Average Ed, aka Ed Leath, teamed up with SpaLife Magazine to review Hollywood’s latest blockbuster, Baywatch, and share his musings on the film industry’s continuous revival of franchises.

Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron in Baywatch. ©  Allstar/Paramount Pictures

If you read reviews of Baywatch elsewhere, it’s fair to say that the film has not exactly received the reception that it was expecting or hoping for. Rotten Tomatoes rated it at nineteen per cent! I suppose, the idea of lifeguards being detectives and fighting criminals is a bit far-fetched, as in my experience most lifeguards tend to sit in a big chair getting a fat sun tan.

The film itself was full of action, classic ‘Baywatch’ swimsuits and lots of attractive people running around. The plot was standard and the special effects were pretty cool. For me, this is usually enough to feel satisfied after watching; I tend to forget about the lack of storyline once enough explosions go off. Maybe I’ve had enough of this type of movie or maybe because I knew I was writing this I looked more closely – either way, I was disappointed.

The ‘new’ Baywatch squad. © Allstar/Paramount Pictures

During the 90s, when the original series starred, it was never exactly a stand out show. The excitement was more for the lack of clothing and the attractiveness of its cast than the storyline. Given that the film is a reincarnation, it would be wrong if they distanced too far from the original. Therefore, I suppose the film was always going to be a bit outlandish and largely dependent on action and athletic physiques, rather than a gripping story.

However, the movie did throw up some entertainment. For the first half of the movie, Zac Efron, as Matt Brody, and Dwayne Johnson, as Mitch Buchannon, appear to compete in every form possible and it’s hilarious. Both actors individually have appeared in several comedic roles, and it really does shine through. In any Behind the Scenes clips or interviews you see, they are both clearly extremely professional, it’s great to see them bouncing off one another and see how serious they take the work. The result is that they run the film, while their co-stars offer support.

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Dwayne Johnson replacing David Hasselhoff as lifeguard Mitch Buchannon in the new remake of Baywatch. © Allstar/Paramount Pictures

The biggest problem with the film is not actually the film itself, it’s what it represents about the film industry. This film is a remake of a popular television series. It’s nothing new, it’s not original. As film expert David McVay explains:

“The Hollywood system is only after huge box office returns. They have huge studios and infrastructure to pay for. There are a lot of great original films ready to be made out there, [but] most are falling to the independent scene because they are more willing to take risks.”

And there appears to be a running theme in the release of ‘new’ Hollywood films. The industry just reinvents franchises for the sole purpose of making money, and it could be argued that creativity within film production is being lost. It’s these recreations and reinventions that seem to dominate box offices worldwide, rather than those who attempt to create originality.

One of the most prominent examples in modern cinema is the re-releasing of comic book franchises. Favourites such as Avengers, Superman and X-Men, have been remade time and time again with different actors and different styles. The problem is, you’ve seen it all before and it’s a bit of a bore.

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Former The Lightning Thief star Alexandra Daddario starring as Summer Quinn in Baywatch 2017. © Allstar/Paramount Pictures

In 2015, nine franchise returns or film adaptations of television series were released. It’s good to reminisce, but surely this is too much? Has Hollywood run out of ideas?

Fighting in the ‘for remakes’ corner is Christopher Nolan who has reintroduced a grounded, grittier take on the Batman franchise with the production of Batman Begins. He paved the way for record-breaking box office numbers and critical acclaim. He flipped the script and gave us a more ‘real’ superhero, he reminded fans as to why the Batman is such a cool guy. So I guess, remakes aren’t all bad. I must say, I absolutely loved Nolan’s Batman, but I still want to see more originality!

But anyway, Baywatch is at its best when it’s being nothing more than a raucous, silly action-comedy. Unfortunately, it loses its credibility when it tries to be anything else. When you read reviews from many critics, you tend to find that the film is not highly recommended. I can’t say it should be, but I also think it wasn’t awful.

The movie represents how the film industry will literally do anything to make money. They will drag in a big name cast and throw in as much ludicrousness as they can to fill a few pockets.

But there you go. That’s show business!

Words by Ed Leath

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