Crashing the Sausage Party

Sausage Party may be lewd, crude and beyond lowbrow, however, it should be congratulated for doing something new and refreshing within the animated genre and giving audiences a different kind of movie to the formulaic mostly average fair that has been presented throughout this summer’s blockbuster period.

We’ve had the usual assortment of remakes (Ghostbusters/Ben Hur) and sequels (Independence Day: Resurgence) none of which have proved revolutionary. The only films to have put a dent in the worldwide box office since June have both been animated: Finding Dory ($945m) and The Secret Life of Pets ($766m).

Suicide Squad ($678m and rising) and X-Men: Apocalypse ($543m) have also done respectful business for comic book movies but none come close to Captain America: Civil War earlier this year. Could it be a knock on effect from the Olympics? Could it be that our On-demand services and television shows are so good now that it really has to be an event movie to merit going to the movies? Or could it just be that this year’s selection of films has been neither good nor original enough for audiences yearning to see something new and exciting?

56e83c4ee4b0bf04582bf298_3_v1

Not that I’m saying Sausage Party is anything more than an entertaining and at times hilarious comedy but it’s an original idea. Hollywood studios seem to be so terrified of producing anything other than known quantities over the last few years it takes a very long time and a lot of lobbying from a team of people to get anything off the ground. It took at least six years for Seth Rogen before a studio would take a chance on Sausage Party. This isn’t an isolated incident, Ryan Reynolds waited about a decade before he could finally play the Deadpool he wanted to play thereby making one of the films of the year in the process.

Maybe it’s a case of both these movies being deemed too adult for general audiences but surely if a film is good enough it doesn’t matter what certificate it is anymore. Gone are the days when a higher certificate means the death knell of a movie. Obviously the family favourites will still take the majority of money at the box office but films like Deadpool have gone on to become very economically fruitful whilst still garnering huge critical acclaim and retaining its essence.

Sausage Party also stays true to itself and although it’s easy to dismiss it as an excuse for Rogen to get all his buddies along and swear down a microphone for a healthy pay cheque there is a message underneath. A very well crafted metaphor for religion, which is portrayed in a very interesting manner. It may at times be rammed down the audience’s throat at times but the notion in which different foods represent a diverse range of races, religions and characteristics adds an extra layer to a film in which a vaginal douche seeks revenge on a sausage that denied him access to his ‘promised land’.

Yes, it’s occasionally stoner comedy at its most puerile and predictable but Sausage Party took a chance, was very enjoyable and funny and a perfect film if you just want to have a little fun at the cinema. Film is at risk of taking itself so seriously at the moment, and whether is likes it or not, is at war for audience attention with the Golden Age of television, so maybe, we need a few more risk taking movies that aren’t afraid to take a few chances even if they may offend some people.

Is 2012 going to be the best summer for movies in a decade?

 

Reading articles in magazines and websites about the highly awaited films coming this summer has filled me with a lot of excitement and impatient enthusiasm. It looks like one of the most monumental years for cinema in a long time, and seeing as the summer season in terms of film starts in about April and ends in September, it seems the ideal time to have a look at this year’s offerings. With The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games, I cannot think of a trio of more hotly anticipated blockbusters in the last decade. And, they are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, it was not since the summer of 2002 I feel that audiences have been treated to so much in one season.

Back in ’02 you have the best of the big blockbuster fare with Spiderman, Attack of the Clones, and Minority Report, which to a 12 year old boy, could just have been about the greatest triumvirate of films one could possibly imagine. Then you had a very strong contribution from Pixar with Monsters Inc when we started seeing how consistently brilliant these computer generated films were going to be.

The movies just kept coming with Signs from M Night Shyamalan at the height of his career and while his twists were still bold and unexpected. The sequels such as Austin Powers and Goldmember and Men in Black II also did the job. Then you have the lesser known films that took the cinema by storm such as My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding which kept refusing to get off the box office top ten list and One Hour Photo, a chilling, psychological thriller with Robin Williams which still haunts me to this day. It was a magnificent year, let alone summer for film. Although, the less said about The Adventures of Pluto Nash, the better.

Since then the summer offerings on the whole have been hit and miss. Sure, we have had fantastic offering in an individual sense, with Inception, Ratatouille and the Harry Potter franchise migrating from the winter to summer but there has not been a summer of cinema in terms of its consistently since 2002.

Now again we have the variety needed throughout the summer. Not just the big money blockbusters such as Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers but the non franchise films such as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Jeff Lives at Home which could turn into big hits. The latter especially considering there always seems to be some huge breakout comedies during the summer in recent years such as The Inbetweeners Movie and The Hangover.

As always a couple of sequels are thrown into the mix for good measure in Wrath of the Titans, American Pie: The Reunion and Men in Black III. There is the chance to see if The Amazing Spiderman reboot will wow us as the original did a decade ago and Ridley Scott returning to Alien territory with his prequel to the saga Prometheus.

Pixar’s offering Brave looks strong, and since the company seems to have been improving with age and continuing innovating it’s going to up there with the big hitters too. There is also the newfound enterprise of re-releasing classics in 3D with Titanic leading the way this year.

In terms of a summer of film this looks as strong and diverse as ever and although there are a few that might raise some eyebrows and fail at the box office such as a remake of Total Recall, another addition to the seemingly unending Ice Age franchise, StreetDance 2 and a sequel to G.I Joe, which although the original grossed $25 million under its budget has still been given the green light. Despite this, we could be pleasantly surprised.

However, none of these films have been seen yet and it is all just buzz, which we know from The Phantom Menace in ’99 can be a whole lot of hot air. With the Olympics and the European Championships dominating the television listing some of the films may not receive the acknowledgement and the box office numbers they deserve. Whatever the case, a large amount of the excitement comes from the anticipation, which is in no short supply this summer. And even if it is hugely disappointing, at least we have Skyfall to look forward to in October.