Movies: Decline In Quality or Rise In Expectations?

Brendan Winkel, Staff Writer

I think it is safe to say that over the years, movies have been getting progressively better in terms of graphics and production quality, but it is also relatively safe to say that the story, characters, and just overall meat of the movie have been getting staler. I mean, compare the most recent to the oldest Star Wars movies; Rise of Skywalker has incredible graphics but is relatively the standard nowadays. A New Hope has pretty bad graphics compared to movies nowadays, but they were the king at the time.

Here’s another good contrast: look at Toy Story and Encanto. Both have really good visuals for their time, were the center of attention when released, and have great characters. However; honestly, I would say the story and development of Toy Story are better than that of Encanto. Shouldn’t a higher budget, better animation, and access to newer technology lead to a better production team as well? Why only do half the project?

Back then, effects and visuals weren’t as important and time-consuming, so more time could be spent on sets, acting, storyboards, and the narrative. Take Back to the Future as an example; it’s a really good movie, and it doesn’t have as good graphics as today and it barely has any action. It does however have a flushed-out, satisfying story, great characters, and overall an original idea.

Perhaps that is actually the cause of the decline in movie quality. When movies and TV shows come out nearly every day at this point, it is becoming harder and harder to have a truly original idea. Because of this, movies like Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, the first Star Wars trilogy, and older Disney movies have a certain charm to them. They haven’t been done multiple times before, their plots aren’t overly complicated or trying too hard to be unique, and they are just overall simpler. 

When you’re not expecting something grandeur and you walk into the theater and are met with something grandeur, it’s a pleasant surprise and likely leaves an impression on you. When you’re expecting Inception level visuals and Marvel level action scenes, and you get less than you hoped, despite it being arguably better than the other movie you watched, you dislike it more than the other. Or at least, that’s what I reason.