|Way uncool: Flailing about like rag dolls.|
According to producer Peter Chernin, the trouble started in 2008. Why do I keep hearing that year being associated with collapse? So odd. Anyway, the studios 'are paralyzed', their golden age of profits receding into the mists of champagne soaked memory.
3D surcharges are not enough.
The domestic market is not enough.
The studios have to look further afield.
Enter Blunderbuss Cinema.
|Semi-cool: Driving away from explosion at top speed on a sexy motorbike while wearing sunglasses.|
That's what's coming down the pike. Rather than starting slow and building up, the new paradigm will start with a bang and keep on banging, rushing at break neck speed to a spectacularly senseless, dazzling finish. Yada yada yada, catchphrase, explosions, coolness, The End!
Plots will have massive holes in them (See Man of Steel and Star Trek: Into Whatever) and exist only to link together massive, mind-blowing set pieces.
|Ka-boom in every language.|
Never let them see you sweat.
Huge, lumbering 200-million dollar blockbuster monsters need a world wide audience to feed them. Nothing less will do. They'd starve, and no one wants poor Godzilla (such a cutie!) to go hungry. So dialogue will diminish while explosions and chase scenes multiply like rabbits.
Transformers I, II, and III are perfect examples of Blunderbuss Cinema. These films assault eye balls like they were the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. There's no finesse here, no SEAL team, no elite 007 agent, just brute spectacle and primal emotion run amok, completely untied from reason and logic, with cuts so quick you can't tell what the hell is going on. It's verging on abstract. Think Jackson Pollock painting with a flamethrower. FUWHOOOOSH!
Man of Steel, Oz: the Great and Powerful, Battleship, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mission Impossible, Green Lantern, Cowboys and Aliens, Wrath of the Titans, Total Recall, G.I. Joe, Fast and Furious, Terminator Salvation, Underworld, The Expendables, Hellboy II, Resident Evil, Prince of Persia, The A-Team, Suckerpunch, Battle: Los Angeles, and Star Trek: Into Alternate History? Blunderbuss.
Avatar has many elements of Blunderbuss but is elevated by Cameron's superb command of craft. Still: unobtainium? Yeesh. Proof even a genius can slip. On the other hand, Avatar and Titanic are the two highest grossing movies of all time, and that which succeeds you'll see more of. Tranformers III sits at number 6. God help us. The bottom line is that Hollywood is a business, and what we patron is what they make. The Avengers witty punching-fest is third. At least there's hope.
Iron Man III, oddly enough, rises above Blunderbuss thanks to the wit of Robert Downey Jr, the coolest special effect in the movie. He is the franchise. Well. Plus explosions.
|Way cool: the slow saunter.|
Has it always been this way? Yes, only now it will be much, much more so.
Personally, I love a good explosion. I've got nothing against beautiful bodies embracing in front of collapsing cities while aliens attack and flames gush out of the earth in the background. My real objection? Glaring plot holes as wide as chasms, terrible dialogue, and twists that make no sense whatsoever. Some logic gaps are going to exist, true, it's the movies, but they don't have to be big enough to fly a planet through.
|Planet Explodes: Weak point of the slow saunter.|
Perhaps I'm outgrowing the blockbuster. The movies have left me flat.
As Humphrey Bogart once said, 'We'll always have indie film.' No, really.
For the mainstream, even Steven Spielberg is sounding the alarm, characterizing this as a time of extraordinary upheaval. Half-a-dozen megabudget flops and the industry will be changed 'forever'.
Cue dramatic music.
Thankfully, cable television is stepping into the gap. It's still directed at a domestic market, allowing for more complicated plotting and dialogue.
And the material on offer has never been better.
I can't wait for Game of Thrones to resume.