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[CENTER][CENTER]The New Era of Film: Is It Worse Than the Old One?[/CENTER][/CENTER]
Bang! Crash! “OPTIMMMUUUSSS!!!” Boom! “SAAAAAMMMM!!!” Those five words encompass the entire vocabulary needed to comprehend the two and a half hour special effects extravaganza Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, along with at least a dozen other movies that have come out in the last few years. Hollywood has developed a formula for making blockbusters for which they are apparently fully willing to sacrifice an original or inspiring storyline. The film industry now relies upon Computer Generated Images (CGI) and explosive action sequences to sell movie tickets, taking the point out of filmmaking entirely.
Before my own generation, Generation Y, came into existence, a film’s success could be measured by its critical reception, not by the impact it made at the box office. People went to the movies searching for inspiration and an emotional reawakening. Aspiring filmmakers dreamed of instilling these emotions within their viewers. The 1947 film, It’s a Wonderful Life, floundered at the box office and failed to earn its production costs in its initial run in the theatres. Nonetheless, it has successfully gained status as a classic due to its relatable storyline and themes of love and happiness. It captured the right feelings at the right time, and movie directors nowadays merely pretend to do this by giving the people what they want in the form of bloated action sequences and mind-boggling CGI. In my opinion, filmmakers have ridden themselves of all passion and instead turned to greed for wealth and fame.
A prime example of this lies in the recent blockbuster Avatar. People became excited when they heard that box office regular James Cameron had spent the ten years since his last film (Titanic) developing the technology to create the world of Pandora. Flocks of fan boys and girls rushed to their nearest theaters in an attempt to be the first to see what was expected to be a pop culture phenomenon. It mattered not to them that early reviews spoke of a weak plot with cliché characters and that expert film critics bashed it by calling it Pocahontas in Space; people wanted an off the charts visual experience that would take their minds off of their financial woes.
On the opposite end of the spectrum lies a small film directed by Jason Reitman called Up in the Air, featuring George Clooney in a story of recession and its effects on ordinary people. It has received numerous accolades and is expected to be a frontrunner in this year’s Academy Awards. Its release date was in late November, and it still has yet to achieve blockbuster status. This film was carefully crafted and engineered by an ordinary guy trying to connect with his viewers just like the filmmakers of old. Love and care were put into the storyline to create a truly powerful film that did not draw upon other movies to write its script as Avatar did; it was truly original. I admire Reitman and his passion for giving people what they need at the right time in spite of the rest of Hollywood, which tells him to go with the flow and earn the big bucks by making pointless action movies that have no impact on people whatsoever.
The fate of the film industry currently lies in the hands of its able minded viewers. Should not films such as Up in the Air be held in greater esteem than the three hour fight sequence we call Avatar? If people think a world with blue skinned creatures to be authentically creative, then they should check out an equally inventive 1980s cartoon called The Smurfs. Pure originality and talent are becoming hard to come by in the world of film, and even when it does it seems that it can never be met with what it deserves. Even as a boy of a mere fifteen years of age I am constantly searching for a film that gives Hollywood its rebirth, and I urge others to do the same. One of them may just connect with you in a way that you never thought anything could. One powerful film could offer you a rude awakening to the world around you or make you aware of what you have taken for granted.
Next time a movie comes out, I will you to take a moment to think about what kind of movie you are expecting it to be. Will it be another Wonderful Life, or just a meaningless CGI riddled mess? The Golden Age of film has passed, and people will miss out on movies that would change their lives unless they wake up to the world around them. Show Hollywood that you want originality and craftsmanship and they shall give it to you. In a world where everything feels hopeless, originality and inspiration can act as an oasis in a barren desert. Without your help, this oasis will disappear forever and the future will hold nothing more than remade versions of the past.
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