The film the industry is more responsive than some people would admit. Whenever something new suddenly becomes a trend, studios rush to make the most of it. Sometimes a fad becomes a mainstay like digital visual effects did in the early 2000s. Other times, these trends are so unexpected that they seem ridiculous to most people.
A film trend deemed ridiculous does not mean that it deserves to be mocked or scorned. These trends and gimmicks were either so mundane or so bizarre that they were hard to take seriously or believe. Some of these trends survived thanks to filmmakers who knew exactly how to use them, while most of them quickly lost their charm.
10/10 3D Movies Dominated the 2010s for the Wrong Reasons
3D movies have been around since the 1950s, but the modern 3D wave was inspired by Avatar. In 2009, Avatar revived the 3D gimmick, but for the IMAX format. It inspired many blockbusters to copy Avatars IMAX 3D presentation. What made the 3D trend ridiculous wasn’t the gadget itself, but how widespread yet outdated it was.
Avatar Enhanced 3D by immersing the audience in fantasy worlds. Meanwhile, clones like Clash of the Titans (2010) and 3D saw pushed things in viewers’ faces like old 3D movies did. It was the best scenario. Most 3D films of the time only went 3D in post-production, resulting in dark visuals that were made worse by 3D glasses.
9/10 4D cinemas have turned movies into a rollercoaster
4D movies were literally made for amusement parks, but have since become mainstream. The first 4D experience was at Six Flags The Sensorium in 1984, but Michael Jackson’s vehicle Captain EO codified modern 4D film. Captain EO popularized 4D theaters with its blend of 3D, environmental and sensory effects.
4D experiences were often light in substance due to the distraction of extravagant effects. Despite this, 4D technology was used for feature films. Avatar and Fast and Furious were among the first 4D blockbusters. For better or for worse, they popularized 4D to the point where it’s now a common option in cinemas.
8/10 Shaky Cam made it impossible to figure out what was going on
Taken was the most important action film of the late 2000s and it codified the visual language of action films of its time. Saving Private Ryan arguably started using the shaky camera (or shaky camera) and quick edit in the 2000s, but Taken popularized the trend. The problem is, Taken from the visual language was incomprehensible.
Taken and other badly aged action movies used a shaky camera to hide imperfections in their stunts and to force the tension. It was understandable and even necessary, but the style made the action scenes almost impossible to understand. The shaky camera lives on today, but thankfully it’s not as overused as it once was.
7/10 Gritty realism in genre films has been confused with quality
The black Knight is one of the most influential superhero films. One of the sequel’s most lasting effects was its realistic depiction of Batman and Gotham City. Whereas The black Knight used this grounded aesthetic to properly deconstruct Batman, his imitators mistakenly thought that was how genre films could be “legitimized”.
The Dark Knight’s clones ditched their colorful, imaginative trappings for brutalist realism. These films mistakenly thought that only realism was what made The black Knight great. The new James Bond entries, Fant4stic, and most of Early DC Extended Universe Entries were the guiltiest culprits of this serious fashion.
6/10 Dull colors have become the dominant visual language
One of the most prevalent and ridiculous trends of the late 2000s was the faded color palette. A muted color scheme isn’t inherently bad, but this look has become universal in movies and even on TV. Worse, it was somehow confused with “realism”. This has led to movies using dull colors to gain false legitimacy.
It is difficult to determine exactly when and why this started. Some have speculated that the filmmakers were trying to copy Christopher Nolan’s deliberately dark color scheme, while Emily St. James from Voice pointed The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Most think it was an effect of digital cinema. With few exceptions, this trend is here to stay.
5/10 Deleted scenes are added to overhyped reissues
A common method of restoring deleted or remastered scenes is to add them in a re-release. These weren’t always worth the price of admission. For instance, Avengers: Endgame added a scene from The Hulk with incomplete visual effects. star wars‘ The infamous special editions are always among the most controversial movies re-released in history.
Spider-Man: No Coming Home followed suit with The funnier version. 13 minutes of fun but ultimately throwaway scenes restored. Deadpool 2it is PG-13 edit Once upon a time Deadpool was arguably the best reissue, but it still felt superficial. Only time will tell if this relatively new trend will persist or not.
4/10 Sensurround was too impractical and noisy to last
Disaster movies (especially those about natural disasters) were incredibly popular in the 70s, and Earthquake enhanced the experience with Sensurround. This system improved the film’s audio and made the audience feel the tremors of the characters. Sensurround had the right idea, but it was scrapped for practicality.
Theater chains complained that Sensurround was so loud it damaged the interior of their establishments. They also pointed out that Sensurround’s bulky setup isn’t worth its price. Sensurround died before the 70s even ended, but it survived thanks to improved surround sound systems like Dolby Atmos and THX.
3/10 Choose your own endings existed before ‘Clue’
Index is best known for its three endings and how audiences had to travel to different theaters to see them all in 1985. Funny as the mysterious Index has been, it failed in part because of its tedious gimmick and lack of concrete resolution. However, Index wasn’t the first or only film to follow the multiple-choice trend.
Mr. Sardonicus arguably pioneered the trend in 1961 when he let the public vote for the end with his “punishment poll.” Index failed to revive the trend, but it has come back strong in the digital age. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, A Heist with Markiplier, Possibilityand others allow viewers to control the story with multiple choices and attempts.
2/10 Smell-O-Vision has inspired many smelly imitators and parodies
Smell-O-Vision is not only one of the best-known movie trends, but also one of the most spoofed. The idea was ridiculous but memorable: the audience smelled what the characters in the film smelled either through scented scratch cards or through scents pumped into the rooms. Smell-O-Vision was popularized by his only movie, Perfume of Mystery.
Smell-O-Vision was no longer officially used after Perfume of Mystery bombed, but many films have paid tribute to him. Polyester revived it with “Odorama”, while spy on kids: All the time in the world introduces “Aroma-Scope”. Even though the brand is technically gone, “Smell-O-Vision” remains synonymous with films with scent tendencies.
1/10 William Castle launched The Ridiculous Movie Gimmick
William Castle didn’t just like adding ridiculous stuff to his films; he practically invented the trend. Castle spiced up the films he produced by adding pranks and challenges to the experience. Some of Castle’s signature gadgets include Homicides The corner of the cowards, House on the haunted hill flying skeleton, and The Tinglers electrified armchairs.
Castle’s gadgets may not quite hold water today, but his example has been immortalized. Ridiculous but fun trends like gross movies giving audiences official vomit bags, movies with multiple endings, and even the strict “No Late Admissions” policy of psychology kept Castle’s sense of humor and spirit alive.