There are plenty of films out there that just do the bare minimum. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad, but they play to an audience that they know exists and whether they are good or not, there is a decent chance they will find that audience. However, every now and then a film comes along that tries something a bit different and is full of big ideas. Quite often these films don’t quite work and something is a bit off about them. However, should these films not be celebrated over even the better of the safe films? Movies that go for broke and don’t quite make it are surely more exciting than movies that play be all the rules?
This thought comes off the back of Tomorrowland, the Disney film based on the area in Disney Land of the same name. There are some great ideas in Tomorrowland, mainly in the alternate dimension of Tomorrowland itself, but the film itself ultimately never quite manages to live up to them. It flounders on occasion and is brought down by a message that is painted in broad strokes and the fact that it doesn’t quite give us enough of this interesting and innovative world that they have created. However, I would argue that it is still worthy of more praise than a film which hits more often, but does so in a rather boring way.
Despite my love of superhero movies, there is no denying that modern-day Hollywood has settled itself into a rather comfortable groove, which it looks in no danger of bouncing out of. Remakes, sequels and superheros are the order of the day and more often than not, these films do nothing to buck the mold. I had a ridiculous amount of fun watching Fast & Furious 7, but there was nothing in there that felt new or original. It all felt huge, but it didn’t feel fresh. Films like Tomorrowland fight against that. This is a new idea, which does something a little bit different and that makes it a lot easier to like, even if it is does occasionally fail.
Of course, this trend isn’t limited to Hollywood and in fact, there are a lot more of these films outside of that world than inside it. Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin came out in 2013 and was a wonderful example of a movie which was full to the brim with ideas and creativity, however was far from perfect. It was without a doubt a flawed film, but it was easier to forgive that, because of the risks it took. By taking risks these movies insure that they stick in the mind for a long time and they are the kind of film which you walk out of and want to talk about.
Risk taking in art is how we move forward. Yesterday’s risk is today’s normality and it’s easy to forget that the idea of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe would have probably been considered insane not too long ago. Films like Tomorrowland are never going to be considered classics, but the risks it takes and the scale it tries to reach towards make it a worthy addition to any cinematic canon. This willingness to hit for the fences rather than go for the easy run means that even if it does fall short of a lot of the current cinematic fare, it is still more worthy of a praise than most of them.