It is pretty hard to come up with an original idea in Hollywood. In all honesty, I don’t expect them to. Ideas can be recycled as long as they are kept fresh and exciting. However, it is hard not to ignore some of the ideas that have been recycled continuously throughout modern films. 2012 was the worst year for it, as if all of the writers got together and decided on a theme to have throughout the year in cinema.
I am not saying these films are bad for doing this (in fact, most of them have some of the sharpest scripts I have seen in a while), but I think that this article proves that we have a close eye on some of the latest blockbusters and that they should think of something else, if these things come up in a tone or production meeting. Something tells me that this isn’t the last we have seen of these ideas though.
Warning: I am going to spoil the following movies (and series). Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall, Avengers Assemble, House M.D, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Armageddon, Looper, Sixth Sense
3 – THE VILLAIN NEEDS TO BE CAPTURED FOR HIS PLAN TO WORK
As seen in: Avengers Assemble, Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall
The best villains are the ones that have plans so complex that they almost seem god-like. Silva from Skyfall was impressive, because he spent years perfecting his plan. When he finally set it in motion, the audience were awe-struck at how intricate it was and how everything fell into place. And for the final part of the movie, he conducted it from inside his own prison cell. Capturing him was useless, as it was what Javier Bardem wanted all along.
Wait, that sounds familiar. Like the first five minutes of Dark Knight Rises, when Bane delivers himself to the CIA to get to the witness he needs. And, of course, Loki pretty much defeated the Avengers by manipulating them from inside his own jail cell. It is a narrative device that seems to keep popping up in films. I can see why: as I have said, it looks really impressive and shows you how cool a villain is. And in the case of Silva, Bardem got to show off how good his Hannibal Lecter impression was. But before long, the good guys are just going to start just shooting the bad guys in the head.
Oh, and I am pretty sure Benedict Cumberbatch is going to do the same in Star Trek Into Darkness from the looks of this photo.
2 – THE ENTIRE FILM IS BASED ON REVENGE
As seen in: Django Unchained, Parker, Skyfall, Dark Knight Rises, Transporter
Revenge is quite a popular theme. For one, just by throwing that word into an action movie and the writers don’t need to focus on plot or anything anymore. You can kind of forgive Quentin Tarantino falling back on this cliché so much (Inglorious Basterds, Kill Bill, Django Unchained), because he keeps it universal and acknowledges the laziness of the story. But with other films, you begin to roll your eyes.
Pretty much casting Jason Statham in the movie and it automatically becomes a film about revenge. It is as if it is somewhere in his contract (this also includes Hummingbird, the next Statham flick out in May). At least with Skyfall and Dark Knight Rises, the theme of revenge is taken up by the villain, but even then I felt Skyfall fell flat, when the villain’s masterful plot was about something so simple and petty. Revenge just screams laziness. At least with Die Hard 3, revenge was a side-goal of Simon Gruber, rather than the entire backbone of the movie.
1 – THE HERO DIES, BUT DOESN’T REALLY…
As seen in: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Skyfall, Dark Knight Rises, Avengers Assemble, Bourne Ultimatum
Killing off the hero is a pretty shock ending. It makes him seem even more heroic, like off Looper, redeeming his bad character. Or otherwise, it can just make a bittersweet ending to a movie, like Bruce Willis in ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Sixth Sense’ (and technically Looper, so this story device might just be for Bruce Willis). However, sometimes a movie wants to try and be fairly light-hearted and killing off the beloved star can dampen the tone a little. Therefore, a final note to show the audience that the hero didn’t really die can make a movie really special.
That was what made the last Sherlock Holmes movie so awesome. And of course, that is the twist ending to Dark Knight Rises, one reason that the film is so special. Wait, didn’t Whedon try and make us think he had killed off Iron Man at the end of Avengers? Hell, even House from the TV series decided to end the movie in that way. The whole point of this ending is the surprise factor, yet I have a fear that this trick is going to get old, if all of the directors try and go for it.
Hats off to Skyfall though. Sam Mendes knew that no one fell for Bond’s fake death, so there wasn’t even a reveal. It just cut to a shot of Daniel Craig having sex on an island. It was such a lazy reveal, it was great.