The Next Decade: Film Genres in the 2010s

Caleb Bressler
Staff Writer

Peter Jackson returns to direct a new trilogy about Bilbo.
Peter Jackson returns to direct a new trilogy about Bilbo.

We have recently stepped into a new decade, dubbed the “2010s.” Just as “The Lord of the Rings” kicked off the beginning of the 2000s, “The Hobbit” also comes to us near the beginning of the 2010s.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” hit movie theaters last December. The movie, which is a sister-film to “The Lord of the Rings” films, is an interesting switch from the majority of films over the last decade.
The super-hero genre has, for the most part, defined films for much of the 2000s. While “The Lord of the Rings” concentrated a great deal of interest in the very early 2000s, fantasy certainly, as we saw, did not define the decade. This being the case, for some, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will be a welcome change from the super-hero genre. The environments are sometimes astounding and in some cases they are examples of gorgeous artwork, with beautifully constructed cities and houses. As with “The Lord of the Rings,” the films also use New Zealand’s almost unreal settings.
While the general genres of the 2000s did not develop due to “The Lord of the Rings,” it is an interesting parallel that Peter Jackon’s films will, once again, be kicking-off the upcoming decade.
Generally, each decade has particular types of films that will define the cinema of that time.
Obviously, hundreds of other genres exist in any decade, but there are certain genres that are specially highlighted. For example, the 1960s focused on spy-themed films and television shows such as “James Bond,” “Get Smart” and “The Wild Wild West.”
The 1980s was action-adventure with “Indiana Jones,” “Blade Runner” and “Rambo.” And finally, the 2000s has had numerous super-hero films, such as “Iron Man,” “Spider-Man,” and “Batman.”
With this new decade, it will be interesting to see where the film industry will go. Will the superhero genre stay another decade, or will another genre come to the forefront?

Star Wars returns to theaters in 2015, owned by Disney.
Star Wars returns to theaters in 2015, owned by Disney.

To consider where film might go, it might be helpful to look at the current state of film. One reason film could change, or stay relatively similar, is because of the popular styles of cinematography. In some ways, present cinematography, prevalent in action films, has changed film making.
The gritty, quick-cut style found in films such as “Inception” and “Sherlock Holmes” are a massive change from the kind cinematography in action-films in the 1980s.
This being the case, the action film itself has changed from ones in the 1980s.
Currently, the action films are very dark, centered within gritty, urbanized environments. At the same time, these films make these environments seem exciting and even fashionable, in a way. (This trend can also be seen in advertising for other products; a poster advertising a suit-coat for men, for example, showed a model standing in what looked like an alley with graffiti on the wall behind him.)
In general the amusing elements that could be found in films such as “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark” have been abandoned in action films currently made.
Keeping this in mind, it is clear there is a stylized realism in the action films found today. Not only is this style there, but it has become extremely important to the entire aura of many films. Superhero movies, which have unrealistic premises, are presented as realistically as possible.

Ian McKellen returns as the wizard Gandalf the Grey.
Ian McKellen returns as the wizard Gandalf the Grey.

Even “Inception,” which takes place mostly inside of dreams, still employs a realistic kind of atmosphere, even as hotel corridors spin upside-down. There is no indication that this will be changing for the majority of action films in the near future.
However, whether or not traditional action films and the recent superhero films remain popular is yet to be seen.
They may be overtaken by other genres. A slew of futuristic movies are in the works. Movies dealing with zombies and development on earth being destroyed, (the latter a trend in the 1970s with films such as “Soylent Green” and “Logan’s Run”), could be the next development in film. Of course, a number of other films in the future could also effect what film culture will be. With Disney’s purchase of Star Wars, and also the three Hobbit films emerging, fantasy and/or science fiction could become a trend.
On the other hand, “Lincoln” could induce filmmakers to create historical films, especially considering it was nominated for 12 Oscars. “The King’s Speech,” another historical film, could also add to the attraction of historical films.
While we can speculate, nothing is certain, especially in film. Tastes change and new films surprise. For film enthusiasts, however, an upcoming decade is always something to look forward to.