Feature: Movie trends that need to stop
This is something I’ve been looking to write for a while. This came as a result of a few things, including an article on certain dialogue clichés that have to go. These for me are wider issues and some of them may not bother you. Also just to make clear obviously there are exceptions but often those exceptions are not enough to justify these particular irritations.
The pop song trailer
Most people will point to Guardians of the Galaxy for popularising this style of trailer. However for me the best example remains Kung Fu Hustle, using The Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz far more effectively than Suicide Squad.
Now some pop song trailers are brilliant. Logan’s use of Johnny Cash fitted the mood. By contrast Pirates of the Caribbean 5’s use of Johnny Cash seemed jarring and out of place. What should be the nail in the coffin for this was a cover version of Come Together for the Justice League trailer. I get what it’s supposed to mean but it lacked the energy that I was hoping for it.
The “Give it back to Marvel” argument
First up, do you think Marvel would’ve greenlit Deadpool? If your answer to this is “Yes” then please remove your fanboy goggles now.
Marvel are not perfect or infallible. While it is true that they have revolutionised the way the comic book movie genre they don’t always get it right. I am wary of any studio having too much power and it is easy to forget the reason studios have these rights is because Marvel sold them when they were on the verge of bankruptcy.
Before anyone says anything I am not banging the drum for DC or even particularly Fox or any other studio. But I do feel that if left unchecked they will become complacent (see Pixar).
The “I can’t believe you haven’t seen” fanboy/girl
I am a fan of Tamara’s Never Seen, a great show on Channel Awesome whereby the actor Tamara Chambers watches films that she missed, either through not seeing them when she was a kid or simply not getting round to them.
The comments I’ve seen have been unacceptable, effectively abusing someone for not having your particular taste and in some cases questioning her professionalism. Yes I get that YouTube comments can be nasty but I feel this as an argument needs to be addressed.
A better approach is to encourage people instead of trashing someone for not seeing your particular holy grail explain to them why they might like it.
No more lazy remakes
Remakes are not necessarily a bad thing. For example The Departed is a remake, as were John Carpenter’s The Thing, Little Shop of Horrors, David Cronenberg’s The Fly and so forth.
However for me a remake needs to look at a property and find a new angle. A good example of this is the recent remake of Ghost In The Shell. There are a number of reasons why I think this was a flawed idea from the start. While the controversy regarding Scarlet Johannson’s casting was a big one for me there are more fundamental issues; the fact the images seem cribbed from the original anime, the simple fact that no amount of budget can replace the fluidity and style of the animation and so on.
If you are going to remake something find a different angle. If not don’t bother!
Ghost In The Shell also brings up the awkwardness of casting. What we need to do is look at how to keep things fresh and interesting.
A big example recently was Iron Fist. Now a lot of people will point out that Danny Rand was white in the comics. But judging from the reviews (that vary from “it’s ok” to “it’s not very good”) we seem to have a character who is not engaging on the level of the other Defenders, finding a new angle should’ve been something they’d have worked out in the script phase.
Ultimately an Asian lead may not have made a weak script more engaging but it may have mitigated some of the more damaging reviews and provided a different dynamic for the Defenders show.
At the end of the day it’s not just about who is cast but the script and the direction, something that people need to consider, especially if they are working with beloved properties.
Which leads to the final argument…
“It’s not like the …. (source material)”
Adaptation is a process. Your favourite characters in a comic, book or video game may not translate on screen. A big problem is people trying too hard to please fans of the original. A good example of this was the first Harry Potter film that I personally found a bit of a slog due to its slavish adherence to the prose.
Another example was Sin City 2. Visually stunning but lacking in any real oomph under the surface. While having the original creator involved can be a massive benefit (for example Scott Pilgrim) this was not the case here.
With Guardians of the Galaxy 2 around the corner I think we need to remember that sometimes disregarding the details of the source material but staying true to the spirit of it is more important.
Apologies if you feel this is a bit of a rant. Ultimately my fear is of anything becoming too formulaic. Whether it’s a trailer, casting or a movie I hope for more originality but more importantly that we as an audience respect and support that originality.