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Can Fan Service Kill Cinema?

/ Warning, this article contains major spoilers from the storylines of Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Spider-Man: No Way Home /

At first associated with Japanese anime, the term “Fan service” has since adapted to cinema films. We denote by “Fan service” this practice of fueling the passion and fantasy of fans through the content offered to them. Today, this way of proceeding is for the most part constitutive of today’s Blockbusters. In a micmac between pop culture and cinema, as soon as one adapts video game or pre-existing source material in dark rooms, the director comes up against a major problem: trying to compose a work of cinema while respecting the initial loan.

In other words: Jeff Fowler (Sonic 1 and 2) must walk on eggshells to fit the character of Sonic or Knuckles for example. Many expect the two hedgehogs to be the same as those in video games. But is this desire to systematically have to give the fan what he wants to benefit from, is this killing cinema?

The Ghostbusters example

The symptom of this consideration can be seen with the deductible Ghosbusters. By ousting the first two opus ofIvan reitman of his timeline and starting all over again with his 2016 and its 100% female cast, Paul feig has drawn the reproach of fans of the Ghostbusters. He was accused of vomiting up the legacy of Ghostbusters originals that have been, over time, firmly cemented into the roots of pop culture. If the feature film Feig is clearly bad on many points, we cannot blame the American filmmaker for having betrayed his cinema. If we look Emily’s shadow (2018), Spy (2015) or Les Flingueuses (2013), we find all the themes dear to Feig’s cinema: the strong woman, leader of the story, the bold and easy humor and the colorful pastiche very “telefilm”. Because Feig is a filmmaker of self-derision, which may excite or annoy some.

Bottom line: fans didn’t like his Ghostbusters since they have neither adhered to its aestheticism, nor to its biases. For the fans, Ghostbusters it is Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Dan Aykroyd. And Feig made the big mistake of wiping out the past without paying homage to the original actors (he tried to do it with rather moldy cameos).

Jason reitman has therefore reactivated the franchise but with a different desire, to maintain the legacy of the old Ghostbusters, even if it means making them come back in the new films planned. Many retain, moreover, mainly the appearance of the original ghost hunters and not the rest of the film or its very nice visual. To seduce the spectators, the filmmaker had to comply with their desires.

The No Way Home fantasy

The MCU phenomenon has not stopped fueling the craziest rumors on the Internet for months. So much so that fans clearly had a shopping list of things they wanted to see in the movie, otherwise they would be disappointed. As a result, everyone screamed with joy at the arrivals of Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and also Charlie Cox in Daredevil. Everyone loved reviewing interactions between Octopus and Maguire, to regain Willem Dafoe comfortable in the role of Green boffoon. Nostalgia immediately seized this Spiderman with a simple observation: Kevin Feige, Jon Watts and Marvel have delivered a lot of fan service to aficionados of the Spider-Man universe.

But all this sounds like a cover-up. What to retain from the film except the joy that comes from seeing all these villains and these cult characters? Not much. The visual of No Way Home is poor. The final confrontation takes place on scaffolding, in the middle of the night. Everything is super minimalist while Doctor Strange 2 seems to strip a lot more from that point of view. It is likely that Jon watts killed everything that makes his film a “film” by simply and effectively offering what the fan came to ask for: a Spider-Verse technically uninspired.

You don’t like being innovative

When we divert original material to offer something personal, we run into popular vindictiveness.

Assassin’s Creed (2016) of Justin kurzel, was shouted at by critics, who assured that the filmmaker had massacred the games ofUbisoft. Still, just watch the adaptation of Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth done by Kurzel to understand that the latter has readapted the franchise to match the message he wanted to send as a filmmaker. Same process with Sonic: the movie. Jeff fowler wanted to come up with a more humanoid design for their hedgehog but came up against criticism from fans, and the hedgehog went back to post-production. For a good result certainly, but dictated by the fans.

Thus, the fan service often comes to put obstacles in the wheels to the creators and spoil the general result of certain feature films. We want so much to find certain things in a film that we tend, in the end, to forget the rest. And you what do you think ?

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