Goodbye 2022: Did Cameron & Cruise Resuscitate Movie Theaters?

Like I always like to do, I’m going to try to sum up the year that was in my final post of the year partially entitled ‘Goodbye’. So, goodbye to 2022. There are a lot of things one could talk about. I like to keep things cheery so the title of the post has been kept to filmmaking and the movie theater industry.

This was an interesting year, insofar as I don’t think the Marvel movies that were released in theaters really hit it big. The Doctor Strange sequel was good but divisive, the Thor sequel was underwhelming to most people when compared to Ragnarok, and even though Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was great it feels like it just came and went. But when all else failed, there were two moviemakers who got audiences into seats. 

When it comes to films, I will remember this year for Tom Cruise and James Cameron especially. Tom Cruise revived theater-going with the long-awaited sequel to Top Gun. Since 1986 we’ve waited for a sequel, or, rather, I suppose most people who always loved the first one would have. The sequel is frankly a better film than the original in every way. I would also argue that the effects and techniques used to communicate the fighter pilot sequences are outright jaw-dropping. Jaws also dropped when James Cameron finally released his first Avatar sequel. Cameron is always ambitious, and Cameron almost always does good. This year a lot of people were adamant that you don’t doubt James Cameron, and Big Jim definitely got the job done. It’s too early to tell whether or not it will ever reach $2 billion at the box office, but Avatar 2 did bring people back to the theaters. And, in my opinion, it is a better film than the original. 

Now, I don’t think Top Gun: Maverick or Avatar: The Way of Water is the best film of the year. They are up there, and they may end up on my personal top 10. But the films that perhaps made the most impact when it comes to critic circles were films like Everything Everywhere All At Once, i.e. the kind of original film that brought stars back into the light. it was a great joy for me to see the original ‘Short Round’ actor portray a modern adult character so wholesomely and so beautifully. Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh stole the year to a certain extent. The same could be said for Brendan Fraser, though I must admit that I have yet to see The Whale. I take great joy in comebacks when it comes to actors who we all cherish. 

I also want to highlight Pinocchio. There were three adaptations this year, two of which I’m not really sure I want to mention in great detail, but the third one, the Netflix one, was fantastic. Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio was a great reminder of the power of animation as a storytelling medium. It may end up as one of my favorite films of the decade. And, if I’m being honest, it gave me a moment with my father that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

However, this year wasn’t all about the movies. Unfortunately, all is not right in the world. Whether it be climate change or a war breaking out, this year was a tough one. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a year that will be remembered for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s a year that will be remembered for what happened in Iran, where women of all ages are protesting with their lives on the line. In actuality, those are the stories that we will remember years from now. I hope that they all have happy endings. 

I’m not sure if 2023 will be different. I want to be hopeful and think that the war in Ukraine will end with a happy outcome. I want to be hopeful and think that the people in power will make the right changes when it comes to climate change. I want to believe that significant positive change will happen in Iran. I want to believe. I am going to hold on to that kind of hope. And, at the same time, I want to wish everyone out there a truly fantastic 2023. May all your hopes and dreams come true, may you and your families live long and happy lives, and may 2023 be the year where you finally accomplish something that you had been wanting to do for quite some time. 

Happy New Year!

– Article Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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