Where have all the Thrillers gone?
With “Girl on The Train” receiving disappointing reviews and even Tom Cruise complaining that getting Jack Reacher movies financed is hard, where have all our mid range thriller films gone?
It seems that unless your main protagonist has a cape and superhero powers, movie studios are no longer interested.
CGI and VFX
Most of us these days are a bit bored with CGI, just how many skyscrapers can be destroyed by superheroes?
However when VFX/CGI is used to create photo realistic worlds in the way “Jungle Book” has achieved, audience members do take notice. Check out this site to see the before and after as “Mowgli” splashes in the river – Mowgli – Floating Down the river.
Of course children of a certain age just accept this as the new reality, in the same way traditional hand drawn cartoons are now passée and CGI toon’s the norm.
The film provides the logical conclusion that any tech savvy director is now only limited by their imagination, truly anything is now possible.
Of course great power has always been paired with great responsibility, an attribute not every Hollywood director is imbued with. It remains to be seen how this technology continues to develop but with “anti-aging” VFX all but proven and ability to create photo realistic environments, maybe even Indiana Jones XI remains possible…
Films are generally “marketed” at 14 year old boys and increasingly what sells is violence, graphic brutal violence. I used to believe that a film with a 16 certificate should mean the violence would be at an “acceptable” level (to me), this no longer holds true.
Regretfully movies are being stolen from me, many films that I might have enjoyed are so marred by unnecessary levels of violence, I no longer wish to watch them. “Kingsman” is a classic case in point. This was fun to a point, reasonably well acted with some good action sequences and did not take itself too seriously but was ruined by graphic and pointless violence.
Director Matthew Vaughn recently mentioned the church sequence was so popular he is looking for something similar for the sequel, I despair at the future of cinema.
I do not subscribe to the theory that watching violent films directly makes someone want to carry out such acts, any immediate cause and effect remains highly debatable. However, the level of casual on-screen violence and subsequent de-sensitisation of audiences exposed to it, does in my view create an environment where such actions can thrive or be tolerated in real life.
I fully expect that over time the number of movies I will want to watch will reduce and I will resort to watching my old favourites, safe in the knowledge characters will not be eviscerated in full HD at any point during the story.
What is it with Zombies at the moment?
It looks like filmmakers, censors and audiences have finally found a solution to onscreen violence. Provided we have zombies that than be eviscerated and killed in spectacular and grisly fashion everyone seems happy?
It may have taken forever but finally studios have realised that people who are not 14 and male, also go to the movies. With the success and subsequent planned sequel of “The best exotic Marigold Hotel”, expect to see more grey orientated films soon. See also “Amour” and “Quartet” as further examples.
“The life of Pi” has highlighted how starved we are for truly unique cinema experiences. “The Bourne Legacy” is an average film, it employs good actors, provides thrills and has great played for real stunts but it just feels like a movie that should not exist. Much like “Pirates of the Caribbean 4” and “Indy 4”, these are franchises that are done, mined out, the tank is creatively empty, so why keep going?
Money of course is the answer, the worldwide market for movies is growing exponentially, India, China, Russia along with many other countries, now consume Hollywood fare without question. A film does not need to be “good” to take in excess of $100 million worldwide, in fact the domestic return (i.e. USA) is becoming increasingly less important. This trend is now catered for with many films tailoring their locations to emerging markets.
As an example “Skyfall”, at time of writing has taken over $1 billion dollars in ticket sales, only three hundred of which came from the US box office.
Unfortunately, money talks. Green lighting a project at $150 million that is all but guaranteed to return say $600 million from a built in audience, is a no brainer for most studio execs. The only silver lining is that these films provide the capital for “lesser” or more risky films to be made.
Something to think about when you are watching “Transformers 4”, you are ultimately funding the next “Silver Linings Playbook”.