UH's lifestyle and entertainment magazine - by students, for students

Graphic by: Angelina Contreras

In the wake of the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, 2023 emerged as a beacon of hope and revival for the film industry. Against the backdrop of uncertainty and disruption, the cinematic landscape experienced a renaissance this year. As filmmakers and audiences alike sought solace and inspiration, the transformative power of cinema became a vital force, breathing new life into an industry that weathered a global shutdown.

Here we’ll unravel the multifaceted layers of the film industry’s revival, examining everything from the enigmatic Barbeheimer phenomenon to the highly anticipated films boasting star-studded casts. 2023 emerged as a year where cinema not only rebounds but thrives, showcasing the resilience of storytelling and the indomitable spirit of the film industry.

It’s no surprise animated films would be the first thing we discuss. “Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse,” is a triumphant sequel that seamlessly continues the animated magic of its predecessor. Not to mention the year’s animated lineup also included the infectious energy of “Trolls 3: Band Together,” “Elemental” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” which brought a nostalgic wave for fans, winning over audiences through its accurate portrayal of teenagers.

Let’s not forget the enchanting world of Studio Ghibli, which graced us with “The Boy and the Heron.” This magical tale, filled with Ghibli’s signature breathtaking visuals and emotionally resonant storytelling, transported audiences to a realm where the ordinary and the extraordinary seamlessly coexist. In 2023, animated films proved once again the genre is not just for children, offering a diverse range of stories, styles and emotions to captivate audiences of all ages.

Amidst the dazzling array of animated blockbusters, 2023 witnessed a renaissance in the realm of indie films, where viral sensations like “Saltburn,” “Bottoms” and “Poor Things” took center stage. These unexpected gems, born out of creative passion and distinctive storytelling, became overnight hits and captivated audiences in unprecedented ways.

“Saltburn” emerged as a cinematic revelation, a thought-provoking exploration of the human psyche and a tale of obsession that kept audiences on their toes, despite its morbid undertones. “Bottoms,” a quirky comedy that pushed the boundaries of conventional humor, left audiences in stitches. On the other hand, “Poor Things” starring Emma Stone took the film scene by storm with its poignant storytelling and compelling characters.

A24 unsurprisingly continued to assert its dominance in the creation of timeless masterpieces. Films such as “Talk to Me,” “Priscilla” and “Past Lives” exemplified the studio’s commitment to pushing artistic boundaries and telling stories that resonate on a profound level.

“Priscilla” brought light to the once-forgotten story of Priscilla Presley, resonating with women of all ages and capturing the feeling of never being good enough for those who you love. On the contrary, “Past Lives” stood out as a cinematic journey through its dialogues and beautiful cinematography. Its showcase of love as a raw, powerful sentiment kept audiences hooked on the relationships of the protagonists from the start. Finally, “Talk to Me” emerged as one of the top horror films of the year, taking its audience into an otherworldly domain of terror.

The cinematic landscape of 2023 also saw the continuation of beloved sagas that kept audiences eagerly anticipating the next chapter.

Keanu Reeves returned as the indomitable assassin in “John Wick 4,” delivering another adrenaline-pumping installment in the action-packed franchise. Marvel Studios continued to expand its cosmic universe with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” which once again brought a unique blend of humor, heart, and intergalactic adventure to the forefront.

In the realm of espionage and high-stakes action, “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One” took Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt on yet another daring mission. Meanwhile, the Hunger Games saga expanded with “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” offering a prequel that delved into the origin of the Hunger Games and the rise of the villainous President Snow.

Beyond the continuations of familiar sagas, 2023 marked a resurgence of classic tales through innovative retellings, reimagining beloved stories for a new generation.

“Wonka” took audiences on a whimsical journey into the eccentric world of Willy Wonka, offering a fresh perspective on the origins of the enigmatic chocolate factory owner. In the realm of fairy tales, “The Little Mermaid” made a splash with a modern retelling that subverted traditional narratives. “Five Nights at Freddy’s” made its cinematic debut, adapting the popular video game franchise into a chilling and suspenseful horror flick.

What’s a recap of 2023 films without mentioning the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon?

These two films were some of the most anticipated movies of the summer. Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” perfectly mended the feeling of nostalgia with the reality many women face today, all whilst keeping the fun, lighthearted whimsiness of Barbie that everyone knows and loves.

Similarly, Christopher Nolan did not disappoint with his blockbuster biographical thriller “Oppenheimer,” bringing in almost one billion dollars at the box office with its visual appeal and incredible storytelling, showcasing the internal moral dilemma.

As 2023 draws to a close, we reflect on a year where the magic of cinema proved resilient, uniting audiences, inspiring conversations and offering a diverse array of stories that continue to resonate.

In a world hungry for connection and creativity, cinema emerged as a beacon of hope, reminding us all of the enduring power of storytelling. The screens, both big and small, became portals to worlds where imagination knew no bounds.

[email protected]

About the Author

Related Posts

​​There is nothing quite like reading the perfect beach read during the summer.  In “This Summer...

The Texas heat couldn’t hold a candle to the electrifying energy Cage the Elephant brought to the...

What started as a U.K.-based dating series and turned into a worldwide phenomenon, “Love...