New Year Column – Year 2022
2022 was another year, maybe not disappointing but it did however not deliver Its promises at the box office. It has now been the norm that after a few weeks in the theater, movies end up on a streaming service to maybe survive another six months.
A lot of streaming movies were the 2022 best winners although it was only Top Gun and Avatar 2: The Way of the Water that surprised at the box office. The sad part is that the most anticipated films of the year didn’t live up to their potential, maybe because it was few that went to the cinema to watch these films. Instead, most were lazy and stayed at home, corrupting the cinema-going business even further. One of the few winners of last year was probably The Northman, All Quiet on the Western Front, Everything Everywhere All At once, and Troll; all films coming with something new and fresh to a worn-out industry recycling old ideas. Instead of the big blockbusters, it was the small independent films that were last year’s best films. The blockbuster was too few and those that were around didn’t succeed well enough.
Some notable death that occurred in 2022, is John Aniston, Brad William Henke, Wolfgang Petersen, Queen Elizabeth II, James Caan, Joel Turkel, Ray Liotta, and Ivan Reitman to mention a few significant celebrities that we lost last year.
The 94th Academy Awards was a special presentation, but it was also a predictable one where Dune won the most technical and visual awards. The one with the most nominations Power of the Dog didn’t win all twelve nominations. Dune was the major winner. There was criticism against the academy, mostly because a few awards were not televised in the hope to shorten the runtime. West Side Story won a couple of awards and CODA won the biggest award of all – Best Picture. It marked also the first time a deaf actor won the best supporting actor – Troy Kotsur.
Most of this didn’t matter when Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, ending up being slapped by Will Smith on stage, becoming a meme, and Smith being banned from the academy. Smith also won Best Actor For King Richard. The aftermath during the ceremony became a talking point of just this incident. This created also a backlash against the actor and a controversy.
Will Smith gave an apology on Instagram:
I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film. So, I am resigning from membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and will accept any further consequences the Board deems appropriate.
Film projects Will Smith was involved with, were put on a hold, because of this controversy. Chris Rock didn’t press charges because of the slapping incident. Celebrities spoke out and the ceremony blipped the slurs Smith delivered in a live broadcast. Another dilemma for the Academy Awards, besides this, was moving the date of the ceremony not colliding with other major events leading to the ceremony on March 27, 2022. The telecast saw an increase in viewership.
The nominated for 2022 Oscars were The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Belfast, Cruella, Drive My Car, Encanto, King Richard, The Long Goodbye, No Time to Die, The Power of the Dog, The Queen of Basketball, Summer of Soul, The Windshield Wiper, and West Side Story.
The variety of films from 2022 was not impressive. For instance, the only worth mentioning in the blockbuster department was perhaps Matt Reeves’s The Batman which achieve and delivered on the hype beforehand and had that in scope as well. Even if the film had almost a three-hour runtime it was one of the few films that were exciting to see in the cinema.
Top Gun: Maverick was also a surprise winner at the box office and did its job of earning the right kind of money to deem it a success. Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them 3 was a failure, and Doctor Strange: The Madness of the Multiverse was disappointing but still entertaining. Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther II could have been so much more but ended up in being a film in the darkness of Marvel Studios films.
Uncharted and Morbius were horrible. The Flash and The Super Mario Bros Movie was postponed, Babylon hasn’t received enough buzz to make it interesting for 2022, but Scream was a surprising effort. Death on the Nile was not only a snoozing pill but also a controversial film featuring Armie Hammer who has been caught in the legal web of sexual abuse. Lightyear was a decent film but an unnecessary one that really didn’t fill a function in the end.
There were on the other hand a lot of legal complications for Hollywood actors. One couple that was noticed very much in the media was Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, whose legal twist ended up being a major reality show in the courtroom. People following it on social media like it was a documentary, marked also the power Hollywood has on the entertainment value of this kind of thing.
By far Avatar: The Way of the Water, which premiered in December, has already reached the $1 billion dollar mark, making it the most successful film from last year. Despite tepid reviews from critics globally it still seems that it has one the heart of the audience in the end. The sequel arrives after 2009’s Avatar and created a buzz to even win an Oscar for best visual effects, after being shortlisted.2022 was also the year we got two Pinocchio films, one good and one terrible. And the good one was not Disney’s poor attempt at a live-action remake.
Stranger Things split the fourth season into two volumes released barely a month in between during the summer. It was one of the major series of the year and did succeed well in the story, characters, and ending leading up to the final season. It is said to be the best season of the series out there but that could be discussed further. The Crown made its return with its fifth season in later 2022. It’s announced to be next last season, covering the nineties of the British monarchy. The timetable of the release was an obscure one, especially after the sensitive death of Queen Elizabeth II. The review of the series didn’t achieve the expectations of Netflix and the performance of the new cast didn’t impressive either.
Severance from AppleTV Plus was a surprise, a great low-key sci-fi that cared about character and story. Pam & Tommy came and got lost, not that it was the worse series but didn’t live up to everyone’s expectations. Obi-Wan Kenobi was a safe card for sure, just to place Darth Vader in the mix. Not a series that was needed but with the toxic fan Star Wars base and easy cash, this was not an unexpected release from LucasFilm/DisneyPlus. 1899 from Netflix was dark, twisted, and mysterious but it’s easy to lose interest in a series that just been axed after a season. Ozark Season 4 gave one of the best series ending out there, but it’s like it is forgotten now. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The first season impressed neither critics nor audiences with its overall spending on uninteresting things. For a series that is the world’s most expensive series ever made, isn’t it odd that they would have a better story than just being fixated on the visuals?
Oscar Isaac’s performance in Moon Knight was a fresh breeze among the deadbeats, and hopefully, another season arrives. The Dropout was also a good mini-series just to binge-watch all the episodes without any regrets. Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet Of Curiosities: Season 1 was also a pleasant surprise adding both realism and horror in a new fascinating way that probably only Del Toro is capable of doing, mixing old and new stories in an anthology series worth watching. We also got the continuation of Alice in Borderland, season 2, a direct continuation of season 1. A horror-drama Japanese series that didn’t hold back on the dramatic and the emotional bits.
For 2023, I’m cautiously optimistic but I do hope that the next eleven months of the year will surpass my own expectation of what we get in this year. For once, Christopher Nolan’s anticipated Oppenheimer is deemed to be a success. We also got a seventh installment in the Mission Impossible series; Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One. Transformers, Rise of the Beasts, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, The Marvels, Indiana Jones, and the Dial of Destiny. The Flash is finally ending up on the big screen after being postponed and starring prior Batman actors. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Dune Part Two, Shazam: Fury of the Gods, Fast X, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse are also set to be released in a year. Ferrari, Killers of the Flower Moon, Wonka, Scream VI, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix.
The list goes on. And we will get an action-packed year, with a lot of Marvel Projects, Indy making a return, Nolan releasing a film this year and we finally get our animated Mario project even if Chris Pratt’s voice has been criticized. As early as this can be, this year looks likely to be a better year for a long time, but we will see in a year if that was true or not.