Cinema is one of those funny industries where so much money changes hands it’s hard to understand it. Studios pour millions of dollars into making a single movie – but if they get it right, it pays back in spades. That’s why when one film seems to do well, it spawns potentially hundreds of copycats who all want to mimic the formula and use it to generate money.
Unfortunately, this often tends to backfire. It may lead to movie fans getting more of what they like – but it can also lead to endless carbon copies of the same tired clichés, and trends that seem neverending. By the time filmmakers catch on to the fact that we no longer want to see these films, we are already so bored of them that they are almost good again.
The current state of the film industry is no exception, with plenty of trends hanging around that we desperately wish we could see the back of. Unfortunately, history suggests that we will probably have to put up with most of them for a lot longer than we may wish. Even though the majority of filmgoers no doubt hate these trends, we still end up getting tricked into watching them by clever trailers, if not by the lack of good alternatives. As long as a trend continues to generate money for the studios, they will carry on in the same direction. Hopefully, these trends will be on their way out sooner rather than later. We won’t hold our breath though!
10. Splitting One Film Into Two Parts
This one seems to have become a recent trend, but it has already become far too tiresome. It all started with Twilight and Harry Potter, with both series opting to split their last film in half. Now it seems to be acceptable for shorter film series to do the same. The Hunger Games series and The Hobbit were perhaps the most high-profile offenders and, since both did so well at the box office, we probably haven’t seen the last of this. Studios will probably keep pulling this one for a long time to come.
9. Reboots After Only A Few Years
So we already know that most comic book movies are done so regularly in order to help the studios hang on to the exclusive rights to the characters. Fine, but do we really have to reboot them quite so often? It was only a short distance between Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man 3 in 2007 and Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012. Sadly, the 2014 sequel was a flop, and so the decision has been made to reboot the character yet again, with young actor Tom Holland set to play him in 2016. That’s only a two-year gap between reboots. Two years! Batman has already gone the same way with Ben Affleck taking up the cowl, and it’s surely only a matter of time before characters like Superman follow – not to mention what will happen when the Marvel extended universe films eventually come crashing down.
8. Adam Sandler Comedies
Will Adam Sandler ever stop making awful comedy movies? Unfortunately not, because the sad fact of the matter is that we keep on seeing them. Sandler has hit upon a formula where he can make movies to follow his vision for a set budget, and a relatively cheap one at that, largely by using the same actors every time. Then he can make around the same amount of profit with each one too. No matter how racist, stupid, or formulaic these movies may be, he still ends up walking away with the cash. If we want this one to change, we all have to vote with our wallets!
7. Alternate Reality Reboots
This is another one we can blame on big franchise movies: the studio takes a storyline too far, messes up, and starts again with some kind of far-fetched plot device. They get blasted into an alternate reality, or go back in time and change the past, or it turns out it was all a dream… Star Trek, the Terminator movies, and X-Men have all done this recently. We’re also seeing previous sequels being conveniently ignored in the case of Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, and the upcoming Alien movie. It would be a lot better if studio executives could make sure they only green-light great films, rather than lazily waving a hand and erasing their mistakes.
6. Huge Ensemble Romcoms
Alright, we get that Love Actually was a really successful movie, and it’s understandable that studios would want to follow that success. Well, it was understandable back in 2003, anyway. Since then we’ve been subjected to the likes of Valentine’s Day, He’s Just Not That Into You, and the so-bland-they-couldn’t-name-it Movie 43. There’s further evidence suggesting that the big ensemble doesn’t work in other genres, with movies like Sin City: A Dame to Kill For flopping at the box office. When are studios going to realize that we are not quite into this format?
5. CG Or Live Action Versions Of Cartoons
Listen: The Last Airbender didn’t work. It just didn’t work. The Smurfs movies didn’t work either. Neither did 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is why it’s so baffling that we’re soon set to see a sequel. Whether it’s done in creepily realistic CGI or converted to live action, it just isn’t a good idea anymore. Right now we’re in the era of comic books, and cartoons are going to have to wait their turn for some great writers and directors to get involved. Until then, can these awful remakes just take a break? Please?
4. Spin-Offs And Extended Universes
X-Men was arguably the first to make it work, but the Marvel extended universe is the most to blame for this one. Raise your hands if you are already tired of having to watch ten spin-offs just to understand the main film’s plot. The general tolerance for this trick really seems to be at breaking point already, which could be a problem for a Marvel agenda that stretches years into the future. Star Wars is the latest franchise to fall victim to this money-grabbing strategy, with three spin-off films planned alongside the main trilogy. That’s not a spin-off anymore, that’s just two trilogies. Call it like it is and it will be less annoying.
3. Bandwagon Book Adaptations
The Notebook was a hugely popular romance film, and a very well-done one at that. Sadly, the slew of Nicholas Sparks adaptations it inspired seem to be based on nothing more than studios thinking people would pay for it again. The same can be said of The Hunger Games inspiring countless young adult book adaptations – Divergent, The Maze Runner, Ender’s Game, The Mortal Instruments, I Am Number Four, the Percy Jackson films… can anybody even tell the difference between these movies anymore? It’s all well and good when one stand-out book makes a great adaptation, but when all of the similar movies that preceded and followed it have flopped, it’s time for studios to realize that this generally isn’t a winning formula.
2. Pointless 3D
We enjoy watching movies in 3D. There’s something exciting about having a dinosaur roar right in your face, or staring into the depths of space and getting a real impression of that distance. What’s not cool is when films have 3D pointlessly added on after the fact. It’s really cheap to convert a film into 3D after filming, and it generally guarantees higher ticket sales – but it’s ruining 3D. No one needs to see The Great Gatsby in 3D. If it’s on every single movie for no reason, it’s just not special anymore. There’s also the fact that adding 3D after filming actually darkens movies and lowers quality, which is one of the reasons why cinema audiences hated The Last Airbender so much.
1. Shaky Cam
If you are filming a documentary, feel free to use shaky cam as your actual method of filming dictates. If you are doing an action movie, you might be forgiven for using maybe one sequence of shaky cam, such as during a car chase that ends up going over rough terrain or down a flight of stairs. Every other film, with bad shaky cam preventing us from seeing what is actually going on, needs to stop. This is even more apparent now with effects like 3D and IMAX making our movies crystal clear – when they become so shaky you can’t even get a screencap, something has gone desperately wrong. Unnecessary lens flare and the “dirt on the lens” effect are also to be avoided unless we are actually watching a documentary where dirt actually got on the only lens they had available to shoot with.