Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Quarantine (Film Review/study of the Hollywood virus)

I put on a dvd called Quarantine - it's a new release horror film, I was not expecting brilliance, as I picked it at random - I've seen a lot of good films by just picking at random (and I've seen a lot of rubbish too).
The opening shot has Jennifer Carpenter (the actor who plays Dexter's sister in the TV series Dexter) standing with a microphone in hand in front of a fire station - she's a news reporter.

After the initial surprise of 'oh, it's her!', I got another surprise 'oh, I've seen this film, but not this film'. It's a new record - under 10 seconds and I know what is going to happen in a film I haven't seen, but there's a second 'new record' here, the film is a remake of a Spanish film Rec (as in 'record' - the film about a news crew reporting on a fire brigade that gets a call-out to a medical emergency and is 'quarantined' in zombie-infected building).

If you look Quarantine up on IMDb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1082868/) you'll find that it used the working title Rec - the makers not denying the fact that it's a shot-for-shot remake, but with the original being less that a year old, the change of title isn't in good faith (I wouldn't have gotten this film if I know it was simply a desecration of Rec), and any arguments supporting the remaker's right to change the title became invalid when they decided to do an exact remake of a current film (if it's the same film it has to have the same name). To use the 'working title' of Rec, but release it as Quarantine amounts to plagiarism, to Copyright Infringement, they are not selling it as Rec, and to leave acknowledgement that it is Rec, hidden just far enough that you have to know already that you have been screwed-over by Video Pirates, isn't good enough.
Those loud FBI warnings at the start of DVD's telling you to be vigilant of copyright infringement - of inferior copies, somehow don't apply to the film they so often proceed.

As one reviewer on IMDb said of Quarantine "I expect the Mona Lisa to be repainted as a god damn cheerleader any day now... " (owen_williams - 1, from the UK)


Another example of a successful film being remade within a year was the British film The Descent [2005], with 3 rip-off's coming out soon after (using the titles: The Cave, The Cavern, and WithIN). In the case of The Descent, the original is in English, has a tigher and far better developed screenplay, and slicker production than the subsequent Hollywood copies - none of the commonly used arguments to justify copyright infringement apply. I assume the only reason that film makers and governments around the world allow this continual process of Hollywood pirating films is that they are powerless to stop it - film makers realise that Americans will not acknowledge a legal system other than their own, that means sueing Hollywood in America, under American law (a fixed contest if ever there was one), and governess of England, of Spain, and Australia etc, aren't going to take issue with the US over a film - America would never consider allowing a Hollywood film maker to be to face copyright infringement proceedings in another country (but Australia happily allowed an Australian citizen to be to be locked-up in a US federal prison for 20years, despite the person having not even been to American - how do break a US federal law if not in America?)

Hollywood are the real Pirates, the real threat to copyright and to cinema in general.
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