I want people to think about their best theatrical experience. What was the movie that blew you away? The one you saw on the big screen that just floored you? For me, I think the last time I left a theater feeling breathless was maybe Avengers: Endgame. Before that? It was Avatar.
My general point is, we are getting fewer and fewer really jaw-dropping blockbusters.
Despite budgets soaring and big IP selling like hotcakes, we aren't getting that many visionary worlds.
I think the general reason is that the ones we are getting, like in Jupiter Ascending and in Valerian, are within movies that ultimately fail at the box office and fail in their storytelling. But man, those movies try so hard to be worthy of the big screen instead of relying on a popular title and phoning in the rest.
None of the backgrounds are muddy, not of the planets are so smoky you can't see anything.
They're not afraid to be bright.
So what happened to modern blockbusters? Let video essayist Patrick Willems tell you.
Why Modern Blockbusters Need to Take More Risks
While there is no straightforward answer, I think the problem with modern filmmaking and special effects is that they get so easy to institute, that nothing feels special anymore. See, when we first got Star Wars and even something like Close Encounters, not everything could be computer-generated.
For that reason, we had to build things people had never seen on screen.
There was wonderment that came with practical effects.
But that's mostly gone.
Even when we see a mix of practical and computer effects, they feel lazy. There is really no depth to the frame. I'm talking about some of the X-Men series, where we just see broken cities or an extremely dark future. Or even something like Bright, that's just cityscapes with no real explanation of what we're seeing.
Where are the color pops? I mean, outside of Matthew Vaughn's X-Men First Class, why is everything so dour?
When I watch movies like How to Train Your Dragon, they are so exquisite and deep. Animation from places like Pixar have been getting this stuff right for so long, it's a complete mystery why modern franchises aren't stealing it.
Though, the smart ones are.
James Wan's Aquaman not only has color pops when you hit Atlantis, but every time we meet a new fish person or battle a monster, they have a unique look and design.
Obviously, James Cameron's Avatar paved the way here with the tech, but if you're going to use it, use it with some heart. Even Steven Spielberg, who loves practical effects, understood how to make the visuals in Ready Player One pop.
The final battle on Doom, while being a boring planet, contains some of the best character designs and work. Even if the enemy is a little boring.
What are some of the blockbusters you do you think is doing this stuff well? And who are the modern directors having fun in these realms?
Let me know in the comments.
I'm always looking for more movies to keep me inspired.
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Source: Patrick (H) Willems