Jan 6, 2015

Review: Allergy to Originality (2012)

Allergy to Originality was one of the short films shown in last year's Sundance Film Festival. This year's edition will go from January 22nd to February 1st, so for sure there will be a new crop of short films that I'll probably never get around to seeing even if I should.

As much as I'd like to see many more short films, I don't seem to be able to fit too many into my movie schedule. Every year I always get a craving for some short films around awards season though and this year is no different.


Genre: animation, short, history
Directed by: Drew Christie
Produced by: Drew Christie
Written by: Drew Christie
Music by: Spencer Thun
Running time: 5 minutes
Production company: N/A
Distributed by: N/A
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry

Starring: Ian Picco



A solitary man arrives at a cinema and looks at the listing of movies. From Men in Black 3 to Prometheus, he complains to the booth attendant that Hollywood must be allergic to originality since every movie is either a sequel, prequel, adaptation, etc. The attendant quickly has an answer for the man and it's not one that he can really argue against.


The question about creativity in Hollywood is one that I'm sure a lot of people have asked themselves over the past few years. We're not even getting just sequels or prequels anymore, we're getting "cinematic universes" now. Marvel/Disney are the originators of the whole concept I guess and just wait until DC, Warner Brothers, and Sony get into the game as they've announced.

The thing is, Hollywood has always done sequels. Is seven sequels to Halloween plus a remake and its own sequel/remakes enough evidence for you? It would be too easy to find more. Also, how often have we seen Hollywood release two movies with similar storylines in the same year like A Bug's Life and Antz or The Legend of Hercules and Hercules? In this day and age, sequels and a limited amount of original ideas shouldn't surprise us.

The attendant in the ticket booth brings up an interesting idea though. According to him, pretty much all art in history is plagiarized which he quotes from the Wikipedia article on plagiarism. You can read it here if you want: plagiarism

There's a very clever progression from there and Drew Christie does a good job at keeping things light and humourous at the same time. The animation is simplistic, but works very well for its type of subject matter. It looks like it might be easy to pull off, but I don't think it's as easy as it looks. It's also just a nice break from the usual 3D CG animation that we're all so used to now. 

AtO isn't going to change your life, but it provides some good food for thought. Christie avoids taking the easy snobbish route when it comes to sequels in Hollywood and he actually goes a great deal further with his thinking. I like a good sequel myself, but I sure do wish more people would see this short. After all, do any of us really need to see Taken 3, Night at the Museum: The Secret Tomb or Annie? Probably not. 




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