Choobineh: Hollywood writers can do better

Bijan Choobineh

Saying in a deep voice, “I’m Batman,” is not enough. I consider why I don’t watch too many new films. After some consideration, I found it is simply because most movies I see follow the same formula, being another bloody this or another bloody that. The problem with movies today is that there is a lack of creativity in the movies themselves, leading to the movie being another bloody something.

There are two distinct categories of problems Hollywood is currently experiencing. The first main problem is that they are simply running out of ideas. If you go online and see what movies are coming out soon you will see what I mean. For example, the first two movies that matched my query was “Jurassic Park” in 3D, as well as the new “G.I. Joe” movie.

Both of these movies made my eyes roll; not because of how cheesy they might be, but because they have been done to death. How many “Jurassic Park” movies do we have now? These movies are not being made to explore some new realm, but to make a quick buck. The biggest example I can give you of this is George Lucas’ “Star Wars” franchise. Now say what you will about the movies, but it has been stretched so far that even fans are getting annoyed. I recently watched the “Star Wars Christmas Special,” and it made my eyes bleed. It was obviously made to make a quick buck. Even George Lucas has stated he was personally ashamed of it.

The second type of problem Hollywood is facing is technology and how to use it. To be blunt, technology should not replace decent storytelling, plot, etc. Let us look at animation, for example. Recently, there has been a large number of animated movies coming to theaters. I am not saying these movies were bad, for example “Wreck-It Ralph” was pretty decent, but these movies run into the same issue of creativity I mentioned earlier. When I was watching “Wreck-It Ralph,” I essentially predicted the plot and character development. This, sadly, is not because I am psychic, but because it is simply too obvious. So many of these films follow the same pattern, plot and development is just another bloody something. Here’s the key, neat animation is not a replacement for good writing.

The second component of the technological problem in Hollywood today is special effects. I wouldn’t be a good critic if I didn’t address this train wreck. Just like animation, special effects cannot and should not ever be the sole replacement for good writing. It is meant to be the ketchup to your burger. 

The key movie example of this is “Avatar,” with the main director example, ironically, being Michael Bay. Some people really liked “Avatar,” but I found it to be a mixture of several other classic movies that replaced plot and narrative with flashy special effects. This movie may serve well as an evening of entertainment but it will certainly never go down in the books as a classic, or even as a great movie. This problem with creativity applies equally so, if not even more to Bay and his obsession with special effects.

The obvious question that lies before us is what is our alternative. I would be lying to you if I said I expected every film to have a perfect narrative, plot and character development, but we have to at least try. Hollywood needs to find the right combination and balance of special effects and writing, while trying not to constantly reboot something. If you want an example of this balance, look no further than the “Dark Knight.” The “Dark Knight” had its fair share of special effects, no doubt, but it was obvious there was work done in the writing department and it certainly showed with the thought-provoking plot.

We are not perfect, and neither is Hollywood, but is it too much to ask to at least try?

Bijan Choobineh is a senior in political science from Ames, Iowa.