john’s review published on Letterboxd:
THIS IS NOT A REVIEW, THIS IS MY PROBLEM WITH DISNEY
As a fan of all things cinema, of course we must address the big elephant in the room. The big media monopoly empire, Disney. Throughout the last decade, the house of mouse has only gained a bigger following, receiving more revenue from each film released. Whether it is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) or Star Wars, hell even thrown in the amount of live action films they’ve released and Pixar, there is no sign of slowing down for Disney. While I am a fan of the MCU and Star Wars, recently it has bothered me how familiar and stale each film looks and feels. Every MCU film is the same thing; beat the bad guy and have some funny quips here and there. Star Wars is the same thing, a franchise built on innovation and pioneering the film industry as we know it. This last slew of Star Wars films have been great (I personally think The Last Jedi is my favorite entry in the Star Wars franchise) but they have lost the risk taking nature on what makes Star Wars what it is. Now this is definitely because of money because if there is anything that places butts in seats at the theater its Marvel and Star Wars. However, there was a time where Disney had some flops here and there and this is personally my favorite side of Disney, when they weren’t afraid to take risks with their blockbusters and even if they flopped they still managed to make audiences smile.
In the 2000’s and early 2010’s, Disney, while still making familiar and bland films for the sake of a profit, were releasing new IP projects to the public and some were even sequels to old franchises, these films flopped hard and had extremely high budgets attached to them. Films like the Pirates trilogy, TRON: Legacy, John Carter, and Tomorrowland all were original or sequels to classic franchises and this is when they gave filmmakers free control of their projects. I seriously believe that the 2010 film TRON: Legacy is the best blockbuster from the last decade, hell you got cool motorcycle battles, and Daft Punk doing the music, what more could you ask for. The Pirates Trilogy is some of the most dark and metal filmmaking from Disney, and is something we will never see more often from them. Sure, Pixar and Disney are doing original animated films, but that is not the same. The only film I could consider to be under this umbrella of risk-taking blockbusters is The Last Jedi, where Rian Johnson subverted audiences expectations and had themes of being a jedi without being related to a Skywalker. The things like that are what I want to see from blockbuster movies, bold and fresh and thought provoking entertainment.
I long for the days of Disney to return back to this era of filmmaking, instead of being a greedy conglomerate of a company, they actually cared about what they were releasing. Sure, they weren't sure fire hits but it shows that Disney is not afraid to go outside of the norm. Unfortunately, we live in a world where every classic Disney cartoon is being remade into live action and they continue to reign in the million dollar goalline. I hope Disney returns back to this time, it would be amazing for what technology could do if they actually gave an oddball idea to a talented filmmaker.