Does Hollywood actually have anything original to offer?

We went to see Avatar recently and a short while before that we saw The Princess and the Frog. Both good films in their own way although with each the main interest was only in the way they were made. Avatar being the spectacle of 3D via a new generation of stereoscopic cameras and The Frog being the opposite, Disney going back to hand-drawn animation.

Judging by how much we enjoyed the films I’d have to say say that all this hoop-la about 3D is nonsense. It was good, sure, but the glasses are uncomfortable and not well enough made to allow an uninterrupted view of the whole screen as one would get without them. For me, while they do allow us to get the 3D effect they are simply a damn nuisance and I’d rather not have to wear them. Does the 3D thing enhance the movie experience? Not for me. It allows me to see where they’ve spent $237 million and there are a few scenes that are impressive but the overall cinema experience for me was no better than the old fashioned hand-drawn 2D of the Disney film. They need to work on the glasses, they really do.

It seems nobody in Hollywood agrees though because the number of films coming out in 3D or enhanced 2D digital is huge. It’s getting confusing though. We went to see Sherlock Holmes as well and were offered two showings one of them ‘digital’ and the other presumably just ‘normal’. We watched the ‘normal’ one and enjoyed it.What does the ‘digital’ one do differently? (PS – since when was Sherlock an expert bare knuckle fighter?)

More later perhaps on all films by way of a proper review but my point here is to wonder whether Hollywood knows it has run out of original ideas and is trying to maintain ticket sales by technology alone?

Watching any Hollywood film these days is just so damned predictable that I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a point watching any of them when you know what’s going to happen. The Princess and the Frog was a very well told and beautifully animated classic tale. It was supposed to have a twist and therefore be different but in the end it didn’t really, did it. You could all have written the storyline down before you entered the cinema. Good guys, bad guys, quest, friends, enemies, pitfalls, good luck, humour, happiness, sadness, love and a happy ending. Ho hum.

Avatar, pretty much the same things as The Frog but with blue skin and 3D. You just know he’s going to ride the big red dragon. You know he’s going to do that thing with the tree and switch bodies. You know the bad general is coming to a sticky end and you know some of the good gang are going to die. Why bother then? Why waste $237 mill and whatever Disney spent on the Frog telling the same old – age old – stories over and over again. I really am beginning to wonder.

Is there really such a dearth of writing talent in the film industry? Or is the problem with the producers and directors who whose appetite for risk is zero. Or with the film watching public who won’t understand anything complicated, who don’t want anything approaching originality? Who’s fault is it that we keep getting fed the same, perhaps five, stories over and over and over again?

To add insult to injury Hollywood now seems to have adopted a total immersion tactic to go along with the lack of storyline. Nowadays it is impossible to release just one film in any particular theme, there has to be at least three, preferably more. So we don’t get one film based on comic book characters we get ten. Watching the trailers, the most recent ‘theme’ is ‘The Gods’ with at least two films being released that delve into ancient Gods – The Lightning Thief and Clash of the Titans, I have a feeling there may be a third but can’t recall the title. So here we go again I suppose, one of their limited choice of storylines now being revamped with an ancient God theme. God help us.

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2 thoughts on “Does Hollywood actually have anything original to offer?

  1. Amen! The answer in short, No.

    A quick way to cut through the crap is to look for selections from the Sundance Film Festival if you’re looking for decent, original US film-making. You may have to settle for DVDs instead of the cinema.

    The Toronto Film Festival is another good screening device. Canada puts out some really surprising original films sometimes.

    Hollywood sucks.

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