After enduring the spirited, yet underwhelming and incomprehensible casting decision to furnish the opportunity for the diminutive, yet mega-star Tom Cruise in portraying the prodigiously multi-faceted Jack Reacher, readers and fans have finally reached a harmonious and satisfactory threshold. With pressure amassing from all angles, including an indelibly scathing “Tom Cruise is no Jack Reacher” group allowed to persist on Mark Zuckerberg’s F***book brand, the power brokers huddled up and the collective brain trust culminated in drama hunk Alan Ritchson assuming the role of the ex-army vigilantly empathetic nomad.
While the cameras failed to obscure the vast height discrepancy of all 5’7 of Cruise on a good day failing to live up to the 6’5 strapping prowess of Lee Child’s heroic character, at 6″2 the rugged demeanor of Ritchson is much more suited to align with the imagination of the audience in visualizing a walking nightmare for fictional adversaries and low down bad guys. The streaming series of “Reacher” was recently launched through the Amazon’s Prime platform, and while anticipation reached a crescendo, the general consensus for the modernized storyline of Child’s initial novel “The Killing Floor”, has achieved an ascent to just below the apex of hysteria, as many viewers have opted to binge watch entire first season. The pathological behavior is a symptom of the information age, and the insatiable lust for fresh content, galvanized by the insufferable response to the pandemic by elected officials motivated by control and reengineering society, rather than dutifully serving their constituents. With the shear magnitude and staggering amount of content available on demand, the reflex of the masses to immerse themselves within a palatable fantasy world is on par with the trajectory towards swapping the rigors of reality for a contrived and manageable existence.
The other prestigious anti-hero franchise of Bob Lee Swagger fame endured similar growing pains in the not tall Mark Wahlberg selected to play the lanky and angular fictional character. Of course, the grade-A celebrity attracted a diverse audience outside of the traditional confines of Stephen Hunter novels. However the disconnect with the mental vision of readers has yet to be rectified in the manner and excitement of unleashing a Ritchson-style actor who is actually believable in winning altercations and fights that defy the odds in putting the protagonist on a pedestal above the average mortal.
With the convolution of technological innovations and the fatigue of the pandemic, viewers have gravitated away from the Silver screen and the cinema experience towards the myriad of streaming content offered in a convenient ala-carte format and fostering comprehensive creativity. Without the constraints and challenges of telling a story in 120 minutes, a multitude of literary characters have literally come to life, and the Jack Reacher’s, Bob Lee Swagger’s, Julia Crain’s, and Jack Taylor’s previously bound with the pages of books, can now be reimagined through various devices. However, as previously mentioned, readers can be fickle if they don’t approve of what they see, and the dynamic environment of the thriving indie production industry promotes accountability, at least through artistic license.
As petabytes of quality content flood the average consumer under columns of effulgent digitized visual and audio decadence that is free from the traditional and morays of Hollywood, the entertainment industry is forced to evolve or become extinct through questionable decisions in making unrealistic casting decisions. In a world dictated by choices, if the major studios don’t get it right, someone outside the inner circle invariably will, and the rest is history.