The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
How Can Colorado Quarterback Shedeur Sanders Improve For the 2025 NFL Draft?
How Can Colorado Quarterback Shedeur Sanders Improve For the 2025 NFL Draft?
June 6, 2024

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders stands out as a prime prospect for the 2025 NFL Draft, and it’s no surprise he's the current favorite...

Thorn: Stop making cult classic movies into musicals

Thorn%3A+Stop+making+cult+classic+movies+into+musicals
Collegian | Madelyn Hendricks

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

The entertainment industry has entered an era of creative burnout. Very few new ideas are being made into blockbuster box office hits, and most of what is being promoted in mainstream media consists of remakes or overused and predictable plot archetypes.

Ad

One major side effect of this mass burnout is the ever-increasing phenomenon of cult classic movies being remade as musical adaptations. These musicals consistently demonstrate the unfortunate decline of the film industry into an algorithmic money machine, prioritizing profits over the artistic quality of the productions themselves. Transforming movies with large and loyal cult followings into musical versions is an obvious cash grab and takes away from the value of the films.

These songs elaborate far too much on the movie’s classic one-liners, and much like the songs in ‘Mean Girls,’ the musical numbers feel forced and lack the humor of the original movie.”

Musicals themselves are not inherently bad forms of entertainment. Incorporating meaningful and impactful musical performances into the narrative of a story calls for fantastic writing and a talented cast. Musicals are a celebration of tremendous talent and consistent hard work to maximize the entertainment value of a dramatic production.

The main artistic issue with musicals based on nonmusical movies is the songs generally don’t add much to the plot. A major part of pieces originally created as musicals, like “Hamiltonand “The Sound of Music,” is that the songs tend to drive the story and provide insights into the plot while also adding a fun singalong element to the film or play. Musicals based on movies often lack insight and meaning within the songs and have to resort to creating bland filler songs to bring the musical element. 

One of the most currently relevant examples of the movie-to-musical phenomenon is Tina Fey’s “Mean Girls.” The movie was an instant cult classic when it was released in 2004, raking in $130,160,481 in box office sales worldwide. It was quickly considered one of the best teen movies ever made and was dearly beloved by audiences worldwide, which led to a sequel release in 2011.

Then in 2018, a Broadway musical version of “Mean Girls,” also written by Tina Fey, was introduced to stages worldwide. The musical gained enough popularity that it was turned into a movie musical earlier this year. However, the musical falls flat because it turns very minute moments in the original movie into drawn-out musical numbers, like “Sexy,” in which Karen is picking out her Halloween costume. Many of the songs in the musical feel like unnecessary filler and take away from the comedic value of the writing.

Another victim of this trend was the 1988 comedy thriller “Heathers.” This movie is a grotesquely funny indie dark comedy that does not compute well into a showy, upbeat musical piece, so the creators of the 2010 Broadway musical version had to take many liberties with the plot, including attempting to redeem the antihero Veronica and making her a less cynical and sadistic character. These plot changes do a great disservice to the original dark comedic movie to make it more palatable.

Another issue with the “Heathers” musical adaptation is the songs themselves. Many of the play’s songs draw from iconically hilarious lines in the original movie, including “I Am Damaged” and “My Dead Gay Son.” These songs elaborate far too much on the movie’s classic one-liners, and much like the songs in “Mean Girls,the musical numbers feel forced and lack the humor of the original movie.

There are plenty more musical remakes produced in both live-action theatrical pieces and movie musicals that bring the same issues, including the new “Wonkamovie starring Timothée Chalamet, which marks the third major movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” — one of which already featured numerous musical numbers. The new “Wonka” attempts to redeem itself by revolving the plot around the titular character’s life before he became a world-renowned chocolate maker but still lacks originality and fills much of the film’s running time with unnecessary musical numbers. 

Instead of reusing the same tired ideas that have been thrown around the entertainment industry for decades, Hollywood writers and playwrights alike should return to the drawing board and create new concepts for movies and musicals that are original, intentional and artistically driven.

Ad

Reach Astrid Thorn at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *