Filmmakers Following Trends Lose Quality



Just like the news today, entertainment, especially film, follows certain trends. The past few years saw a rise in vampire and werewolf movies. Before that, disaster movies. This year, zombies, apocalypse, fairy tales, and giant monsters. Sometimes these occur all at once.

Since last year saw the conclusion of the Twilight franchise, producers are on the hunt for the next multi-billion dollar franchise. Peter Jackson, looking to reclaim the title for biggest movie of the year, recently released the first film in his planned Hobbit trilogy. Despite its financial success, Jackson’s film appears to buckle beneath the same weight as most films that follow the latest trends: money over quality.

Many pages could be written about the abundance of sequels and remakes moviegoers are subjected to every year. But the bandwagon approach to filmmaking is just as pervasive and detrimental as the sequalization of America. When filmmakers follow trends instead of good stories, quality suffers.

For example, “Hansel and Gretel” follows on the heels of fairy tale-themed television shows like “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time.” Though a visual delight, “Hansel and Gretel” was a calculated bust, a futile nonevent.

For a sample of what’s to come to a multiplex near you: “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “Jack the Giant Slayer.”

Filmmakers take a risk hoping their latest offering will strike a chord with the public. And even if a movie fails in America, there is always the safety net of overseas sales. But if money is the only justification, quality cannot help but suffer.

I worry when I see a film that is “inspired by” or “in the tradition of.” More often than not, such a movie never realizes the grandiose expectations touted by movie trailers. But then I, like many moviegoers, fall into the paradoxical trap of “if you didn’t see it, you have no right to complain.” Perhaps, but seeing it only encourages the trend to continue.

Also part of the current trends is post-apocalyptic and/or zombie invasion. Not only is it infecting the small screen in the form of “Revolution” and “The Walking Dead,” but the big screen as well. “Warm Bodies” is the most recent trend follower. We will soon see “World War Z.”

And any trend will continue as long as the cash flows.

It is not that I blame Hollywood. The industry is simply responding to what we want, what we support by dollar votes at the theater’s box office voting booth. Our only option is to demand films of quality. When we start refusing junk, Hollywood will respond in kind. It would be nice to start a trend of quality films. That’s a trend worth enduring.

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