Since becoming increasingly interested in video in a more dedicated way, I’ve been watching many movies, short films, reviews and the like over the last year learning about techniques and styles, as well as all the other aspects such as audio that makes for good movies. during that time, there are several trends that have come to light (pun intended) about modern movies and even TV shows, and and one such trend is that many are now extremely dark and foreboding when it comes to the overall lighting. This was really brought home when I watched some videos comparing the modern Star Trek movie series and the new TV show named The Orville. The latter has taken a lot of ideas from the original Star Trek series and brought back the general storylines that the early series represented in its day, but has added a modern twist. I won’t go into these aspects here, try and watch some episodes if you haven’t, But what also grabbed me was how very different the actual production values and storyline are when compared to modern movies or TV series, notably Star Trek.
This ‘dark’ theme pervades modern movies across all genres, thrillers, action, science fiction, you name it. For some reason producers of many of today’s movies like to make things extremely dark when it comes to lighting, it becomes so bad at times that you can’t see what’s going on because things are so dark (do people really live in houses with only a 5W light globe?). The absolute pinnacle of this dark madness was reached, from what I’ve read, with the final series of Game of Thrones, where many viewers were utterly unable to see the major battle sequence that ended the series. This of course raised a flood of complaints and excuses from the producers, who had completely failed to comprehend the fact that not every viewer had a TV that could show what the editors could on their specialised monitors. But that’s just one example and where another stands out, as I mentioned, is the difference between the original Star Trek, the latest Star Trek and The Orville series. The original Star Trek and The Orville are both brightly lit, but the latest Star Trek series has descended into darkness (pun intended), where everything is dark and gloomy.
There’s also another thing that I don’t quite understand about modern movies. All too many of them now sport orange and teal colours. As an aside, when I read the comments on YouTube videos, especially where someone posts a short clip from their new camera, many laud the ‘cinematic’ look of the video clip. These posters see that orange and teal colour and suddenly the clip is cinematic. All that the poster has done is convert the colours of the clip into an orange and teal tone; there is nothing cinematic about the video clips whatsoever. But I’m not the only one that questions this oft repeated look in so many modern movies. Yes, such a colour selection can have its place, but I think it’s over-used and is so far removed from that of movies of yesteryear that, visually, these movies can start to look the same. When movies went from black and white to colour, all the producers embraced colour and made the most of it, now we are not far off reverting back to black and white with these almost monochromatic renditions, combined with dark lighting throughout. Maybe it’s simply a reflection of the sombre world we seem to be living in.
On a different note, one type of movie that my wife and I always like to watch are Westerns from the 1950s and 60s (certainly before we got Netflix). These movies are far removed from the styles adopted today that I often wonder what’s happened to modern movie making. The major observation is that the old Westerns (and most movies of that era) actually had great storylines, they were about relatable characters and didn’t need excessive CGI (or equivalent of what was available at the time) and lots of explosions to fill in gaps like in modern movies. Even the low budget movies like the ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ (the Trinity series were always fun) had more story and character development than most of today’s movies. Hollywood nowadays seems to substitute good storylines with special effects, endless shooting (John Wick?) and mass explosions etc hoping it will make up for poor plot, acting and stories. Mind you, CGI isn’t necessarily bad, as many movies could probably never be made without it or as readily, but if it’s simply used as a crutch to make a movie entertaining, then it fails the test of making a movie in the first place.
And if Hollywood isn’t using special effects to bolster poor movies, they are now making movies that simply try to lecture viewers on their moral failures (moral failures according to Hollywood). This is really noticeable when it comes to the latest ‘action’ movies such as Captain Marvel, Batwoman, Terminator, Ghostbusters etc (and even the latest Dr Who), where women are now the dominant superhero (there’s nothing wrong with that), but in these movies every man is now a lesser being and viewers are constantly being lectured about misogyny etc. Good vs bad has now become women vs men, white vs non-white, conservative vs progressive etc. Movies that veer from this theme are hated by the Left and examples of such are the likes of the recent Dave Chappelle comedy film and the latest Joker movie. The former takes lots of digs at today’s social justice warriors and the latter depicts real issues that men with mental problems face in today’s world. Both are issues that strike at the hearts of the Left and they don’t want to talk about issues that they have created. And so it’s little wonder that when movie ratings are revealed, the critics love one style of movie and give high scores, but viewers hate the same and give low scores.
The situation of ‘bad’ Hollywood movies has become so severe that many movie fans are making their own movies based on the originals, in an attempt to bring back what created fans of these movies in the first place. I’ve watched a few of these and, given the very low budgets available, some are absolutely outstanding and far more watchable than most Hollywood crap. Hollywood has become so ‘woke’ that their movies no longer appeal to the majority of moviegoers, yet they have to keep churning out these disliked movies because they are controlled by woke management, directors and whatnot. And then there are the interminable remakes when all else fails. Remakes aren’t always bad, but when they are made for the wrong reasons and poorly executed, they become monumental flops. But nothing seems to avert this trend.
What’s the future of Hollywood movies? Who knows, but competition is growing with the likes of Netflix and Netflix Originals plus independently produced movies screened on Netflix, and I guess similarly with Hulu, Amazon and whoever else is producing movies and TV series to compete with Hollywood. This is not to say that the former will produce movies that don’t have similar ‘flaws’, but at least there is the chance for movies that are less out to lecture and more to entertain and provoke thought, and hopefully be brightly lit and colourful. There may be some hope yet.