By: Pelumi Adeniyi
Nigerian movies, particularly the local Nigerian movies, have always been substandard. Some have been severely criticised and made the butt of jokes so far, even because these various substandard movies branded the Nollywood industry as a movie of quantity, not quality. At a point, it seemed that the Nollywood producers and distributors were only focused on bringing out content, not minding their quality. As a result, there were many plot holes, movie errors, impossible movie tricks, bad graphics, bad plotlines and terrible acting and directing, lousy editing. All these before the advent of elite Nigerian movies like The Wedding Party, Living in Bondage etc.
Many Nigerians abandoned Nigerian movies for international movies like Korean movies, Hollywood movies, Philippian movies, and even Bollywood movies. The lack of quality in the storytelling, appropriate plot lines and the likes made them abandon Nigerian film. It got to the point that anyone who openly admitted that watching Nollywood movies is ridiculed by their friends who would see them as local. So people turned the errors made in continuity or other areas to movie skits or funny videos to poke fun at the ridicule that the Nigerian movie was slowly turning into.
It is also worth noting that a few old-time Nigerian movies were utterly distinct, most notably Tunde Kelani movies and Wale Adenuga movies that were top notch. Some films introduced big Nollywood movie stars like Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Kehinde Jakande, Funke Akindele, Kanayo o Kanayo, Emeka Ike, to name a few, were also top-notch. It is also very movies that indigenous movies, most notably indigenous movies in the Yoruba language. However, the quality dropped when there were various repetitions of storylines in a film with the same storyline done in different ways, which ultimately ends up in the movies having the same or similar ending. A hugely successful storyline would be copied, replicated and improved on by other writers. This affected the quality of the Nigerian movies because it showed that Nollywood lacked ideas or new ideas. The dearth of the Nigerian movie inspired some writers and producers to write unique storylines and produce quality Nigerian movies. Writers/Producers/ like Kemi Adetiba, Mo Abudu, Ramsey Nouah, A.Y, Charles Okpaleke, to name a few.
Kemi Adetiba and Mo Abudu began the revolution and rebranding with Wedding Party. Wedding Party was a movie that perfectly described the arduousness of planning a Nigerian wedding party, especially a wedding that involved two different tribes. It explained the planning itself, the stress the married couple, friends and their parents go through, the pressure the wedding planners and the plights of those planning the event. It also shows the funny side of the whole scenario.
It also pictured the affairs of the couples’ family and how they had handled it to make sure the wedding of one of their family members was successful. It also showed the sacrifices parents, friends, siblings of the family make for the couple involved. Wedding party 2 was not different to part 1. However, they upped the stakes by moving it from an inter-tribal marriage to an inter-continental one. It involved a Nigerian man (Dozie) getting married to a white woman. It was also comical in its own right.
A few years after, Kemi Adetiba came up with King of Boys. King of boys took the Nigerian movie industry by storm when it was released in 2018. It was more than the Nigerian standard. The lighting, sounds, effects, plot, setting, the story was perfectly done. Judging from the Nigerian movie’s point of view, it was a massive improvement. King of Boys is still the highest Nigerian grossing movie to date. King of Boys 1 reveals the nitty-gritty of the “underworld criminal life” in Nigeria. It was a well written, unique movie with excellent lighting, plot, and storyline perfecting and relative. The casting was also perfectly done as the actors and actresses chosen for the role fit into the characters perfectly. They brought the characters into life. King of Boys received a lot of praises both home and abroad. The success and the positive reviews the film got made Netflix adapt the movie to turn into a series. The series; Return of the King came out not too long ago and was also a significant success. It showed the development of major characters like Eniola Salami, Ade love, Makanaki, Akin Lewis. It also introduced new characters like Jumoke Randle, Odudubariba, Dapo Banjo, Tunde Randle, Sade Bello, Reverend Ifeanyi, and Mr Mogaji.
The sequel is also receiving plaudits and positive reviews from movie critics and fans alike. Living in Bondage, Sugar Rush, New Money, Chief Daddy, Quam’s Money, Lionheart Omo Ghetto the Saga etc., are movies that showed that Nigerian movies have improved in quality. Living in BondageBondage garnered several awards when it was released. It won about four awards in the African film viewers choice awards (AMVCA).
The Sugar Rush was also a complete and humorous movie. It had all it needed to be a blockbuster. So it became a blockbuster; beautiful storyline, excellent plot, comical relief, plot twists, good casting etc. Sugar rush also did very well at the Nigerian box office. It is another very, very good Nigerian movie. It has also received many positive reviews since its release. The film was directed by Kayode Kasum and produced by Jade Osiberu and Abimbola Craig. Bunmi Ajakaiye and Jade Osinberu wrote an exciting movie called Sugar Rush. Adesua Etomi, Bisola Aiyeola, Bimbo Ademoye, Williams Uchemba etc. starred in the movie.
Nollywood has witnessed incredible growth in recent years. Producers, actors, writers and directors are now waking up and stepping up to the task. If the improvements continue and remain consistent, Nollywood will become one of the best in the world in quality.