By Joe Strange
So it’s 2015 and it’s time to start reassessing our lives. The thing is, I’m a lost cause that has no hope, so instead of coming up with my own resolutions, I’ve decided to write some new years resolutions for cinema. Now most of the films due out this year won’t take heed of these, but I’m thinking that this article might just change the entire meaning of cinema in 2016. We’re playing the long game here folks, so let’s begin.
1) No more origin stories
Super heroes are out there now, and there’s no stopping the freight train that is comic book movies, but can we please have a break from origin stories? With heroes like Batman, Superman and Spiderman, I don’t think there’s a person alive who doesn’t know their origins (Dead parents, Dead planet, Dead Uncle). Some origins might be really fun to tell, but that doesn’t mean we want 45 minutes before the hero finally does something. Apparently Ant-man isn’t going to focus on the origin of the hero’s power and will instead jump into the action, and there are rumours that the same will be for Dr Strange, with the call to action happening a lot earlier in the story. But things like Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Flash? We just don’t know.
I understand that people need to know where these people came from and what brought them where they are now but there are other ways to tell those stories, and recounting their origins is, at this point in the genre, lazy and overdone.
2) Leave the past alone!
No, I don’t mean stop making historical films, those are rad. I’m talking about the incessant reboots and remakes that we’ve seen over the last few years. There was a day late last year where we thought that Aunt May was getting her own Spiderman film, now it obviously turned out to be false, but the thing is, rebooting is so common place that it was almost believable.
2012 saw the Judge Dredd reboot (granted, that was great) but it also saw the Total Recall remake, which was less awesome. Earlier this year we saw the quintilienth version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this time from Michael Bay, and that sucked a fat one. While they are brilliant, we’ve also seen a new slew of Planet of the Apes films, which is another age old property.
Later this year we’ll see Terminator Genisys, which besides being a stupid way of spelling the word genesis, is a completely unnecessary ret-con of the entire Terminator franchise, most of which are really well loved. That’s not even the only Arnie property to get remade recently, (well, in 2010) we saw Predators. The general feeling I get here is that Hollywood is full of people who loved these franchises as they were getting into the business and want to do them justice, but they’re just not. Just make some new stuff up guys okay?
One caveat kids, if we’re going to see Spiderman in the MCU we’re going to have to reboot the character, but that doesn’t mean we need an entire film for him, nor does it mean we need another origin story (see point 1).
3) Cut Down on the CGI
We get it guys, computer generated images are great, they allow you to show amazing, unbelievable things, and at a fraction of the cost. But come on, some of you are just taking the Michael. (Bay)
One of the worst offenders for this in 2014 was Peter Jackson. Peter, we know that you can do practical effects and blend them incredibly with digital assets, you’ve got an entire trilogy behind you to prove that, so why, in all of middle earth, did you feel the need to CG beloved Scottish comedian Billy Connolly? It was unnecessary, tacky and you should feel bad.
The reason so many people love Christopher Nolan is because of his view on practical effects, he’s one of the few directors out there today who will take practicality to its limit and then, and only then, will he unleash the CGI wolves. Hell, this man dropped a plane into the Scottish highlands for the Dark Knight Rises. Miniatures, and models still work, and with diligence and attention to detail you’ll get a final product that holds up much better with time.
Obviously I’m not saying that we should cut CGI from the set list completely but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
4) Let Ant-man be good. Please.
This final one might be the most important, Marvel have proven they can do an awful lot with a bunch of characters no one’s heard of with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, but Ant-man is something different all together.
People are still on the fence about the loss of Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright, because it was due to him that this film was being made at all, while others defiantly claim that Marvel can do no wrong, but to me, it’s still all up in the air.
With a story that, on the surface, sounds very similar to 2008’s Ironman (Man falls on hard time, man gets suit, man uses suit to right his wrongs) and the decision not to use Hank Pym, one of the most interesting, troubled and flawed characters in Marvel’s repertoire, Ant-man could fall flat.
Now I’m not saying Ant-man will be underwhelming, this is Marvel after all, but it might not be overwhelming, and I for one hope that I don’t leave the cinema on July 17th feeling merely whelmed.