Since Dr.No (1962), Star Wars (1977), The Terminator (1984) and Jurassic Park (1993), these four major franchises have come a long way! They have single-handedly defined the concept of what makes a great blockbuster in each decade.
Since their first features, they have all been followed up with sequels, remakes and now regenerations!
In a blockbuster world which is now dominated by teen fantasy franchises such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, along with the undeniable success of Marvel and DC Comics, who are currently announcing plans for their next decade in cinema, some would say that the return of these four classics could be a very risky and bold move. Has the world of film and cinema outgrown these names?
1. There’s always room for more Bond
Any long-term fans of James Bond films, will have become acclimatised to the continual re-casting for the role of Bond, the introduction of new storylines such as Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) featuring Pierce Brosnan, as well as the re-making of old storylines such as Casino Royale (2006) with the latest 007, Daniel Craig.
Although the latest Bond might not be everybody’s favourite, due to moving away from the well-known dark haired and slim James Bond appearance of Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton for instance, to a fair haired and muscular Daniel Craig, among other reasons, it is hard to deny that Skyfall (2012) was a great success! The director, Sam Mendes, brought back the classic and British feel of the original Bond films, with some superb acting from Javier Bardem, and a very emotional development in the famous ‘M’s character (played by Judi Dench).
With Mendes returning as the director for the next motion picture Spectre (2015), bringing back a host of actors from the previous film such as the young, quirky and sarcastic Agent Q (Ben Whishaw) and introducing one of the best actors, personally, in recent years Christoph Waltz as the Bond villain ‘Oberhauser’, this film currently has a recipe for success!
In terms of release date, Mendes seems to be switched on in this aspect as well! With a late October release date, he ensures that he steers clear of a release around the likes of Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 2015) and new teen craze ‘The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials’ (September 2015). However, the very popular ‘Hunger Games’ franchise will be releasing the final instalment of their story in the same month.
Prediction: A box office success, which if written well, could lead to a 007 film, scoping an award due to its late release – (Best bet: Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz).
2. Making up for Rise of the Machines & Terminator: Salvation (for some)? Or just jumping on the back of the brilliance of T2: Judgement Day?
One thing is for sure in 2015, Arnold Schwarzenegger is BACK! However, can we expect a revival of the declining Terminator franchise or simply an obliteration of it, as we have seen in the most recent case of an ageing action hero returning to try and save his franchise once more – A Good Day to Die Hard (2013). This film was overcooked and personally, an embarrassment to the original Christmas time thriller Die Hard (1988) starring Bruce Willis, and it is my worry that Terminator: Genisys (July 2015) could well do the same thing for The Terminator franchise.
With the likes of Jai Courtney playing Kyle Reese, I worry further. However, Emma Clarke (Game of Thrones) playing Sarah Connor along with Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) playing John Connor gives me more hope, as they are both great actors in my opinion. On the other hand, as we have seen with the previous Terminator films, the cast is not everything! Considering the best 2 of the 4 films included the likes of Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong, and the most recent included Christian Bale (The Batman Trilogy and many more), it really shows that the story is the most important factor here. Since James Cameron has not directed any of the films since the second and will not be included in this upcoming feature, I can’t say I have a lot of confidence in the strength and success of this film!
Yet, as a big Terminator fan, I am very excited about the concept and approach this next film will take, as well as seeing Arnie return for some non-CGI action for a change!
Prediction: An short-lived success at the box office, once again creating debate among Terminator fans whether it was actually a decent film or not!
3. Smart move casting an actor at the top (Chris Pratt) as the lead role to help bring back this much loved dinosaur franchise!
Since Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Chris Pratt has been one of the most talked about actors in the business! His comical yet emotional portrayal of Star Lord in the recent Marvel film is likely to have put him in demand with a lot of directors.
We are obviously expecting to see him appearing in the Marvel franchises more frequently in coming years, but I don’t think many of us were expecting to see him help revive the ground-breaking ‘Jurassic Park’ franchise originally introduced by the legendary Steven Spielberg. Unfortunately when Joe Johnston took hold of the franchise for the third instalment in 2001, the popularity of dinosaur flicks as well as the quality of writing, clearly, had fallen. Instead, the likes of X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002) were taking the blockbuster audiences by force. Therefore, I am sure the majority of worries from fans and critics are that they are basically trying to re-enter an industry which is still lead by the likes of comic book heroes and now the likes of teen warriors.
For many it would seem that giving the job of directing a Steven Spielberg franchise to an inexperienced blockbuster maker like Colin Trevorrow is a bold move, however something people can find comfort in is the storyline. The fact that it links to the original 1993 epic is a start, but as it focuses on the ‘Isla Nublar’ now having a fully functioning theme park which is being revitalised itself, in order to re-spark visitors’ interest, the film has quite a ‘tongue in cheek’ comeback approach, which then makes you realise why the comedy of Chris Pratt may appear very valuable.
Prediction: Very excited about this one! A long success at the box office, proving that a dinosaur film still has a place as a Blockbuster – Only worry is a June release date which is very close to the Avengers: Age of Ultron release.
4. ‘Star Trek’ Director brings back ‘Star Wars’!!
The ‘will they or won’t they’ comeback, which perhaps, more people have been hoping for than any of the other franchises previously discussed! J.J. Abrams, creator of the marmite series ‘Lost’ and the acclaimed director of the recent Star Trek films starring Chris Pine, is bringing back perhaps the only blockbuster which did not need an all-star cast to be a success (minus Harrison Ford). However, as this film is in fact a continuation of the Star Wars story set 30 years after the 6th and final instalment ‘Return of the Jedi’ (1983), the characters of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) are all back; for how much of the film, we are yet to find out!
This film will, on the other hand, pave the way for up and coming actors such as Domhnall Gleeson (About Time), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) and John Boyega who is only known unfortunately for the british comedy/spoof horror ‘Attack the Block (2011)’.
As the latest release of these four blockbusters (Mid-December 2015), it has a great chance at being a Christmas success, with very little competition standing in its way (unless you include the 5th comeback film of 2015 – Mission Impossible 5!).
Prediction: This film will be the film discussion of the year, especially towards the end of the year! I am very confident it will be a visual masterpiece, judging on J.J. Abrams’ latest work on Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) which was incredible.