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There is a lack of creativity in Hollywood


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Many can agree that 2015 was a great year for film, with an abundance of both big budget blockbusters and indie gems.

However, an issue which has been bubbling for years surfaced dramatically, rearing its ugly head for all to see. This is of course is the lack of creativity in an increasingly commercial and soulless Hollywood film industry.

For years film studios have been investing in large-scale sequels and remakes in order to ensure hefty financial return, with critics lambasting a loss of artistic integrity in a film industry that is little more than a corporate playground.

The UK's box office figures for 2015 strongly support this very valid criticism, marking the peak of a drought in originality and creativity.

Three of 2015's highest grossing films in the form of The Force Awakens, Creed and Mad Max are sequels in series' which started in the 1970's, yes the 1970's!

If there was ever a piece of evidence that definitively showcased the lack of creativity in Hollywood, this is it. Rather than feeling like a groundbreaking year in cinematic storytelling, the more you look at the box office figures, the more 2015 feels like a 'Best of 70's' compilation album. Thus the realisation that despite the fact that cinematic production technology has advanced dramatically in the last fourty years, the films themselves and the ideas behind them haven't.

Nostalgia is the key word in this debate. Rather than taking risks with the most recent iterations in franchises like Star Wars, Rocky, Jurassic Park and Terminator, the directors of these films opted to play it extrememly safe for fear of alienating the large and vocal fan bases of these films.

Both The Force Awakens and Creed to name but two, are guilty of being nothing more than remakes of their predecessors, recycling the plot of the original and hoping that familiar characters, locations, musical cues etc and updated special effects will hide this sad fact.

So not only are the biggest films of 2015 all sequels to hits of past decades but also tribute acts, recycling entire plots rather than subtly paying homage.

All of the major film studios should be held accountable for this cinematic creative drought and none should be exempt from scrutiny and criticism.

However, equally no major film studio is more guilty than Disney in this department.

Clearly they haven't heard of the phrase 'too much of a good thing' if their recent announcement that they're going to release a Star Wars film every year is anything to go by.

Annualising Star Wars will eventually lead to oversaturation and fatigue and the release of a new Star Wars film will no longer be the event it was last year, as it will become commonplace. This threat of oversaturation can also be applied to their Marvel franchises, of which at least three films are released annually.

It has got so bad that 2015's third largest film Avengers: Age of Ultron spent longer setting up future films than telling its own story and was basically an extended advert for the glut of upcoming comic book films.

A lot has been made of the 'golden age' of TV that we are currently experiencing. This 'golden age' has been characterised by complex and layered characters, interesting concepts and bold risk-taking.

Essentially TV has become the new home of the independent film and more and more prestigious actors and actresses are heading to TV in search of rich characters and new ideas. You only have to look at shows like True Detective which managed to attract both Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson to know that this is indeed the case. With the glut of remakes, adaptations and sequels, film can't claim to be undergoing a similar 'golden age', not even remotely.

Some will argue and ask the question does any of this matter? If the films are fundamentally good films, does it really make a difference whether they're remakes or sequels or not?

When taking on established franchises like Mad Max, Star Wars, Terminator and Rocky, there is undeniably a certain skill in balancing fan expectations with the promise of providing new and fresh elements. Fans are often caught in two minds as to whether they want more of what they love or whether they want something different and exciting. So maybe you could argue that directors like J.J. Abrams, Ryan Coogler, Alan Taylor etc should be cut some slack. Despite all that has been said, it's unquestionable that The Force Awakens, Fury Road and Creed are very good films, it's just a shame that there isn't much new about them at all.

So to conclude, how can this slump in creativity be changed?

It essentially comes down to people voting with their wallets. The reason for this emergence of soulless annualised franchises, is that each film makes billions and is seen by so many.

Next time you decide to go to the cinema, instead of seeing what is advertised as the biggest release of the moment, support filmmakers who are providing you with new and original experiences.

Rather than putting another pound in Disney's or Warner Bros. pocket support unique voices in the industry like your Wes Anderson's or your Martin Scorsese's or your Quentin Tarantino's. It will be very interesting to review the situation in twelve months time after 2016 has been and gone. 


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