So, for a long time now I’ve been thinking about the institution of filmmaking and its evolution over the years. I never thought of myself as a very serious movie buff, but I do appreciate the experience of seeing a uniquely creative film.
I really started getting into film analysis after seeing Moonrise Kingdom. I didn’t really know what I was getting into when we went to see this movie, but it was so good. It was so unique and personal and moving. There’s something about all of Wes Anderson’s films that stir the deep levels of emotion and recognition within me. And they are so creative. I aspire to create stories that come even a tiny bit close to his.
And now, Moonrise Kingdom is one of my favorite movies.
But these types of movies are rare gems today. When compared to the larger population of films made today, the rest are epic disappointments. I feel that at least 95 percent of the movies made today are a simple rehashing of books or remakes of former movies. Or they are extremely unnecessary sequels (which, why?) And they keep getting worse.
The first movie I saw made after a book I actually read, was Twilight. I know. And I was really excited. I can definitely see the appeal of making movies out of books. We all love to read books to experience the story on our own terms. But there is something exciting about seeing it actually play out in real life, on the big screen. What I really love about it is that more people would be exposed to the stories I love and the important lessons to be learned from it. And I think there are definitely some instances where movie-makers succeeded. I really loved the adaptations of The Help and The Hunger Games.
But, let’s just say it, because we all know it: Twilight was bad. The subsequent movies got slightly better as they went on, but they were bad. I can’t really speak for Harry Potter, because I haven’t read the books (I’m working on it!), but they seemed fine to me. However, with both of these series I really didn’t see the need to split the final installment into two parts. It’s obvious this was simply a strategic move to squeeze more money out of the whole endeavor.
And then we have Suicide Squad. Now, I’ve already reviewed this movie in a former post, which you can see here. Now we know that we could’ve gotten a whole different movie from director David Ayer — a darker, more involved and possibly more comprehensive movie (most of these possibilities were issues I had with the movie that was released.) My boyfriend was telling me (and I read) that Warner Bros. made Ayer change so much of the movie because they believed it would cater to a larger audience and (the kicker): bring in more money.
And now they have a movie that has greatly disappointed us. This is ironic because it seems Warner Bros’. goal was to use Suicide Squad to come back from the equally horrible Batman vs. Superman. If they would have let Ayer make the film from his own vision, I think they would have achieved this goal. Instead, they created a flat, candy-coated, money-centric movie that is really not worth the time to see it.
So maybe it’s movie companies that have lost their way. But we are now in a film ghost-town rather than a golden age. You know it’s really bad when you go to the theater and your expecting a disappointment, instead of excitedly going, anticipating a magical, thrilling experience.
It seems the film industry is more interested in money rather than the art and creative fulfillment of movie-making. I feel like the film industry used to have more integrity — filmmakers used to put their hearts and souls into the creation of a film. They painstakingly crafted the script, the scenery, the costumes and even the actors. Directors used to actually put in the work to find the perfect actor or actress to portray a certain character and all their traits. There were times, in the golden age of film, when you could really feel the passion coming through each part of the film. And it really made it an experience.
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t directors and producers who do this today. Every year the Academy Awards roll around, we get to see experts’ opinions on the current films. And I trust them. Nominees are always the creme de la creme of the year; I’m talking films like 12 Years a Slave, Philomena, Room, Spotlight and The King’s Speech. These are the films that still show that integrity and passion. And these are the films that give you a real, emotional response.
However, despite their fantastic execution, they are all interpretations of stories or books. Again, I love these interpretations. I have mentioned my love for Philomena, and Room was fantastic, despite making you angry and uncomfortable when you watch it (and that’s what creative media is supposed to do.) But I want something new. I want something unique that is created specifically for film. I don’t want to compare it to any other version of the same story. I want a unique experience without any strings attached.
I hope this can serve as a call to action for writers, directors and producers. Make something you love and can be proud of. Do. Not. Worry. About. Money. I know that’s hard for a lot of you, but please. The film industry is losing credibility and respect and I want to keep the magic of the silver screen alive. But to do that, you need to create something you’re passionate about, and then stand up for it. The rest will follow.
When was the last time you had an emotional reaction to a film? How do you feel about the current state of the film industry? How can this industry come back for a renaissance? Let’s talk.