Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Dissolution of Hollywood Movie Magic

A few weeks ago, Gene Wilder was interviewed on NPR regarding his new book, What Is This Thing Called Love?, a compilation of various love tales that encompass the wide spectrum of love, relationships and its entanglements. Aside from discussing the inspiration and production of the book, Wilder also elaborated on his recent absence from Hollywood. He explained that Hollywood has moved away from the essentials basics of quality screen writing and acting and has instead diverted to pumping out high budget films loaded with special effects and action scenes spliced together by minimal character development and acting in between. Without degrading the success of James Cameron’s Avatar, Wilder cited the film specifically alluding to the movement of Hollywood to invest in special effects and 3D yet negating to pay attention to the core of what makes a good film.

I was reminded of the interview last night when I sat through a dismal, trite version of Robin Hood in the Metreon Theatre downtown. Even after downing a couple glasses of Merlot preceding the show, I still found myself willing to movie to finish and taking bathroom breaks just to disrupt the monotony of the poorly developed story line. Though I went knowing that the film received less than optimal reviews from previous attendees, the ingredients of the film seemed too strong to disappoint: excellent stars (Russell Crow, Kate Blanchet), the promise of heroic action (which I anticipated to compete with scenes from Gladiator or Troy) and the epic, classic fable of Robin Hood to carrying along the movie, but nonetheless, I was relieved when the credits finally rolled.

Making a movie is a lot like cooking: if you don’t have patience and allow the flavor to ferment, blend and congeal as they cook, no matter how fancy the serving dish or garnishes, you still don’t end with the same satisfaction. Hollywood keeps serving beautiful starlets, racy sex scenes and edgy battles to carry the weight of the releases, but in between these enticing factions where there should be substance and body through the art of story telling and acting is instead a void.

Hollywood, recently, seems to load up on the spices but skimp on the
hearty meat and vegetables that truly give weight to a dish.

I hope as the summer movie season begins that things will pick up. Otherwise, I’ll save myself the grief of wasting $12 only to suffer through another disappointment.

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