Thursday, March 23, 2006

It's the Characters, Stupid

I was reading this morning, while I dried my hair, a TIME magazine article about the way Hollywood makes movies (i.e. film versus digital).

One aspect of the discussion was that directors think the audience wants more technically advanced movies, and the best way to deliver that experience is by making all the theaters convert to digital, and making all the filmmakers switch to digital, and using better and better special effects so we want to see their movies on the big screen.

I don't know how the purported geniuses of the industry can be so damned blind. If you look at the top-grossing movies in history, there are two common elements. The moviemakers are apparently seeing that the top-grossing movies of all time have award-winning special effects. What they fail to understand is that we didn't shell out record amounts of money because of the sinking ship (Titanic), exploding volcano (Return of the King) or flying dragon (Goblet of Fire). We spent that money because of Jack and Rose, and Frodo and his friends, and HARRY. Because of their relationships, and their flaws, and their journeys.

If it was all about special effects, movies like Fantastic Four and The Island would be in the top 100. They're not. Forrest Gump, a movie with the kind of special effects you don't notice and a much, much higher weep quotient, would not be well above War of the Worlds.

2005 was a bad box office year, yet they're still talking about creating better images when what we really want are better stories.

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