The Decline of Summer Blockbusters

By: Zev Behar  |  August 29, 2016

Star TrekHave major Hollywood studios given up on producing a summer blockbuster whose plot goes deeper than “get the bad guy,” or do they genuinely think that what they are producing is quality film? This question has plagued me all summer as I went from theater to theater, my excitement quickly changing to obvious disappointment. Independence Day is arguably one of the best alien invasion movies ever made. Star Trek is one of, if not the most celebrated science fiction series’ ever made. So why is it so difficult for studios to produce a single sequel with any amount of substance?

Independence Day: Resurgence was an orgy of explosions, CGI, and wildly testosterone filled soldiers. Unfortunately, none of those things contributed to a single cohesive plot for the movie, which some rumors (created by me) suggest was written by watching a five-year-old playing with a toy soldier and a plushy E.T. doll. Resurgence cost a whopping $165 million to make. With a budget that big it is unacceptable for Resurgence to be what it is.

Star Trek: Beyond is the third installment in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek universe, and by far the worst. Although the acting was enjoyable, and the effects were fantastic, the villain of the movie was absolutely absurd. (SPOILER ALERT:) The villain’s objective in this movie was to destroy the Federation because he had been a soldier, and then after the war he was in ended, became a pilot, got lost, and blamed the federation for never getting him, even though it would have been impossible to find him in the infinity of space. In addition, he somehow had survived hundreds of years by inventing/discovering some ancient way of elongating his life. His motives make no sense and the way that he was able to survive so long to be able to get revenge was absurd. Beyond tried to play it safe by going with a cliché villain and it cost them big time since it turned what could have been a great movie into a boring replay of every “I’m a bad guy because I’m bad” villain.

The lack of effort put into these movies is clear. Even with budgets well over $100 million dollars, which many people in Hollywood would kill for, these movies failed to produce any redeeming qualities. This is not a new phenomenon though. Unfortunately, for many years, movie studios have been funding summer blockbusters with millions of dollars to produce CGI, explosion filled movies with absolutely nothing else going for them besides good effects. It seems like the creators of these movies have too much money and don’t know what to do with all of it, so they only invest in special effects and ignore all other aspects that go into making a movie. I wouldn’t be surprised if, given half, or even a third of the budget given, these movies would have turned out better. Unfortunately, we won’t find out because these movies still make tons of money from ridiculous, absurd, silly fools: fools like me who enjoy watching movies that have cool CGI, huge explosions, and testosterone filled soldiers.