Just like many people seeking to escape their lives for a few hours, I love going to the movies. Because Wednesday showings at the local Wehrenberg Theater are so affordable (two tickets for $6), I try to see as many movies as possible. Recently, I have seen some fantastic films (“12 Years a Slave” and “Captain Phillips” to name a few), but some movies I have seen in the last few years have been a complete drag.
Large film studios are to blame. They have turned their films into mega-budgeted brand names that are more interested in putting butts in the seats than in the content displayed on the big screen.
Let me explain: I know I am in the minority when it comes to superhero movies (based on the gross income these movies make when they debut in theaters, I have to be in the minority) because of the fact that I do not particularly enjoy them.
Everytime I watch a superhero movie, I feel as if I have seen it already. The plot is incredibly predictable: the superhero introduces him/herself in some extravagant way, hot chick/dude appears on screen to make the film more aesthetically appealing, everyone ogles the hot chick/dude, the villain does something evil, superhero saves the day and the credits roll. Obviously, some superhero movies have more complexity to them than this bare-bones explanation, but most of the time, I feel like I wasted my money on a movie that has been made before, but with different characters. Even some of Hollywood’s most prestigious directors are noticing this lack of originality in the film industry, and have publicly expressed their concerns for the future of filmmaking.
John Landis — the director of the cult comedy Animal House — recently expressed extreme animosity toward mega-movie studios about 10 days ago at the Mar Del Plata Film Festival in Argentina. He was quoted in the Hollywood Reporter saying, “It’s very common now to spend more money selling a movie than making a movie. So the reason they make remakes and sequels is because they are brands, like Coca Cola. They remake movies because they have presold titles.”
Furthermore, he uses the example of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre to demonstrate that original ideas are being recycled by large movie studios in order to put people in the seats. He describes it as “tragic,” with which I completely agree.
Like I said before, an abundance of movies in the theaters right now have recycled ideas for long periods of time (“Iron Man,” “Spiderman,” “The Hunger Games,” “Thor,” “Superman,” the list goes on and on). None of these movie sequels possess a single original idea, and are taking advantage of the “brand” the originals have created. Think about it: advertising for these movies is everywhere, because they are trying to ensure people show up to the premiers in order to cover the astronomical cost of producing the movie. Other films that are not produced by billion dollar film studios have a disadvantage in the advertising department, so what movies do you think the people show up to? That’s right, the unoriginal, large budget films that billion dollar studios have recycled for years.
The lack of originality and the existence of billion dollar movie studios are ruining the film industry. As this continues to exist, originality will not be found on the big screen for much time to come. In times like these, Netflix has never looked so appealing.
Chris Chipman is a junior English education major and columnist for The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to email@example.com.