In Hollywood, there is a rapidly growing trend of milking too many cartoons with live-action remakes and too many movies with sequels that are superfluous. The process is pretty much straightforward—take an idolized cartoon, remake it with physical actors or take a box-office successful movie, extend the storyline. The end goal is always certain: use the distinct intellectual property to exploit the nostalgia of movie fans to ultimately make stupendous profit. Animated movies like The Lion King, Little Mermaid or Cinderella; and films like Fast and Furious, The Hangover or Star Trek, are all salient examples. While some live-action remakes end up being lackluster mainly because what may work in a particular medium may not work in another (there’s a limit to how grand, magical and surreal a remake can be compared to its animated counterpart), movie franchises that go on for so long start to suffer from storyline fatigue after one or two sequels. Fresh and exciting storylines are constantly being sacrificed at the altar of quick and (usually) certain big bucks.
But that is not to say that filmmakers are not taking big swings to create movies that are original and exciting. 2022’s Everything Everywhere All At Once, an indie film written by the Daniels (Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan) was insanely creative. It centers a middle-aged Chinese immigrant (Michelle Yeoh) who runs a failing laundromat and one day discovers that she must save the universe which is at peril at the hands of (spoiler alert!) her own daughter (Stephanie Hsu). The movie which lends an unprecedented take in film history to the multiverse concept is a melting pot of absurdities that somehow manages to be utterly poignant. Even without starring obvious Hollywood juggernauts in the lead roles, the multiverse fantasy-comedy (unlike anything you have ever seen before) made history by becoming the first film to win six above-the-line Oscars.
That same year, Jordan Peele’s Horror film Nope, was released. The filmmaker best known for his unique takes on the horror genre (see: Get Out and Us), did not disappoint. It follows a man (Daniel Kaluuya) and his sister (Keke Palmer) who discover a sinister entity in the skies above their horse ranch as the owner of a nearby theme parks (Steven Yeun) tries to profit from this entity. This movie is genre-blending to the highest degree, incorporating horror, sci-fi, thriller, comedy, action and western elements to create a chilling slow-burn gory film. Unlike Peele’s previous films which were more direct, Nope was heavy on symbolism which may not be for a lot of horror fans that prefer straight gimmicks and entertainment. And in many ways, that is where the beauty of the film lies.
Dune a 2021 sci-fi and adventure film, adapted from a novel of the same name by Frank Herbert is a spectacular viewing experience. It tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), a gifted prince who travels to the most treacherous planet in the universe to save his people. While the acting and music are well done, the visuals are breathtaking. Part 2 (a continuation of the abrupt end of Paul’s journey in Part 1) is set to be released by November 2023, and if it is as any good as its prequel, Dune may be cemented as one of the greatest sci-fi epic to ever be made.
The highly anticipated 2023 summer blockbusters Barbie by Greta Gerwig and Oppenheimer by Christopher Nolan are set to be released on July 21st, and are primed to join the list of original and authentic films. On this day part 7 of the Mission Impossible franchise is released—Mission Impossible—Dead Reckoning. Creatives in all fields, especially filmmakers, are reminded to take a chance on their wild ideas and to take bold steps in the creation of their art. That is what truly ignites the passion of cinephiles.