Why Should Filmmakers Try to Make Good Movies?

ON

I shouldn’t really be surprised to see how many of the movie blogs around the Internet reported the story of the alleged soon-to-be Indiana Jones Part V b.s. story that sprouted up yesterday. The article was quoted as coming from The Insider when in fact The Insider is nothing more than a tabloid news aggregator that this time was spewing something submitted by UselessPlace.com, a site I am 100% certain none of the bloggers reporting the Indy story had ever heard of and most probably didn’t even take the time to pay attention to. Fair enough, but what I find more interesting is the reaction many have toward the idea and most-of-all Nate’s reaction from The Film Experience to Jessica Barnes’s reaction at Cinematical:

Cinematical has guarded hope for Indiana Jones Part V. Ouch. Does anyone (anyone?) outside of those who would directly profit by the million$, really think in their heart of hearts that this is a good idea? Why does no one demand more of these people before showering them with money? I’m absolutely convinced that if George Lucas announced Star Wars Episode 7: The Journey of Jar Jar Binks people would still line up in droves. And then complain about it afterwards. Why should filmmakers even try to make good movies when we reward them for hurting us? Current Blockbuster Movie Culture = Stockholm Syndrome.

This is something that has bothered me a lot recently with the defenders of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I understand some people liked it but when I read comments on RopeofSilicon saying, “[If] you’re looking for progress, why did you even bother going to see Transformers 2?” I can’t help but get a little confused.

That comment was actually in defense of the film to someone saying, “You want a bad movie, and you’re willing to reward films that aim for very little… and hit it. No harm in that, but let the rest of us who like progress have some room to breathe too.” And this is something I believe is an important issue when it comes to the crop of films we have started to see hitting our multiplexes.

The problem people don’t seem to be noticing is the fact Transformers 2 was made on a reported budget of $200 million and a worldwide marketing campaign at $150 million. When a piece of entertainment is made and sold for $350 million is it wrong to expect progress? Is it wrong to expect above-and-beyond quality? And is it wrong to speak up when you feel you were cheated as an audience member? Remember, this is your hard earned money and ticket prices aren’t getting any cheaper.

Take this next comment from “Keith” which was posted on the site recently:

Money talks and the movie is making money cause they just enjoy watching the movie for what it is, majority of the people just want 2 enjoy, if your looking for movies that have good story and stuff they should just wait for the hurt locker, TRANSFORMERS IS NOT SUPOUSE TO WIN ANY OSCAR AWARDS, ITS JUST A MOVIE TO BE ENTERTAINMENT. Come on its transformers, people payed to watch robots fighting and things blowing up, what were you expecting?

Yeah, “money talks,” your money. Considering this argument I point back to Nathan’s query: “Why should filmmakers even try to make good movies when we reward them for hurting us?”

No one is saying films like Terminator Salvation or Transformers 2 are expected to be Oscar winners, but remember 12 months ago when everyone was talking about how great The Dark Knight was and then only six months ago how it was cheated out of a Best Picture nomination? Just imagine if the same effort was put into making the rest of these blockbusters that are made for hundreds of millions of dollars. Hell, look what J.J. Abrams was able to do with the same screenwriters Michael Bay had on Revenge of the Fallen, and a little extra effort. Star Trek is hardly a story-telling marvel of a film, but at least he found a way to tap into what makes a film entertaining… a little something called character development for starters.

One final comment from around the site that was posted just yesterday read, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Number ONE 2nd week in a row. Poor critics must be crying their eyes out. LOL.” If critics are “crying their eyes out” I wonder why everyone else isn’t either.

Love it or hate it, I have a hard time believing there is anyone out there that doesn’t believe Revenge of the Fallen could have been much, much better. So why is it we — as paying audience members — don’t demand more from these films? The only reason critics would be “crying their eyes out” would be because they know the same lack of care will now be taken into making Transformers 3 because the studio knows audiences don’t demand anything more than what they have already been offered as Revenge of the Fallen now aims to become the second fastest film to reach $600 million in worldwide receipts.

Don’t get it twisted, critics want to see nothing but great films. They would love it if every film was five-star caliber and if films like Revenge of the Fallen lived up to the Benjamins put into them, but at the same time they are willing to stand up and speak their minds when something doesn’t reach its potential and in this case falls well below it. As a matter of fact, I would wager if Revenge of the Fallen lived up to its budget it would easily become the highest grossing film of all-time and the critics would be the first ones praising its accomplishments. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see?

You tell me, would you rather have a $350 million movie with some thought behind it or a movie that doesn’t “have good story and stuff” and “NOT SUPOUSE TO WIN ANY OSCAR AWARDS”? That’s a tough one… think on it for a minute… I went to see Star Trek a second time this past weekend, I have made my decision on what kind of entertainment to support.