Opinion piece by Eddie on 23/08/2019
Recently (as I am sure many others did also) I had the pleasure of watching two new original pieces of film-making churned out through the Hollywood system, buzzy horror Midsommar and the much hyped Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Two films, two very different filmmakers but wholeheartedly passionate and non-conforming directors that delivered the goods (flaws and all) in both occurrences.
Both these films have come to us at a time where the boffins in Hollywood and major cinema chains from around the world stand united, worried about the state of cinema as dwindling ticket sales, a huge collection of summer flops and cold receptions to a large slate of films stand head and shoulders above the more successful stories of the year such as behemoths Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Toy Story 4, Aladdin, Spider-Man: Far From Home and The Lion King.
In amongst these scatterings of successes there’s been an abundance of flopping and downright disappoints with such outings as Men In Black International, Dumbo, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Shaft, The Hustle, The Secret Life of Pets 2, Hellboy, The Lego Movie 2, Angry Birds 2 and Happy Death Day 2U headlining a long list of remakes, sequels, prequels and reimagining’s that have proven to be anything but drawcards for the type of audience engagement that has previously existed for these type of properties.
In a an age where Hollywood and movie kingdoms from around the world have made a habit out of churning out tried and true properties in hopes of easy wins (that just so happen to cost millions upon millions in budget and marketing), what a breath of fresh air it is to head along to the cinema to watch a film that can genuinely surprise you and take you on a journey of the unexpected, the exciting and the unknown.
It’s not to say there’s anything wrong with sequels or fresh takes perse but the over indulgence of this very serious issue has been more evident this year than ever before and when you get to enjoy such high quality original offerings as Tarantino’s latest gem or a genuinely unnerving fresh horror product, you once more realize that original is still best and audiences aren’t as foolish as big studios take them to be.
It’s not likely that Midsommar or Hollywood will reign with the supreme champs at the end of years box office takings but both films would be looking to turn in a healthy profit for their studios, who thankfully backed the original efforts in to perform on the biggest stages around the world, up against such quality offerings as Hobbs and Shaw , Angel Has Fallen and A Dog’s Journey.
As the industry amusingly talks of doom and gloom with the changing of consumer habits with an abundance of streaming services changing the way viewers indulge in content and fret about one of the lowest ticket sale years in some time, there’s a refreshingly surprising answer at the heart of this industry wide problem.
There’s a time and place for remakes and sequels, a comfort food of sorts that’s fine in moderation but there’s also a need to continue to provide audience’s with fresh, original and genre-shaking offerings instead of loading us up with films that often try very little to offer us up anything of long lasting substance or remembrance.
If Hollywood fails to acknowledge this, its highly likely they will find themselves with more hard times coming their way as audiences of various backgrounds and desires seek to unearth quality original content in all the other places now available to them.
Let’s face it, at the end of the day original is still best, hands down.