The Small Screen Revolution

For as long as I can remember I have loved films and had very eclectic tastes from classic 1980’s comedies to 40’s film noir. I adore the immortality of Hitchcock’s thrillers namely Psycho and Vertigo. I strongly admire how well his work has held up over the decades and his vision will remain a vital thread of cinema’s tapestry for many years to come.

The innovation of filmmakers like Peter Jackson is a true inspiration to me; his fantastic progress in special effects as illustrated in the incredible ‘Lord of the Rings Trilogy’ has redefined the landscape of movies.

In recent times though, I find myself becoming increasingly bored by Hollywood’s consistent repetitiveness. When I see the latest movie releases pop up on TV adverts and in film industry magazines, I am filled with a sense of cinematic déjà vu, as yet another concept is rehashed for box office appeal. As new generations of directors continue to dilute the impact of special effects by playing around in a toy box of technology which Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson pioneered.

Over the last two years I feel like I’ve seen the same movie a hundred times, all with different actors and titles but the same overused plot. Modern cinema is becoming a wasteland of dystopian adventures and superhero pictures. All of which are perfectly well made with progressive cinematography but for me, each of these blockbusters lack integral creative values.

I was bereft by Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Gravity,’ a beautifully made film without a soul. The sparkling effects gave it the feel of an oil painting in motion and its striking imagery was as good as its seven Academy Awards suggest, but its lack of plot left it without any vigour. In my opinion this particular film was an excuse for several pioneers of the industry to flex their creative muscles and experiment.

There have been a handful of films amongst the popcorn pictures and desperate Oscar hopefuls that have stood out to me, one of which is 2014’s ‘The Guardians of the Galaxy’ directed by James Gunn. This was a delightfully comedic and refreshing take on the superhero genre and convinced me that not all of Marvel’s comic book adaptations are one-dimensional. This film harked back to several other light-hearted science fiction films such as the ‘Men in Black Trilogy’ and ‘Hellboy,’ carrying with it a similar charm.

I don’t know whether it’s merely coincidental that Hollywood is losing pace at the exact same time that television is hitting its renascence, but cinema has had its work cut out with the uprising of the boxset. So many TV series such as ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ are impacting the public consciousness with their vast scope and bold concepts, giving a platform to incredible talents both in front and behind the camera. I know that all artistic mediums work in cycles and who can guess what entertainment platform will capture us over the next decade as new technological devices hit the shops. Although one thing is certain; cinema has got some work to do in order to compete with TV and stop this small screen revolution.

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2 thoughts on “The Small Screen Revolution

  1. A great piece, and definitely food for thought in there. (I’ll admit to having a fondness for Gravity – it works on a purely visceral level and I think there is a place for films that work – as Gravity does – as a rollercoaster ride. I can see how it’d leave a lot of people cold though)*

    I don’t think we’re that far from the inevitable backlash against superhero movies – I think people will start to get bored of them. Don’t get me wrong – I love all the Marvel stuff, but other than Guardians of the Galaxy and The Winter Soldier (my favourite marvel film yet) they’re pretty much all exactly the same film.

    There are still gems out there though – they’re just getting hidden by the capes and spandex. Edge of Tomorrow was an absolute blast that was well received by the critics but got buried by bigger films, Interstellar is both thought-provoking, beautiful and an excellent character piece (if you can ignore the gaping plot holes) and then there are terrific bits of cinema out there like Under the Skin. The good stuff is still there – you just need to look out for it more in a cinema dominated by sixteen screens showing Super-duper-hulk-avengers-man 4: The Klumps.

    * – insert your own gag about the vacuum of space here

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  2. Thanks Dave, it’s wonderful that you’ve taken the time to analyse the piece and feel the soul of the ramble.
    I like superhero movies, but they are what they are. Sometimes people distort them to the point of madness when in actuality they’re only a bit of fun. The Edge of Tomorrow was good, quite original and the acting was cool. I’ve not yet seen Interstellar. I’ve heard good reviews. I think Nolan is one of the directors who excel in that sort of genre, as appose to the diluted variations, I’m looking forward to seeing it soon and putting my thoughts on the blog. Thanks again, Dave.

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