image via Hogwarts (Harry Potter Legacy)
image via Pandora (from Avatar)
With mediocre filmmaking, easy cash grabs, and forcing a political standpoint, I think films have reached a new low point. And audiences are finally fed up with big corporations destroying our love for these franchises and are working to stop it.
Political Agenda and the need to be “diverse”
I don’t know if this is a new trend happening with movies, but I feel like they’re becoming too self aware. We no longer see films just being serious and dedicated to their craft. Now everything has to be politically correct and “woke” to appease a certain demographic of audiences.
While embracing our diverse society and differences is important, most times these additions feel forced, insincere, and hypocritical. As a minority myself, I love being able to see myself on the big screens, but only if it comes from a place of heart and doesn’t simply stereotype and gain from the inclusion of varied characters to appeal to a larger crowd.
We frequently hear superficial commentary about female empowerment in dialogue, which comes off as pseudo feminism. Phrases like, “Teaching another girl to read? Isn’t one enough?” from the 2017 live action adaptation of
Beauty and the Beast. This quote just comes off the wrong way because of how it’s presented in the film. Akin to glorifying Disney for its view on the value of women in society, despite the reality that the majority of the female characters in their movies continue to be undermined.
Image via Disney Beauty and the Beast (2017)
The best portrayal of diversity is when it is not trying to portray anything at all. Think of
Spider Verse or the recent Nimona (2023). If we consciously think about the characters in these films, yes there are more minorities as lead protagonists, but the way the film depicts these characters as indifferent if they had been straight white characters, is what makes it feel real. No one directly speaks about how characters are gay or Hispanic, they simply are.
The same can be said for portrayal of women. Female characters in movies often shine when they are unapologetically true to themselves, flaws and all. They don’t feel like they are forced to be feminine or masculine, they are just human.
They Don’t Know When to Stop
I think one of the biggest problems that comes to mind with these new movie franchises is that they don’t know when to end them. In fact, most of the films would have been just great as a trilogy or even a stand alone at that.
The examples that come to mind are
Toy Story, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones and Terminator. The Toy Story trilogy is regarded by fans to be one of the best trilogies ever made. However, with a fourth and now a fifth film now on the way, it seems like Pixar just refuses to let the story rest in peace. For the examples listed above, the first three films of the series were honestly pretty good, fans would even consider them to be classics. Unfortunately Hollywood “loved” these films a little too much and ultimately led to their downfall. I just hope that the rumors of a Pirates of the Caribbean 6 are fake.
This is one of the reasons why
The Lord of the Rings trilogy is regarded as one of the best trilogy in film history. From start to finish, it was a true masterpiece. So much detail and dedication was put into creating this world. A perfect adaptation of the original story, something not many other films could say. But the best part has to be that the series has a concussion, it doesn’t drag out longer than it needs to and forever leaves an impact on audiences even 20 years after its initial release.
Contrast this to the 2010s
The Hobbit trilogy, which tried to recreate the massive success of its predecessors. Although some fans enjoy this series because it was also part of their childhood, I think most people can agree that The Hobbit did not need to be three movies. Most even agree that the entire story could be condensed into a single film, two at most. Instead the film was forced to be dragged out by Hollywood with no plan in mind, ruining the series for good.
Lord of the Rings has true sincerity, genuine, intimate character as well as engaging and action filled plot. We see some of the best portrayals of healthy masculinity and friendship. Best adventure, fantasy film.
No Heart Just Money
Now I have to say, some films surprise me with just how many installments of the franchise there are. For example,
Star Wars has 12 films, Fast and Furious has 10 films, DCEU has 15 films, Transformers and Mission Impossible have 7 films with another coming out next year, Harry Potter has 8 films with a brand new TV show in the making, and Marvel MCU has a total of 32 films and they are still making more! Along with these PIxar and Disney continue to release empty and uninspired live action adaptations that no one asked for. Although Harrison Ford and Tom Cruise both love their characters in their retrospective films, it just doesn’t seem necessary to continue to make another installment. It feels like Hollywood is trying to profit off a huge successful brand without taking the time to further develop the characters of the world.
On top of that now Harry Potter is getting a brand new series on HBO? It’s not like the original films were bad or so old they had to be remade. If anything, I think the film series had a perfect conclusion to the series with the
Harry Potter Deathly Hallows: Part 2 being many fan’s favorite film.
Another complaint about these movie franchises now is lackluster characters. Hollywood takes advantage of these stories and takes our beloved characters from our childhood and ruins them, transforming them into bizarre parodies of themselves. It’s become sickening and tiresome how frequently Hollywood exploits our nostalgia to force us to watch anything.
There’s nothing wrong with adapting a story from a novel, toy, game, or even remaking a classic old film, as long as it remains faithful or at least creates a new unique perspective we’ve never seen before.
Blade Runner 2049 (2017) is considered one of the best sequels to a film ever made because of how it builds upon the original world and characters. This way both fans of the original Blade Runner film and newer fans can enjoy this new sequel alike. The film utilizes beautiful cinematography and clever easter eggs to bring both universes together.
image via Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Even the recent
Barbie (2023) has received massive success because there is a genuine story that the director wants to tell. It didn’t feel like Mattel trying to sell more dolls and products to the public, it felt more like a fun satire film about human experiences from the perspective of one of the most iconic toys in pop culture. These films know what their audiences expect and want to see, so it doesn’t feel like measly cash grabs. Instead they actually feel like genuine films that the director and crew had a lot of fun making.
image via Barbie (2023)
Spider-verse is a fantastic franchise on a character and superhero genre that you’d think audiences would be sick and tired of seeing. And yet, fans could not be more excited for the third and final film coming out early next year. With its new and inventive animation style that has influenced the medium for the past decade, I can only be hopeful for what this means for the future to come.
image via Across the Spiderverse (2023)
People want to see good films, with good writing, complex characters, and simple stories. This can easily be done when filmmakers prioritize making films with audiences in mind.
Thank you so much for reading! Comment down below what are some of your favorite film franchises and/or they have been ruined by Hollywood.