New Year Column – Year 2020
In all aspect, 2020 was one hellish year. The first half had some decent films to offer before the complete lockdown and shutdown of theatres worldwide, in an unprecedented action from international governments. As this has been because of the global crisis caused by Covid-19 pandemic, it must be said. The year 2020 was a leap like no other and therefore, not many new and exciting films as theatres were struggling to be kept alive. This made people stream more and a new digital age has been born. The streaming of film has been controversial to my eyes as it should be the first prioritized way to watch films. We’ve been more adapted to streaming service now than before and the pandemic helped it to push it forward, sadly. Like the entertainment industry and all other events were shut down during the year to prevent spreading the virus.
All this made the audience to move to digital format and form, as we have been far more dependable on these. It’s not the same thing as going to the cinema and sitting in the same cinema chair with strangers for two hours, but it has left a permanent mark on the film industry. We also lost some of our biggest celebrities such as Sean Connery, Jeremy Bulloch, John Le Carre, Chadwick Boseman, Ian Holm, Orson Bean and David Prowse.
One of the big, pleasant surprises of 2020, before hell broke loose, was the winning streak of Parasite (2019) at the Academy Awards. It got a historical win with the first non-English film winning best film of the year. It has been awarded multiple times throughout since the release and has also a series in development with the director attached to the project.
Joker (2019) was also a big winner through the ceremony together with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) and 1917 (2019). In general, there were no big surprises beside Parasite clean sweep at the Oscars’ and Brad Pitt’s win in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019). It was a decent show of the 92nd ceremony and probably one that is historic in many ways. Besides the awarded filmmakers, it was the last final gathering in L. A before pandemic struck two months later in April.
There has been discussion whether to cancel or postpone the 93rd Academy Awards but in December 2020, it was confirmed it was postponed to April 25, 2021, instead. Either full remote or a hybrid with the nominees on a digital link. The eligibility period has been postponed to February 28, 2021.
Despite the effort on making remakes and reboots releasing every month, and the lockdown of the cinemas, it wouldn’t matter, probably, if there was a pandemic or not. It’s safe to say that 2020 was uncertain and weak year for film. The Gentlemen and Greyhound were two of the few films that offered something new to the table but didn’t do it good enough to make a believable impression for the audience. Pixar’s Soul has also been overhyped and doesn’t maybe deserve all the praise and glory it gets. That film struggled from the beginning to make a connection with the audience. It has unnecessary characters, and the story is too similar to Inside Out with the plotline. Tenet tried to make a useful time at the cinema but didn’t make the effort to deliver, with its confusing plot.
The industry has struggled to keep up with the flow with the streaming services and how they resonate with the distributions plan for every film that also need to be seen in cinema. A challenging year for the cinemas as the streaming war continues and make the theatres bleed imminently with money and has suffered throughout the year, which has also led to mostly streaming that this film has been seen. And honestly, it hasn’t been good movies out there. Even Wonder Woman 1984, was filled a failed plotline, horrible CGI and a rushed story.
The same it goes with TV in 2020, even if there has been more option. A lot of TV-deals has been presented but the principal shooting hasn’t started before the end of 2020 and a lot of TV-series and film has been postponed to 2021
The TV-series has been in more control this year, far better than the film department. Even if it’s been some good documentaries such as Tiger King which surprisingly caused some hype on the internet, which also will be a real film later on after some speculations. Fear City: New York vs the Mafia is another decent series but about crime and how the mafia ruled the NYC. The docuseries Challenger: The Final Flight had more of an emotional connection with the audience, reflecting with the incident and it’s the aftermath. A lot of new series has been released this year for the streaming-services such as HBO Max, AppleTV+, Peacock, Netflix, Hulu and DisneyPlus.
Not every series is covered but The Stand, based on Stephen King’s book, failed immensely. Your Honor starring Bryan Cranston has been getting some critical acclaimed. Mini-series or series with one season as well has been a lot more common now. The Comey Rule with Brendan Gleeson as Donald Trump was also released, close to the presidential election, was an underwhelming representation of a best-selling novel. But there hasn’t been a series that premiered this year that seems worth following. Of course, you have The Mandalorian that always delivers on its promise. Another big event of the series was The Crown Season 4 with Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher. The British government commented on it and there was some controversial news on if its fiction or not. Not to forget the controversial depiction of Diana Spencer as well in the series.
2021 – The Leftovers?
There’s no clear answer to what this year has to offer depending when the pandemic will ease out and it will become a more of a normal living standard. A lot of films have been postponed to this year with several movies and series moved to 2021 release. This list includes Marvel content, both film and series. WandaVision is the closest to premiere with a premiere Jan 15. New Star Wars series has been announced to arrive this year. A new season of Final Space and Stranger Things arrive this year. It might not be the year we want or expect as some of the films is from last year – ready to be released. All the blockbusters that didn’t release last year, will be released this year instead causing some fractions in the already heavy release-schedule of the films.
But it’s probably not all bad news here. Hollywood caught up by the end of 2020 with safety adjustment to continue their productions. This means that we can see a lot of films during the second half of 2021. The streaming-services keeping us busy with monthly and weekly releases. Marvel Studios has a big plan on how to come back after not been releasing Black Widow as usual. A lot of anticipating series will at least be released this year, maybe more difficult with the movies, some released on streaming and some wait just for the big release on cinema. This includes films such as Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Dune, Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It, Bond 25 and more.
Whatever it will be can only time and waiting tell us, it will take probably another year or year and a half before we’re going back in business in the way we used to do.