Netflix always seems to outdo itself, if not with another successful series but with the sheer amount of new content that pops up, seemingly every day. With the increasing amount of Netflix original films, a discussion must be opened about the future of film and where Netflix lies.
The whole system of entertainment has been rearranged. No longer will the latest film hit the big screen, but perhaps be viewed on sites like Netflix. Films produced by the company are already barred from Cannes Film Festival after the Netflix film, Okja, presented itself with the infamous red logo last year and was followed by instant booing and discontent. The films also otherwise only get brief cinema time; Annihilation, one of the more recent films appearing on Netflix this year only had a limited US cinema release, before being shrunk back down to laptop or TV screen size.
The concept of cinemas, existing long before Netflix, hasn’t changed much. So how could they possibly keep up with this new way of digesting media? An array of films, not just oldies, easily accessed for just over the price of your average cinema ticket.
I wouldn’t be so dramatic as to say film is dead, as the 80 films set to be released in 2018 can’t all be terrible. I personally found Okja (2017) a beautiful film, with a heartfelt message, far removed from those poorly made films, with cash-grabbing content. Filmmakers and actors alike have too seen the potential (and big funds) Netflix has to offer.
Well, not everyone. Steven Spielberg, a master director whose opinion you don’t take lightly, voiced his critical view on ITV news earlier this year,
“Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie. You certainly, if it’s a good show, deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar”, Spielberg said. “I don’t believe films that are just given token qualifications in a couple of theatres for less than a week should qualify for the Academy Award nomination”.
Following this negative view, I have to say a noticeable trend in anything branded Netflix Original has been emerging. The endless flow of entertainment, in such large quantities, seems to be the selling point of Netflix; it’s what keeps us interested. Always something new, again and again. Yet, look closer at this content and half of it seems to be rehashing the same stuff.
Perhaps more notably in their multiple series, but it seems when one series or film or documentary is successful, soon its slightly less successful doppelganger will follow. A nostalgic series about nerdy kids at school, who sometimes ride bikes? Stranger Things and then… Everything Sucks! ? A series on the politics of the White House, with dashes of romance and war on terror? House Of Cards … shortly followed by, Designated Survivor.
Yes, the cost of the cinema compared to Netflix works in these streaming services’ favour, and I myself am a fan of Netflix and will admit to bingeing too. Yet, for certain movies, nothing can beat the cinema. After watching grainy, buffering films at home, with one eye always on my phone or eating food, and then watching the long awaited Avengers: Infinity War, in 3D IMAX, it changed my whole perception of what film could be.
Some films just need a cinematic experience, like bread needs butter.
What are your thoughts on Netflix films?
Text: Jessica Saunders
Images: Complex, Deadline, Variety, NME, Digital Spy,