓜》以及《驅魔人前傳》。在維基百科的電影清單上已有36部前傳影片。不過,《教父2》以及《風騷律師》似乎是例外,這兩部影片很受歡迎。



Why the appeal?

為什麼前傳這麼有魅力?


Society loves origins. Much like our obsession with the lives of celebrities “before they were famous”, we’re naturally curious about the past of characters. The great attraction of the prequel and origin story is that we get to take a look into a character’s elusive past.

人們喜歡追根溯源,這就像我們熱衷於探究名人“成名前”的生活一樣。我們生來就對角色的過去感到好奇。前傳和起源故事的巨大吸引力促使我們前去了解一個角色難以捉摸的過去。


Film scholar Darren Mooney argues origin stories offer what the late Stan Lee called the “illusion of change”, so that our understanding of the character can evolve, even when the character themselves remains more or less the same.

電影學者達倫·穆尼表示,就像已故漫畫大師斯坦·李所説的那樣,起源故事給人一種“改變的錯覺”,這樣即便角色本身大同小異,我們對角色的理解依然可以演化。



Prequels rely on this process of change, and if we can watch this unfold, it can make certain enigmatic characters more relatable – from the Joker to Tony Soprano. This might explain the popularity of prequels in the horror genre, where we see the early years of killers from Norman Bates to Hannibal Lecter.

前傳依靠着這樣的轉變過程,如果我們可以觀看這個展開的故事,它會使小丑及託尼·索普拉諾這樣的神祕角色更深入人心。這也許解釋了恐怖片流行拍前傳的原因,因為從《驚魂序曲》和《漢尼拔·萊克特》等前傳影片中我們可以瞭解到故事中的殺手早期的故事。


Just like sequels, the prequel format is a particularly lucrative business model; Captain Marvel has grossed more than US$1 billion worldwide, continuing Marvel’s blockbuster run. By taking advantage of the prequel angle, production companies can capitalise on their films without needing to be particularly original. This means the big film franchises will likely continue their cinematic reign under the guise of “novel” storytelling techniques.

前傳就像續集一樣,是一種非常賺錢的商業模式,《驚奇隊長》就續寫了漫威大片票房大賣的歷史,其全球票房逾10億美元。通過拍攝前傳,製作公司不需要特具原創性的劇本就可以從電影中獲利。這意味着大片系列很可能會繼續假借“新穎的”故事演繹技巧來稱霸影院。



As film studies scholar Andrew Scahill puts it:

正如電影研究學者安德魯·斯卡希爾所説的那樣:


the prequel offers the pleasure of familiar characters and settings while further exploring the narrative world of the existing text and possibly deepening the audience’s connection with central characters.

前傳影片在進一步探索現有劇本故事的同時,使我們得以享受熟悉的角色和背景所帶來的樂趣,而且可能還會加深觀眾與核心角色之間的紐帶。


Yet he also acknowledges that “as an industrial mode, the prequel provides the financial safety of a tested storyline with a built-in audience”. This means popular culture, once a thriving field of experimental storytelling, risks becoming ever more derivative as it heads into the next decade.

然而,他也承認,“前傳作為一種產業模式,它為一條檢驗過的故事線提供了固定的觀眾,來保障其收益”。這意味着在流行文化中,一旦某種試驗性的演繹技巧發展起來,未來十年可能會有人冒險拍攝更多衍生劇。



When prequels go wrong

當前傳失利了


Prequels are more difficult to pull off than a sequel, because we already know how the story ends. As AMC President Sarah Barnett said of Better Call Saul: “We know clearly the end was already written before the beginning began.” Filmmakers must also contend with the natural process of time, since actors inevitably age. The task is to make the back story both engaging and authentic to the original narrative.

前傳比續集更難吸引觀眾,因為我們已經知道了故事的結局。AMC公司總裁薩拉·巴尼特在提到《風騷律師》時説道,“我們清楚地知道,在故事開始之前,其結局就已經寫好了。”電影製作人還得應對時間的自然作用,因為演員們必定會變老。他們的任務就是使背景故事既有趣又忠於原作。


The Star Wars prequels illustrate how easy it is to do a bad job. The first two films in particular were poorly received and accused of bad writing, equally terrible acting, and falling well short of the original trilogy in regards to storytelling. When prequels are weak, it often seems as though they are simply there to make money for production companies.

《星球大戰》前傳用實例説明,前傳很容易拍不好。特別是前兩部影片,其口碑很差,觀眾們指責其劇本不加、演員演技糟糕,而且在故事演繹上與原作三部曲嚴重不符。當前傳表現不佳,這往往看上去就像製作公司拍前傳就是為了賺錢一樣。


While sequels and reboots defined the 2010s in popular culture, prequels are set to define the 2020s, which is not necessarily good news. Ironically, there is no longer anything particularly original about origin stories, as the format has already started to exhaust itself.

當續集和重製影片定義了21世紀前十年的流行文化,前傳也許會引領21世紀20年代的流行文化,但這未必是好消息。諷刺的是,原創故事不再有特別原創的內容,而這種形式已經開始走到了盡頭。


編輯:梅園西牆的王半仙



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