If we think back to all the new film releases this year, does anyone remember what happened in “Captain America: Civil War”? What about “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” or “Independence Day: Resurgence”? Although the hype was real, resulting in a box office success – 2016 blockbusters have been a massive anti-climatic disappointment overall, leaving viewers feeling like they’ve been thoroughly ripped off from their £11.00 cinema ticket. With films such as “Suicide Squad” being produced, served only as an alternative from the predictability of the “hero” storyline, has already become a fading relevance this year.
What can we take from this and why do we keep coming back?
It’s the stories we know and love re-created into a multi-universe. It’s the fantasy of films coming to life – the build up and whispering of “Beauty and the Beast” heading to the big screen next year. It’s evident that big movies aren’t slowing down and they’re not dying – but noticeably, the ones that have been remembered have had a lasting singe on us. Take Moonlight for example, a gentle, sombre portrait of a young black boy struggling with his journey into manhood was brought to you by a small studio and independent director Barry Jenkins – and now being sung across the world because of the overall beauty and message it has passed on. According to Indiewire, it was Barry Jenkins: Moonlight that lit up Telluride Film Festival, not a “big studio hopeful like Paramount’s well-crafted but dramatically inert sci-fi drama Arrival”.
Although it was released in England last year – “The Witch” grossed $25.1 million in North America this year. A chill-to-the-spine horror film that was visually striking to the touch, did not include the predictable audience-pleasing shocks – has been praised for it’s historic detail and “fiercely committed ensemble”. It’s films like “The Witch” that will be treated as a classic whereas big production remakes and sequels such as “Blair Witch Project” and “Conjuring 2” suffer as a legacy.
While established actors still take most of their shine from big-budget blockbusters, more and more are starting to look to speciality films to challenge themselves as actors. From Salma Hayek and John C. Reilly starring in Matteo Garrone’s Italian Fantasy adaption of Giambattista Basile’s Pentamerone – and young actors especially making their mark in speciality films. This has included Daniel Radcliffe starring in “Swiss Army Man” to Kristen Stewart in Woody Allen’s “Café Society”. Naomie Harris – who has starred in the Bond and Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, transformed to the role of Paula for “Moonlight” – almost unrecognizable to viewers.
2016 has shown us the best and worst in Cinema. With the continuing failure from big movie franchises that studio’s have seen this year, it’s prevalent that producers and distributors have that fear of trying something new and therefore lack an appreciating audience and a memorable performance. Whereas independent and specialty cinema has blossomed within this, giving us what we’re not getting from blockbusters – substance.