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The PT's influence on today's movies

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I've been thinking that a lot of big budget "tentpole" movies have a lot in common with the hype, emphasis on CGI, and lack of substance of the Star Wars prequels. Is this too much of a stretch, or am I actually on to something?

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I mean, if you really go back, it was Jaws and Star Wars that started the modern blockbuster/tentpole era...

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But one thing: they still had to be good movies. Beginning with the Phantom Menace, brand recognition became the primary factor in a movie's success (and opening weekend at the box office).

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Also, the PT and the LOTR started the trend of planning 'this is going to be an epic series/franchise/trilogy' before even one movie was successful. 

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I dunno.  How about some specific examples?  The only thing that comes close in my mind to a movie series that succeeded purely on the strength of brand and CGI would be Transformers. 

Honestly, no other movie franchise can be equal to the Star Wars films in terms of fandom.  They're in their own category.

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Nocturnaloner said:

I dunno.  How about some specific examples?  The only thing that comes close in my mind to a movie series that succeeded purely on the strength of brand and CGI would be Transformers. 

 They made "Battleship."

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Man of Steel could be one example; you have a mopey violent protagonist (Anakin), excessively long action sequences and hamisted political allegory, trailers that end up better than the movie, and pushing in films no one wants to see but will make hundreds of millions of dollars anyways. 

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The PT may have influenced the marketing trend of First Of An Epic Trilogy... It also may just be the fact that the trend was being born around the same time. 

That said; It seems far worse now, ten years removed.  If I really had to pinpoint the genesis of the Epic Trilogy In The Making, I'd go with Lord Of The Rings.  If the PT had any impact, it was that it showed story and acting aren't terribly important.

As Boost pointed out, these days the concept is pushed onto the audience before the first film is even released. It's as though the studios have decided all it takes to get people to buy into the franchise is to tell them it's Epic before they even see it.  It must work to an extent because they keep doing it. 

If you look at the film The People vs George Lucas, several of the people interviewed specifically state they knew they had to see all three before they could write it off officially.  By then the studio already had their money.  The studio prolongs the mediocre product just long enough to ensure they have the money all but guaranteed. 

I didn't do that with the PT.  I saw the first one, quickly realized it was shit, and moved on.  However, that's not typical behavior so it's a safe roll of the dice for the studios.  Keep telling them it's Epic and they'll believe you.  In fact, it's stated as fact in the trailers. 

It's been explained before;

http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheEmperorsNewClothes_e.html

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”

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First of an epic trilogy has been a gimmick on the covers of fantasy novels for decades now. I blame that Tolkien guy. ;)

If a movie is based on the first of a book series, it's a no brainer they would use the same hook. As with the "blockbuster mentality" of the 70's, Lucas gets blamed for stuff, because he's George Lucas.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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generalfrevious said:

Man of Steel could be one example; you have a mopey violent protagonist (Anakin), excessively long action sequences and hamisted political allegory, trailers that end up better than the movie, and pushing in films no one wants to see but will make hundreds of millions of dollars anyways. 

 That has more to do with the Nolan Batman films. (Which may have been a reaction to the over the top wackiness of Joel Schumacher's Batman And Robin.) The new Fantastic Four trailer is probably the latest example of all the fun of a superhero tale being sucked out with a long straw, because superheroes have to be all dark, ponderous, and serious now.

Unless you're a Disney owned Marvel property, of course. ;)

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Yeah but a blockbuster film from 1980 is vastly different to one from 2015 because they still based their films on original ideas. Back in the early years of the blockbuster the only competition was from three tv channels, while today we have the Internet, so they have to exploit existing franchises to get people off youtube for three hours. And the prequels were one of the first recognizable brands for studios to use.

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I make these observations:

1. If majority liked story-driven and character-driven films, the Hollywood would surely make them. The studios probe the audience and when they get a feedback on what people dig the most they start making just that.

2. They surely aren't making CGI action driven films because that would be cheaper compared to making a story/character driven films, as so many falsely assume around here. Making all the fancy CGI scenes costs lightyears more than just picking a story/character-focused screenplay, or adopt one of the countless great books out there. Many young writers are producing countless of screenplays every year. The studios pick what people like and what sells best in the end.

3. If Lucas/PT is guilty of anything, it is merely discovering what majority of people currently like the most.

真実

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One of the biggest problems in Hollywood today is that they waste $250 million on one tent pole film instead of dozens of low budget, character driven films. It doesn't help that ticket prices have risen exponentially in the last 20 years, and "studio accounting" can call any film a financial failure on a whim, plus theaters are forced give 90% of the box office money to the studios forcing them to charge four bucks for tap water just to stay in business. Since going to the movies has gotten more and more expensive seemingly by the week, less people are going to theaters and forcing studios to dump everything but the most marketable films, since streaming has destroyed the DVD market that would have supported those niche films.

in other words, film fans are in the dark ages, and will get worse through compound interest decade by decade, until Hollywood collapses long after it should have.

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SilverWook said:

First of an epic trilogy has been a gimmick on the covers of fantasy novels for decades now. I blame that Tolkien guy. ;)

Nah, you can't blame Tolkien for that.  The Lord of the Rings is actually just one very long book, and was intended to have been read as such.

However, it was split into three volumes by the publisher, over Tolkien's objections, due to the cost of paper in post-war Britain.  The only reason they even agreed to publish such a long story in the first place was because The Hobbit had been a success for them years before.

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generalfrevious said:

Yeah but a blockbuster film from 1980 is vastly different to one from 2015 because they still based their films on original ideas. ...... today we have the Internet, so they have to exploit existing franchises to get people off youtube for three hours. And the prequels were one of the first recognizable brands for studios to use.

 

There have been a fair number of blockbusters in that span of time that weren't exploited franchises.  No doubt that's much more the case the past five years or so, but to lump the 90s and 00s in there isn't necessarily fair.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”

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Anchorhead said:

generalfrevious said:

Yeah but a blockbuster film from 1980 is vastly different to one from 2015 because they still based their films on original ideas. ...... today we have the Internet, so they have to exploit existing franchises to get people off youtube for three hours. And the prequels were one of the first recognizable brands for studios to use.

 

There have been a fair number of blockbusters in that span of time that weren't exploited franchises.  No doubt that's much more the case the past five years or so, but to lump the 90s and 00s in there isn't necessarily fair.

 Blockbusters of the 90s are closer to my 1980 conception of blockbusters, especially films like Jurassic Park and Toy Story. Films made in the 00s are basically more similar with present day blockbusters, especially when you factor in the oversaturation of superhero films that really began after the 90s ended, and especially after the Phantom Menace made $450 million domestically. So the problem doesn't start in the last five years, it started in the last fifteen years. So it's been going on for a very long time by now, and is only going to get in worse as Hollywood shifts its focus to overseas markets like China, and they sink more money into reboots to films released a year or two before. By the end of the decade tentpole films could be costing $300-400 million at least.

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There's are many reasons why the multiverse concept appeals to me so strongly. This exact topic is one of my top five.

“Okay, I’m goin’, takin’ off. See ya… bye….” — Chip Douglas

“This concludes our broadcast day. Click.” — Chip Douglas

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Doesnt matter anyway, because Episode I ushered in the hellish era movie fans live in today, even if it's influence might be scant. The 2010s alone is probaby the worst decade for cinema ever; it will be surpassed only by whatever atrocities constitute 2020s Hollywood.

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If you think this has been a bad decade for movies so far then you're just watching the wrong movies.

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Or they don't reach your city to make room for the latest Marvel Universe spinoff. Compared to today, the dark ages of the 1950s and early 60s look downright charming.

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generalfrevious said:

Or they don't reach your city to make room for the latest Marvel Universe spinoff. Compared to today, the dark ages of the 1950s and early 60s look downright charming.

 Oh, c'mon, movies in the 50s and 60s couldn't have been that bad, right?

“After a time, you may find that having, is not so pleasing a thing after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” - Spock

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Handman said:

generalfrevious said:

Or they don't reach your city to make room for the latest Marvel Universe spinoff. Compared to today, the dark ages of the 1950s and early 60s look downright charming.

 Oh, c'mon, movies in the 50s and 60s couldn't have been that bad, right?

 I know, that era had Hitchcock's best films, hence why I said the era was charming. That was when theaters went out of business because people were watching television instead.

But who do we have now that is as good as Hitchcock? Christopher Nolan? All we have now are Zack Snyder and Michael Bay, who are in George Lucas' footsteps.

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I could spend all day listing exciting directors still working today. Snyder and Bay are far from "all we have." They're actually very easy to ignore.

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DominicCobb said:

I could spend all day listing exciting directors still working today. Snyder and Bay are far from "all we have." They're actually very easy to ignore.

Snyder and Bay make more money at the box office than all those other "exciting directors" combined. Even though these other less profitable directors will be remembered forever in film history, hollywood executives ignore history when money is involved. And when the people in charge continuously ignore the talent and bend over backwards for the hacks, that means less exciting directors for the future, hence the decline of cinema.