Sunday, April 27, 2003

Higher Powers

The prospect of summer diversions that are also intellectual meditations . . .

A discussion of the summer film crop, films “populated by mutants, messiahs and superheroes who covertly propose new ways to interpret religion and reality.” Suggesting that as “the superheroes of the ‘X-Men,’ ‘Terminator,’ and ‘Matrix’ sequels entertain us with their physical feats, they also fill metaphysical needs.” Includes some interesting quotes. (The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, 27 April 2003.)

phlog ::: from editor :::



It certainly looks like summer movies have become more than just entertainment.  Of course, the driving force for Hollywood is money.  They’re banking (literally) on the success of hits like: The Terminator, and The Matrix.
But this is a win-win situation.  For Hollywood and the viewers.  And the reason for both winning is the same: the size of the audience.  Lots of cash at the box office, but also Cinema has become a powerful medium for potentially meaningful messages.  Messages that strike home for many.  Cinematic images hit home, inspiring real metaphysical/philosophical contemplations and dialogues.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06 May 03 at 06:19 AM

Not sure about your win-win situation. How is being part of a large audience a plus for the viewers? There is, unfortunately, no direct relationship between increased cash at the box office and increasingly meaningful product returned to us; if anything the opposite seems demonstrably true, eg. a highly successful film results in sequel after sequel, formulaic and predictable ad nauseum. This lament is so often heard it’s practically ad nauseum itself, but that’s my basis for the “demonstrably true” assertion, and, I’ll go on to theorize, the reason so much hype and hope is currently hung on “independent film,” which phrase is rapidly approaching the saturation level “alternative music” achieved in the late ‘80’s, and, I fear, the subsequent loss of meaning also.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06 May 03 at 09:21 PM

That’s a very good point about the never ending sequels.  (Must admit, I have more than a little trepidation about The Matrix Reloaded.  Thought The Matrix was a very complete movie.)  However, there have been good sequels.  Think The Godfather II - for great film making - and Terminator 2 - for great action. 

I think the core point is that a great, metaphilm idea can be beaten into the ground with sequels.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with just plain escapist entertainment!)  And, you’re right, at least some of the real thought- provokers (Memento, PI) were independents.  But, that doesn’t mean there can’t be anymore Terminators, Matrixes, 12 Monkeys, etc.  There are no guarantees in life, but there are plenty of opportunities!   

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 07 May 03 at 07:13 AM
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