We live in an age when sequels are dropped into multiplexes on an almost weekly basis. In fact, if a week goes by when we don’t get one, it’s genuinely a surprise. Director Brad Bird has now joined the growing masses by voicing his concerns about the impact this is having on cinema, stating that the lack of originality is now "worrying."
Brad Bird, who has overseen some of the most gorgeously unique original films of the last decade in the shape of The Incredibles and Ratatouille, while he also deserves kudos for at least attempting a big-scale original film with Tomorrowland, made his remarks while talking to Entertainment Weekly. Bird admitted that, even though some of his favorite films are sequels – I’m looking at you Empire Strikes Back – he believes more needs to be done to combat the increasing reliance on follow-ups. He explained:
Of course, it’s very easy for Bird to make such a statement, but does he actually have a plan for dealing with this epidemic? Well, it turns out that he does. He followed up his complaint by proclaiming:
That sound you just heard was Hollywood condescendingly patting Brad Bird on the head as they praised him for his idyllic view-point before collectively dismissing his plan. Unfortunately, while his outline probably wouldn’t be too bad an idea for how Hollywood should proceed, there’s simply no way the powers that be will implement it.
Through his career, Brad Bird himself has tried to follow such a plan. After helping to create the animation style of The Simpsons, he gloriously adapted The Iron Giant, before creating Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and Tomorrowland.
In between these he worked on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the fourth instalment to the Tom Cruise led franchise, and he’s currently hard at work on the screenplay for The Incredibles 2. Unfortunately, following the box office failure of Tomorrowland, Brad Bird knows exactly how much Hollywood studios currently rely on sequels to turn a profit.
Inside Out was the only original title to excel at the box office this year, with the rest of the worldwide top 10, bar San Andreas at number 9, being made up of sequels or coming from source material. That makes for such depressing reading that I want to weep. Or you can just go and watch an indie flick. Sure, the production values are low, but at least it’s original. On second thought, I’d rather weep.