If you were to talk to any A-list director about their inspiration in becoming a filmmaker undoubtably the words “Star Wars” will be somewhere in that conversation. This begs the question what franchise in today’s market Will earn that coveted spot of being ration for tomorrow’s group of A-list directors. A lot goes in to make me successful movie franchise and breaking that formula down maybe the key component into finding out which franchise is going to be the films that will inspire a generation.
A lot can be said for this franchise as it singlehandedly turned what we knew about comic book movies on its ear. Its unabashed script, only equaled by the incomparable Robert Downey Jr., left the audience in awe of what could be achieved both in comedy and overall scope while still maintaining the integrity of the source material or “IP” (Intellectual Property). The possibilities were so infinite that it caught the attention of leading lady Gweneth Paltrow and she took a chance on playing a diminished role in the initial installment in order to join the all-star cast. Although he has better work out there, Jon Faverau was able to balance the script, the cast, the budget and the scope of the title for the first two movies. In another director’s hands, it simply wouldn’t have had the same feel that allowed the movies to take hold of the audience. All in all, a worthy mention but lacking the necessary ingredients to inspire the masses toward a life dedicated to film.
Thanks in large part to Bryan Singer’s handling of the franchise, it has become a Juggernaut (pun intended). An all-star cast led by two real-life Knights in Partrick Stewart and Ian McKellen and launching Hugh Jackman’s star into its rightful place, the first two films in the franchise were forces to be reckoned with. Singer’s directing in X-Men 2 is widely considered among his best efforts at the helm if not his absolute best, however a bow out of the third film in the series left Brett Ratner to direct a film that may have spelled the end of the franchise. If not for Singer’s vision and desire to push this series in a whole new direction this franchise would have been a dark-horse to vie for this prestigious title. However, the triumphant return of Singer and his label, Bad Hat Harry guiding the franchise to a resurgence in interest and adoration for the franchise. Although, the series as of late has done and will do some very good things, the fact that the series as a whole has had multiple directors (Matthew Vaughn should be thrown into the mix as well), off-shoots (the Wolverine series) and had two separate timelines, makes this franchise entertaining, engaging, watchable and re-watchable, but not the one directors of tomorrow will point to when looking at their inspirations for becoming a filmmaker.
This icon of pop culture has fascinated millions over the course of it’s run. George Lucas brought a love of archeology to the big screen. Steven Spielberg made this huge story a personal one as it details one man’s (and a love interest and a Short Round’s) quest to track down artifacts and fight against the Nazis. As good as this franchise of films, it was conversely that bad at moments (Capshaw’s turn as Willie Scott, and the whole debacle that was “…The Crystal Skull”). The meteoric rise of these films, is juxtaposed by George Lucas’ willingness to make more of them regardless of the price his legacy pays. Is it right in so many ways? Yes. Is it wrong in just that many? No. But it’s flawed enough as a series to not be mentioned in the same breath as the front runners for the crown. It’s more likely that the people watching this series become archeologists before they become filmmakers.
The Dark Knight Trilogy
Definitely a filmmakers series of films. The Dark Knight series marked the ascension of Christopher Nolan, one of the greatest filmmakers of our generation. It masked his propensity for using the same actors over and over again (save for Katie Holmes, who backed out of The Dark Knight to work on another film), everything was particularly well written and the mood from film to film to film remained the same. If you were looking for a trilogy where each movie could stand on its own as a feat in film making this is the one. Chris Nolan directed and produced all three which helps the continuity of story, the villains were some of the best in the history of trilogies and the definition of each character is what has this series making a bonafide run at the top spot on the podium. The only detracting factor is that The Dark Knight was so far superior to the other two films in the trilogy that it seems the standard isn’t kept from one to film to the next. Nolan is Nolan, and he is great, however this series falls just short.
(Daniel Craig’s) Bond Series
Director Sam Mendes is at his apex here. Quantum of Solace was haled as a breakthrough and Skyfall is the best Bond films in the last thirty years. The remake of Casino Royale is on par with its predecessor. If this follows through to Spectre, it will allow the Bond series to ascend to another echelon. With everything that this series specifically has going for it, it’s admittedly hard to find issue with why this generation of audience wont find inspiration in these films. However, the series is simply too iconic. From the novels by Ian Fleming to the actual portrayal by Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton and more, it becomes harder and harder with each incarnation of script, book, and actor to best the public’s expectation of these works.
This Young Adult books series was integral in the lives of many in film school today. They sped through the books just in time for the movies to hit theaters. Pop culture watched with baited breath as unknown actors meshed with veteran talent on screen. We not only watched these kids grow up, we watched them mature into established actors. As big of an impression as these films made upon fans of all ages, these films just aren’t it. From a technical aspect the source material is poorly written, and although the films have arguably been better directed than the books were written, the revolving door of helmers, from the well respected Cuaron, and Columbus and so forth, the continuity of mood from film to film has changed. While these directors are to be applauded for their work on other films, this series isn’t the inspirational kind.
Lord Of The Rings
When you put a relatively obscure director in Peter Jackson in charge of some pretty popular I.P. it could either fall on its face or revolutionize what the tentpole franchise could become. Thankfully, the latter took place. Peter Jackson’s feel for what Middle Earth could be was a tipping point in what turns this series from trilogy to triumph. Deftly cast and brilliantly produced, this turn on the book series took some artistic license but stayed true enough as to not alienate the book readers yet enhance an already intricate story. This series was a significant display of talent for Jackson as well as a departure from his earlier work. It catapulted his career into the stratosphere and he hasn’t looked back since. This project is the one that dreams are made of. Dreams that the children in the audience will likely seek to fulfill later in life. For all of these reasons and many more, it’s clear that this series will be the one to inspire the next generation.
What do you think will be the next big franchise? Let us know in the comments!