Southern Utah Entertainment: Was 2023 the Most Disappointing Year for Film?
My name is Stockton Myers, and even though I write news for a living, I’m an entertainment and pop culture fanatic. One of the ways I look forward to the new year is by looking at the release calendar for film, television, and even video games.
While television and video games performed very admirably in 2023, film has fallen behind egregiously, specifically when it comes to big AAA movie studios like Disney and Warner Bros Discovery.
I remember my eyes emitting a gleam of optimism when 2022 was about to end because there was so much to look forward to in 2023. I mean come on, a new Indiana Jones, a 100-year celebration of Disney, and fascinating ideas for new biopics and documentaries.
Most of the films of 2023 not only disappointed me, but a long SAG-AFTRA strike made matters even worse for those looking toward a happy career in film and television.
Let’s start with “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” Arguably my biggest pet peeve in any type of fictional media is when serious character development happens off-screen or in between films.
Indiana Jones and the Tale of a Drunk Old Man
Such is the case for the fifth outing of Dr. Jones since he suddenly turned into a sad drunk of a man with only brief explanations as to why he ended up the way he did. I ALWAYS prefer to see these types of developments happen on the screen for everyone to see. It essentially erases any kind of character development Jones had in his previous films just to set the stage for a sub-par movie. Let me be clear, if you enjoyed Dial of Destiny, good for you! I honestly wish I was you; However, The Last Crusade is my favorite film of all time, and Dial of Destiny sadly didn’t even come close for me.
100 Years of Disney Magic Ends with a Wish Unfulfilled
Let’s talk about Disney’s 100-year celebration. One of the most important studios in the world with so much to celebrate in terms of contributions to an average American’s life. While Disney did make a 12-minute short celebrating its many beloved properties called “Once Upon a Studio.” That was all well and good, but “Wish” was supposed to be the grand opus celebrating a century of Disney. For many, it may seem like a solid animated feature for kids, but for me, that 48% Rotten Tomatoes score from critics means a lot. This is 100 years we’re talking about here, and the general reaction is “Eh, it’s alright.” Hence, my disappointment.
Coyote VS Warner Bros Discovery
Lastly, ever since Warner Bros. merged with Discovery and changed their streaming platform by cutting mountains of content from the service, I’ve lost a whole lot of respect for the studio that birthed The Looney Tunes. Speaking of the Tunes, Coyote VS. ACME was a film planned to be released this year about Wiley Coyote suing the ACME Corp. for their faulty hardware causing the coyote to suffer in terms of physical harm, and mental harm from not catching the Roadrunner.
Sounds like a really fun idea, right? Sadly, Warner Bros Discovery tried to shelf the film to use it as a tax write-off, something that’s become all too common for this new era for the WB. The film was essentially completed and had already performed well with test audiences, but Warner Bros canned it anyway.
Luckily, fans of The Looney Tunes (which should be everyone in my opinion) rallied together to shout to the heavens to bring the film back from the dead. The latest development of this story is that Warner Bros couldn’t take the backlash and decided to sell the film to the highest bidder. No purchase has been made as of yet, but the social media outcry is causing some potential distributors to turn their heads. I only hope the film is good when it eventually releases, but it’s nice to see that there is going to be some sort of happy ending here.
It Wasn’t All Bad
While American studios haven’t fared well for the most part in 2023, there are some obvious winners among the swath of mediocre releases. Spider-Man: Across the Spiderverse is one of the most beautifully animated films I’ve ever seen, Japan showed up to play and released “Godzilla Minus One,” and “The Boy and the Heron” back-to-back, and the Michael J. Fox documentary called “Still” is a brilliant look at the beloved actor if you don’t mind the language.
As for superhero movies in general for 2023…that’s a whole other mess. “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” was awesome though.