For decades, movie studios have been trying to find the formula for the perfect cash cow to line their pockets with the proverbial gold, and if the audience like the movies, then that’s fine with them also. Most of the action and science fiction films are cut from the same cookie tray that had been molded by what the studios believe will make a great film. The characters may be different, the actors may be different, maybe even the storyline is different, but what remains the same is the basic underlining of what every film these days show: bad guys lose, good guys win. The hero gets, and kisses, the girl, the universe is saved from oblivion……YEAH!!! SNORE! I see it in every film that I’ve seen. I have to turn away to avoid getting nauseous whenever the hero kisses the damsel in distress. It happens every time and it gets predictable. I have to admit that the technology is amazing, but what they lack is originality and heart when it comes to making films these days.
Wonderful classics like Alien, even the sequel Aliens, are pushed aside for the next thing in technology. 3D, Real 3D, and IMAX 3D have taken over the industry to replace the old style of movie making: original imagination. Yes, I agree that the eye popping images are impressive, but if the 3D is put in post-production of the film, then it is just an annoyance and you’ve just wasted a staggering sixteen dollars. That money could easily go to dinner at McDonalds, or a medium pizza from Pizza Hut, there at least you can enjoy it.
Remakes, reboots and re-imaginations have always been the cause of my headaches and migraines. I have just one question…….WHY?! Why piggyback on something that is already considered as classic? Does anybody have any original thoughts or ideas in their stupid little heads? Old TV shows like Starsky and Hutch, S.W.A.T., The Honeymooners, and the Green Hornet are several examples of remakes gone horribly wrong. There is no appeal to them, and no reason to make them in the first place. I’ll admit there were a few remakes that were okay. 21 Jump Street with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum; the Karate Kid with Jackie Chan; and The Addams Family with Raul Julia and Angelica Huston, are a few examples that didn’t suck. If you get A-list actors and don’t stray away from the original concept, then it can work. But if you try to alter the original concept to appeal to the modern audience, then the magic is gone. I hear through the grapevine that they are remaking Amityville Horror and Poltergeist. This is my point; the studios have the arrogance to think that they can make them better. My advice, leave them alone. These movies are classics and should be watched in their original form. You don’t need to make it better. Unfortunately, my opinion is just a fart in the wind. If they think it will make them money, then not even the Great Flood will stop them.
My thing is this, if you make a movie, be original. If you can’t be original, give your story something that the audiences can appreciate. The arrogance of the movie industry makes me upset. The ideas and the stories mostly come from novels, plays, comic books, and old TV shows. I feel like we’re being lazy and don’t care enough to bring an original thought on screen.
Summer movies that get spit out left and right each year try to get us to laugh, be frightened, and to get our adrenaline pumping. That’s fine; I like a good chuckle, to get my blood flowing with excitement, and to cover my eyes when watching a horror film. But I want to be amazed. A lot of horror films try to scare the crap out of you with blood and guts, CGI, and the shock factor. For many of you who don’t know what the shock factor is, they are scenes in a horror film where the director tries to catch you off guard by popping in a close up shot of a demon, ghost, or something that goes bump in the night. It’s supposed to evoke a response from the audience. Most of the time it works, but if you watch a lot movies like these so many times, it gets predictable, and you don’t want that in a film. My opinion of what a horror film should be is what you don’t expect. I remember watching this movie called The Strangers in the theater. It stars Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. There was no CGI, no ghosts, nor demons, just people in masks. What made this film a horror film is the unknown intentions of these masked people. They had no hidden vendetta, no logical reason to be there and yet the silent stalking of this couple was incredibly intense. These masked people never said a word, but there presence spoke volumes. It was the first time in a long while that I felt scared and uneasy when I left the theater. I actually went home and double checked my windows and doors. That’s how you should feel when leaving a horror film.
The “lost footage” style is being used so many times that it is not lost anymore; it is just misplaced for a short time until someone finds within a few months. But even that doesn’t save the film from being boring and predictable. The “lost footage” genre started with a small low budget film called The Blair Witch Project. This idea was new at the time, and it was the first time where we get to see and feel the raw fear and desperation of these victims. Normally the audience doesn’t see the events that led up to the crime. It gets explained by a third party after the fact. This film gave us a new way of looking at things. It quickly latched on the mainstream and now everybody wanted to use this style of filmmaking. Probably the worst example of piggy backing the concept is Cloverfield. Their use of a camcorder was asinine. I’ll admit that at first, the camcorder did have its uses. Filming a party with it was logical because you want to record that special event. But as the night went on, it got pretty ridiculous holding a camcorder when you are running for your life. PUT DOWN THE FRAKKING VIDEO AND RUN LIKE HELL, YOU FRAKKING MORON!!!!!!! But no, the moron felt he had an obligation to document everything that went on that night. In the end they all died, what a shocker!!!!!! I can understand that movie directors want to give the audience first hand experience to witness something pretty surreal, but try to make an attempt to use your common sense when shooting the frakking picture. I would have loved the film if it was shot the regular way: with a professional crew and great special effects. I couldn’t even see the monster most of the time in the film.
However, there is an upside to this fiasco, a few small budget films called Paranormal Activity 1, 2, and 3. Yes there were a few more sequels after those ones, but the last two were pretty much of a stretch. The first one reinvigorated the first person single camera style with gritty amateurish camera work. Even though the acting was okay, it was the unseen activity that gave me goose bumps. The best parts of the film were the videotaping of the unusual activity occurring in the bedroom (get your mind out of the gutter, you dirty birdie!!!). It was pretty creepy watching strange footsteps appear out of thin air, watching the woman being dragged out of the bed by an unseen force, and also slowly watching the woman being possessed. All the videotaping in the bedroom was done by a still camera mounted on a tripod. The couple’s intention was to investigate and document the strange things happenings in their house. They got more than they bargained for. The second one is a continuation of the first one, but with a different view of it. It follows the sister’s family through the same ordeal, but instead of someone following you around with a single camera, the footage gets viewed from the security camera mounted all over the house. To me that is a clever way of filming a paranormal movie. The shots are cool to watch because of the angle of the camera lets you see every corner of the house, plus it has a practical purpose. The third one goes further back to when the sister’s from the first two films were little girls about ten and twelve I believe. The “lost footage” style worked in these three films because the camera shots worked. There was a logical reason why cameras were there. Plus it made the story more authentic. When applying a new style of camerawork to a film, it is exciting and fresh. But when that style gets used so many times, it becomes tiresome.
My views and opinions of the film industry may be a little cynical and harsh, but I write what I see, and I’m not going to apologize for it. I love movies. Ever since I was a child, the movies helped me develop a sense of wonder and imagination. The creativity of the stories helped me connect to the main characters and follow their journey. Stories are extremely important to me. Technology is an important part of making a film, but if you can’t connect to the characters and their journey, then it doesn’t work, at least not for me.