Originality in film

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I have heard many people, online and in real life, discuss the “problem” of the lack of originality in the film industry. Most of the time, however, the same opinion is held: there is no originality anymore and non-original films are bad. If you follow this logic, all films are bad, which while saving time reviewing, is just not the case. I would like to argue that there are plenty of fresh ideas in the industry, and that sequels and extended universe films aren’t just a black hole of ideas.

On the question of originality. There are many types of non-original film. The main types are remakes, adaptations, sequels/prequels, and extended universe films. The argument that these describe all films seems substantial. If you look at the top grossing movies of the year, all of the top 10 fall into one or more of these categories, as do 15 of the top 20. My main problem with this argument is that the consumer is entirely to blame. If you look at the Rotten Tomatoes top films of the year, six out of the top 10 are original. This shows me that there are original good movies, it is just that more people choose to watch the non-originals.

To the response that “these movies don’t screen near me”. If you believe that to be true then I am sorry, but if you live in a medium-to-large city I guarantee there will be a cinema playing these films if you look hard enough.

My second argument is that non-original films aren’t necessarily not original. Making a film is difficult. I can’t do it, I can just insult more talented people who can. You need a script, a director, actors and a shed load of money. A film like Thor: Ragnarok, Logan or the new Star Wars is a sequel, but I would argue that they also push their respective series in a new way and have a lot of original ideas in them. Logan takes the superhero genre and asks what would happen if everything was awful, and it was a great movie with a unique feel. Four of the top 10 films of the year were non-originals. Only two films make it into both top tens.

This brings me to my final point: people are to blame. The top-rated film of the year was placed 15th in the gross rankings, the second was placed 62nd. Some of the top 10 grossing movies of the year, like Despicable Me 3, didn’t even make it into the top 100 rated films of the year. How can people complain that all films they see are bad when they choose to go out to see bad films, and how can they blame studios when good films do so poorly compare to bad non-original films?

To conclude, when going out to see a film, maybe dig deeper and look into what good, possibly indie films are screening nearby. Don’t go see the film that had the biggest advertising budget. Then, after this, you can walk proudly up to your friends and talk to them about an amazing foreign indie film you saw and make them feel uncultured. And you can also see some really cool movies.