When Black and White movies come on TV, most people change the channel opting not too watch what they consider to be boring old movies. Movies like “King Kong”, “Casablanca”, and “Dracula” are classics but nobody seems to enjoy them as actual movies but as historical pieces. These classic movies are not watched to be entertained, but to be watched simply because they are called classics. It is here where cinema is having problems. There used to be a magical quality to film, where we saw our dreams on a big screen, where anything was possible. You could see long-extinct dinosaurs or go to moon, and it would be a fun escape from your normal life. Films like “Cinema Paradiso” show how movies brought people together, where everyone was connected through a piece of celluloid. Where has that gone in the past few years?
When I was nine years old, the Peter Jackson “King Kong” was being released into theaters. In anticipation for that film, some TV channels put the original “King Kong”. I had never heard about the original King Kong so I decided to watch it. When Kong fell off the Empire State Building, I was in tears and that experience has changed my life. I fell in love with the magic of cinema. I would try making little movies to try to emulate the emotions I felt for a giant ape. I tried searching for more movies to feel the way I had and became an avid film buff along the way. I watch old movies from the golden days of Hollywood or from la nouvelle vague era of French cinema and I find that there is a lot more emotion and heart to these older movies.
A good example of the cold way films are being made is with the “Fast and Furious” series. Sure they are very entertaining, but I can’t help to feel that this movie was made just to get demographics into theaters. Marketing dictates what kind of movie is put into theaters. Then you have independent releases like “Jeff Who Lives at Home” that emulate the same kind of cold-hearted filmmaking but disguising it by making it away from the Hollywood system. Just because its independent, it doesn’t mean that its better than Hollywood.
While there are many films today that are able to capture what make movies awesome, hell there are even good demographic action movies that capture this, it feels like most movies are cynical, marketing geared, and just not as fun. Although it may not be the industry’s fault why the films we get today are like the way they are.
We choose what kind of films we see in theaters.
Going back to the “Fast and the Furious”, the reason why there are six movies is because we go out to watch it. Money drives everything, so we choose to watch these movies. Even back in the time of the 1930s and 1940s, money tells you what the people want to see. It seems that nobody gets this. People complain on the Internet about how everything is so commercial and that movies made in Hollywood suck, but they go out to see them regardless.
These people also complain about the tiniest details in good movies. The Marvel movies are good examples of good and fun cinema that make good amounts of money, but everyone seems to knit pick to death. I love those movies because they capture what film is all about; they take you to a different realm where anything is possible. A world where superheroes go around saving the day while dealing with their own flaws and problems. Film is an art form, but its an art form that can be just as much fun as it is deep and powerful.
Stanley Kubrick could do this, Orson Welles could do this, Jean Renoir could this, but today only a few directors can do this.
Though why would directors nowadays attempt this if the audience doesn’t want to see it. People may complain about the longevity of certain film franchises or the pretentiousness of independent films, but they still go out and see them. Quentin Tarantino, the pioneer behind the independent film boom of the 1990s, made movies that he wanted to see, not what everybody wanted to see. Through ignoring what everybody told him movies should be, he captured the magic of cinema. This is how movies should be done and how they were done in the past.
Why has the magic of cinema gone away? Well, I know why it’s gone; its gone because that’s what we wanted. That is the biggest shame of it all.