Is there such a thing as a good cliche?

Posted: March 7, 2016 by Jaden C. Kilmer in Article
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Here’s a counfounding situation- let’s say you make a movie. This is an animated, PG movie aimed at kids and their parents. And you put a lot of effort into making the animation realistic and beautiful and your casting department nails the voice cast. (As in they do a good job with it, get your head out of the gutter!) And at the end of the day, it’s an undeniably well made movie. However, let’s say you’ve made a movie plotted around some really old, really basic, cliches.

This isn’t a hypothetical. This situation is exactly the movie Epic. Not Epic Movie, mind you. Epic is a 2013 flick that proved to be a mild success at the box office, only to be completely forgotten in the shadow of a certain ice-based Disney movie released later that year. And it’s a confounding one. As I said, its animation is superb, its voice cast is great, and the movie’s plot definitely shoots to live up to its title. But its not simply cliche-ridden, it’s built on them.

Here’s a basic rundown of the plot: After the death of her mother, a teenage girl moves in with her eccentric scientist of a father. Soon, she gets caught up in a magical war between two hidden realms- the fairies and sprites of the forest versus a dark army that seeks to destroy it.

Been there, done that, right?

But here’s the thing: I think it’s a damn good movie.

Let me explain. Isn’t there a reason that we all get so excited for each new Disney princess movie? And aren’t they all essentially the same? Sure, Frozen played with standard tropes and cliches a bit but they were still there. But each princess is a teenage girl bored with her life that wants to fall in love and/or have an adventure. Hell, you can even sort every single Disney princess song into one of just five categories. And each time, we eat it up. We love it. At least, I do.

This is because, frankly, I don’t care if each new princess tale is the same basic story. I love that story. I don’t get bored with it. I’m always up to watch a teenage daydreamer go on a sudden adventure because I just think it’s such a fun story. Even when I’ve seen it a dozen times over, it doesn’t bore me. Now, not everybody will share my opinion on this particular cliche, but I think just about everyone has a cliche they don’t mind. Whether you went to see Avengers 2 Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension or (ugh) Insurgent this past year, I’m going to bet that there is a certain genre fiction cliche that you love to death. I mean, after all, if everybody hated every cliche, then none of these movies would ever get made, right?



  1. mandibelle16 says:

    I agree with you, cliches can be good. Sometimes you want to read a certain type of book or see a certain type of movie, it’s just what you crave. Some of us I think love certain genres or styles of literature movies because for some reason we are drawn to it’s way of using cliche scenes/moments/actor types etc. Think James Bond for example.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jaden C. Kilmer says:

      Confession: I’ve never actually seen a James Bond movie. But I totally agree, hence the huge amount of Disney-based articles I write. If it’s got faeries or artificial intelligence gone wrong, I’ll watch it no questions asked.

      Liked by 1 person

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