My World Through My Words

June 4, 2010

The Death of Story Telling

Filed under: Movies,Uncategorized — ashwinvk84 @ 6:33 am

Is it just me or has movies forgotten the art of story telling? I haven’t seen a movie with a good story in the past few years. I’m not hinting that there weren’t any good movies but there hasn’t been a movie with a very good story. In the 21st century special effects and mind numbing action seems to be the ingredients for a box office hit. Good acting and stories seem to have taken a back street. Case and point Avatar by James Cameron; the movie was like any Sci-Fi fantasy movie like Planet of the Apes or like a host of video games (Command and Conquer series & Rise of Nation Series). The story was so weak, that you knew how the movie was going to pan out and the only reason it was such a hit was because of all the hype created by pre movie publicity and the technology used in it, the Fusion Camera System or the Reality Camera System which was co developed by James Cameron himself. Again it stresses on my point of the importance placed on the technology rather than the core of the movie i.e. the story. It was not like as if there were no movies made before Vfx, animation, motion sensors, 3d Camera’s and a host of other technologies. No the standards of movie making has gone down drastically. And it affects the entire movie making process the acting, cinematography, editing, production etc. I mean, sure all the jobs have become more simple thanks to the technology but the same levels of standards were reached by moviemakers in the so called old age.

After saying all this I decided to look a little deeper at the problem, what I found was a bit different. I found that the art of story telling has not died in the movies but the so called Box office hits are where it is dead. There are so many good movies with great stories which go under the radar of the general public. I must say I’m not a huge movie buff, sure I like to watch good movies but I don’t need to watch it as soon as it comes out or in the cinema halls. But I do like a good movie and I do watch my share of the action packed, testosterone boosting, mind boggling CGI movies which I like to call a “one time movies”; these are movies you see once for the novelty effect were all the fast paced action and blinding animation keeps you in the seat for an amount of time and takes your mind away from the boring parts of the movie (where the actual acting takes place). After you see these movies once you’ll never want to see them again in the foreseeable future. This is not what makes a good movie. A movie you can watch several times without getting bored and you are willing to buy your own personal copy (or download from the net) are the ones which can fall in the good movie category. Yes, this sounds a bit dumb but it’s not enough if you just buy it (or download it), but the amount of times you are going to see that movie over a lifetime. Come on how many times can you watch a movie like the G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra or Resident Evil; once or twice at the maximum, and then you don’t want to watch it for the next few years. These movies as time passes become boring and unbearable to watch even to the most avid fan. At the end it comes down to the story when there is a good story to tell, how much ever time passes you’ll always feel the same thrill of watching the movie for the first time.

As I was saying before it was not that the good movies are dead but the big movie studios prefer to make a comic rip off, or a video game rip off, or a TV show rip off, or even a goddamn sequel to all the earlier rip offs. The good movies are by the independent directors and producers, who struggle to make everyday shooting possible, which don’t have the resources like a big movie studio marketing machine to promote it. That itself is the problem how many of us have gone to see a movie because of its trailer or some kind off hype the movie created even before it released. The trailers nowadays are so flashy and in your face that it contains all the parts of the movie which are the good parts. How many of us have felt cheated by a trailer, where the movie was nothing like the trailer? I must say it will be a substantial part of the movie going public, yours truly included. As I pointed out earlier the movies which are not produced by big ticket movie studios tend to have a better story and more realistic views on the human society itself, again case point The Hurt Locker, which surprisingly won the academy award over Avatar. Now here was a movie with a great story and even some great visual effects made on a shoe string budget. I think moviemakers are over thinking the movie process nowadays, there are so many tools available to the directors that they feel that they must use it all and fill the movies with special affects and other CGI works and do overkill.

The simplistic movies are dead and buried, the so called family stories are the ones which are truly over, and there are very few which can truly be described as family stories, I recently saw My Sisters Keeper which had a great story, but it didn’t even register in the box office. Nowadays studio heads chose directors to make movies rather than directors approaching the studio heads with good stories, and with commercial interests at stake in the present economic climate, the major studios will not risk a movie which may not have mass appeal to its major audience i.e. small kids to young adults. The audience is also to blame here, more and more of them just prefer the fast packed action movies, with a hot girl and some flashy cars. The true moviegoer has become a dying breed, those who enjoy the story rather than all the false distractions that are present in the movie. People rather than remembering the story remember the action sequence or a car chase or some CGI fantasy scene, which is a huge disappointment. I do truly hope the directors realize this grave injustice and try to find their movie making roots again.

On a different note I’m happy to say and I’m sure all the guys will be happy to hear that the new Sex and the City movie is being trashed by all most every woman who watched it. I have girls telling me to avoid it at all costs, so there may be a movie god after all and he’s a guy for sure. After putting all the males of the world through the wringer with the first movie I think he may have thought that was torture enough. Also what’s with all the remakes and video game/TV show/Comic book adaptations; I mean Hollywood is definitely trying to kill the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg. I feel this bubble is about to burst and hopefully a new kind off filmmakers’ immerges from it.


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