Are there any original film ideas left?
It seems Hollywood and originality do not like to mix. The most popular films are often the most generic which is sad because some of the best films I have seen are not hat popular at the Box Office.
With films these days being even more generic and obvious than 20–30 years ago it is easy to understand why people going to the Cinema to watch a film is declining.
I was the latest Blade Runner last week and the film has stayed with me. The original Blade Runner which I had to study in school alongside Boyz In The Hood for Media Studies didn’t make a huge amount of sense when I first watched it. But the film has a huge cult following and is talked about as one of the best Sci-Fi films of all time that is the even more relevant today and deals with so many social issues which I will not go into.
Watching it as an adult the films depths really shone through to me and really made me think. It didn’t do that well at the Box Office when it originally came out probably due to people expecting something other than what they got when they saw it and also because it made you question parts of society we don’t want to think about. The idea was also original then which can also turn audiences off. Change is not always welcomed and when something isn’t understood it is deemed as not very good.
As with all films, I watch them and read reviews of what others thought to see if my understanding was the same as others and also open myself up to learning something new that I may not have thought of. Sequels are one of the hardest films to make because you have to live up to the original and do it justice. Another problem with a sequel is that the idea is no longer original so making it interesting is a tough ask. Usually Directors will make a film bigger and more outlandish to make the viewer sustain their interest. Blade Runner 2049 does not do this. Sadly is has been marketed as a Thriller and the TV Spots show the action sequences. This is not what the film is about. It is a deep character study of what it means to be human and if our actions make us human or where we come from.
Many reviews I have read talk about how it is boring and nothing happens. Society has grown up on cheap and quick thrills offered by the Marvel films and The Fast and Furious films. They offer quick dialogue that serve as a way to get to the next action sequence. It is much easier to stick to a tried and tested formula that works rather than branch out and create amazing originality that may or may not make money.
Original films are an unknown territory. Once you have seen one genre of film you can pretty much guess what will happen next or how they will pan out. Yes there are always twists that you don’t see coming but they all follow the conventions of the particular genre they sit in. An original film has the hard task of sitting within a genre and then redefining it in such a way that the viewer doesn’t just accept the change but also loves the change.
Christopher Nolan did this with his take on Batman. Batman became as dark as the comics intended. The comic like costumes and action we had become accustomed to was no more. We were transported into a troubled mind of a Superhero who moved in the shadows and essentially was a lonely person. The Dark Knight still stands as my all time favourite Superhero film. It is also up there with my favourite films of all time. No other film has taken a tried and tested genre and mixed so many other genre conventions. It is a film you can watch over and over again and still find parts that make it feel like the first time again.
Another film that has also managed to find its own place in a crowed genre is Logan. Easily up there with The Dark Knight this film transcends it genre and becomes its own film. If you did not know he was part of X-Men then this film would easily be a stand-alone film that could match most outside of the Superhero genre.
Inception is probably the last truly original film I can recall. This was a completely original idea that I had not seen on screen before. I know there has been books around dreams within dreams before but a film depicting this in such a thrilling way was unusual and exceptional. All good films like Inception stay with you and make you want to watch them again to see what you have missed or get a better understanding.
For me it is not possible to make an original film because so many ideas have been explored. Even films that seem original once they are produced by Hollywood have probably been done on a smaller scale elsewhere. The best we can expect is an original idea within a tried and tested method that does not fail. If we get films like that then I will be happy.
Until then, I will look forward to the next Marvel film and the Justice League film.