The modern film industry has been transformed from a modest entertainment medium into a vehicle for political messaging. This pollution has borne undesirable results as the general trend of the film market has been in a downward spiral since 2002. Hollywood is struggling, and the left’s need to imbue every movie with its political agenda is at fault.
The mainstream media at first blamed the abundance of sequels and remakes for causing consumer fatigue. However, movies like Mad Max: Fury Road and the continuously successful Marvel superhero adaptations buck this position. The speculation then shifted blame to online streaming services. This claim was staunchly opposed by a wave of theatre executives.
These factors presumably do affect theater attendance, but conservatives and consumers alike know what is truly keeping people away; the pervasion of leftist political messages in our most popular big-screen franchises has driven the average moviegoer away.
If in need of proof, find the first trailer for the failed feminist remake that was Ghostbusters (2016) and observe the like-to-dislike ratio. The movie received horrible ratings, which director Paul Feig blamed on sexism. However, responses and comments show that the disdain relates not to the gender of the heros, but rather that quality humor and writing was ignored in favor of pushing a feminist agenda.
Another example is found in the new trilogy of the Star Wars franchise. As expected, an adored universe with millions of fanatic supporters drew unimaginable profit in the box office, but the reception was not as sweet as the cash received. It met claims of lazy writing and unoriginal content. In its place were one-dimensional characters that were intended to promote female strength and unity, but instead just showed poor character writing, thereby achieving neither an entertaining movie nor its intended promotion of feminine strength.
In particular, there was a swathe of disapproval of the poorly-written character, Rose Tico. Her frequent monologues about unity and youthful revolution fell on the deaf ears of many adoring fans. Mark Hamill, Luke Skywalker himself, had to come out and defend her from the “toxic fans.” Fans are not turned away by streaming and bland remakes, but rather the political proselytizing that has taken the place of quality movie production.
It may seem that these elites have a point; these attacks are generally toward women and people of color, and yet the proof of their opposition is found in the same universe. Rogue One featured a powerful female lead with a hispanic supporting actor and met a great reception from most faithful fans. Similarly, the hugely popular TV animated series Star Wars Rebels follows the adventures of a heroic group of people of color. These successes offer proof that the issue is not a racist or sexist fanbase.
Both works have something else in common, and it has nothing to do with their gender nor the color of their skin. All of these characters and productions were written incredibly well. The emphasis was first on the creation of a quality movie and second on the messaging that a non-traditional protagonist could create.
On the flips side, movies that don’t kowtow to leftist agendas generally do well. A sleeper hit at the box office in 2018, A Quiet Place, featured a nuclear family trying to survive an onslaught of aliens who hunt via sound. It featured good writing, suspenseful pacing, a novel idea, engaging themes, and strong central characters. Moviegoers and critics adored it. Sadly, The New Yorker screeched, calling it racist, sexist, and a promotion of gun culture. Any movie that does not fall perfectly in line with the left’s ideology will be attacked regardless of its quality.
As conservatives, the only plan of attack against this merging of politics and entertainment is to support those movies that stay out of the political sphere and ridicule those that can’t help but push an agenda. If Hollywood wants to continue down this road, the notably apolitical films will shine, and their progressive crusades will continue to underperform. Hollywood is at a crossroad right now between money and activism, and, for many of us on the right, we are content to let it burn.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.