• James Hewlett

Movie Stories of the Decade

Another week into December, another look back at the decade. Today though instead of looking at me I’m going to have a bit of a look at the films of the past ten years.

Every movie publication under the sun and seemingly every other site out there too is making their best of the decade lists at the moment. I’ve seen a lot of Top 100’s.

I’m not going to do that. I’m not even going to make a list of my favourite movies of the year, let alone the decade. What I’m going to do is talk about some of the biggest stories in film from the 2010’s. Please bear in mind that this is completely from memory and off the top of my head. I’m bound to miss some crucial stuff and talk about things that seem trivial and meaningless to a lot of people, but it is what I am remembering while writing this.

For me, obviously, the biggest story in the world of film possibly ever is Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and reviving the Star Wars franchise on the big screen. It is a defining moment. I remember exactly where I was when I saw the news. I had just parked my car and was walking to work on a Saturday morning in October 2012. I opened up slashfilm.com to see what the headlines were and was inundated with article after article about all of the available information we had at the time. Three years later, I was no longer working in a comic book store surrounded by other people with similar interests but my excitement was palpable for the release of The Force Awakens. That excitement hasn’t ever really faded since that day in October 2012. Everyone has an opinion on every bit of Star Wars material released since the acquisition by the mouse, but now when we say Star Wars is forever we’re not just talking about that being true in our hearts and on the pages of various printed mediums, but it means that there is always going to be something new to be excited for in the galaxy far, far away.

Sticking with Disney, another gigantic story to come out of this decade is one that was ruminating for a number of years. It was talked about as on the cards for a while before Bob Iger announced in December 2017 that they would be purchasing rival studio 20th Century Fox.

It took a while longer for it to all shake out. There was a lot of assets to be sorted out. Fox as an independent entity isn’t gone as some would believe, but the film production studio that has been a Hollywood stalwart for decades is now a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, much in the same way Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm are.

In the short term it’s exciting that properties like X-Men and Fantastic Four can now be integrated in to the MCU, the larger picture of a monopoly studio controlling everything is much more concerning. Time will tell.

These segue-ways are working out too nicely… The Marvel Cinematic Universe. It started in the previous decade with Iron Man and Incredible Hulk but the greater connected universe really only became the box office institution it is today in this decade. If you thought that 2012’s uber-crossover smash hit Avengers was the pinnacle of the comic book movie mountain you were sorely mistaken. Without fail Kevin Fiege has delivered box office hit and what’s more impressive is that most people seem to have put their complete trust in his operation and are willing to blindly see anything they put out without any prior knowledge or connection to the characters. Successes like Black Panther and Captain Marvel, while they took a while to get to there, have done a lot to open up diversity and representation in cinema on the whole, not just comic book movies, and you can constantly look to Marvel Studios to see what everyone else will be chasing to try and recapture in the following years.

That representation has taken on many different forms and if you ask me, the most important for the world at large is the ongoing effect of what has been referred to as Times Up and the Me Too movement.

It always starts with one person deciding, enough is enough, and speaking out against injustice, cruelty, manipulation, abuse of power, assault, intimidation and many other heinous crimes. Harvey Weinstein was the first Hollywood superpower to be called out for his putrid actions against countless victims in his years in the industry but within a matter of days and in the months and now years since, the barn doors have been flung open and some real semblance of chance has swept across the industry.

The term ‘such and such has been “cancelled”’ is the current parlance when talking about those who have been accused. Former big names such as Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and John Lasseter are all but done at this point, but as with ever big movement there are intricacies and different stories do come out. For a while it seemed as though Johnny Depp was a wife beating douchebag, but given some time and more evidence, it now appears more likely that he was in fact the victim of domestic abuse himself. Thats just one example and I am not making any judgments for or against anyone, its not my place to do that. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though anyone is willing to take on that responsibility either as despite the multitude of accusations, arrests and prosecutions, not many of these terrible people are having to deal with the consequences of their actions beyond having a quieter working schedule.

The toxicity of the film industry hasn’t been isolated to the gross humans involved on the production level, audiences in the past decade have regressed from passionate to down right disgusting and entitled.

This behaviour has unfortunately risen concurrently with the rise of the genre and franchise film popularity. It shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise though, comic book fans have been vocal for good and for ill for all time its just a case of them having a larger platform and audience now to spew their vitriol. The echo chamber effect also has a a big part to play in the cycle of hatred and in some cases bullying that has gone along with many of the big releases of the past ten years, the internet is an amazing thing but when people stick to only reading and listening to those with the same opinions as themselves it can create a bubble of disgusting behaviour that everyone involved with should be ashamed of.

A big shift in movie production in the past ten years has come from the investments being made into big studio movies. China overtook the United States in number of cinema screens for the first time ever and in doing so saw a rise in revenue. Without touching that hot button topic too deeply it is worth saying that Chinese investment has influenced American movies in ways many wouldn’t even notice. It is now not uncommon for a blockbuster movie to have an entirely alternate cut featuring a character of Chinese decent that may not be seen in the western world.

I am all for inclusion and representation when it is written into the film organically but having these scenes just inserted in for the sake of appeasing money men doesn’t sit right with me.

Something that does sit right with me, though maybe not everyone else, is the rise of the streaming services. Netflix started something, Amazon Prime are on their heels and everyone else either has their own service launching or in the works. This is nothing new, it has been building for years and even at the start of the decade it became clear that this was going to be most peoples primary sources of home entertainment. What changed was when these services started producing their own content and buying in independent movies that otherwise might not have got distribution from the traditional studio system.

The results may not have been consistently good, but it has opened up a whole level of film makers to being able to get their foot in the door and new blood is always good.

As I said at the top, there are a bunch of things I haven’t touched on. Remember when Sony got hacked and it killed a Spider-Man franchise? Alright, it wasn’t a big loss but still. Remember all those shitty remakes of eighties and nineties movies? No, me neither, but they exist! I’m didn’t want to go over everything, but I hope you enjoyed what I had to say on these bits and pieces. I’m thinking I’ll do another post looking back at another aspect of the decade next weekend, if there is anything in particular you’d be interested in me writing about please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Otherwise, I’ll be back tomorrow with some more of the regular bull shit.

#films #movies #entertainment #media #controversy #decade #twentytens #history #memories #starwars #marvel #comicbooks #streaming #netflix #amazonprime #internet #toxic


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©2017 by James Hewlett.