I’m disappointed in the direction modern cinema in America is moving. It seems to be overrun by collections of recycled tropes. While the budgets for blockbuster films are growing, and the graphics and sets are getting nicer, I’m not seeing positive changes in the storytelling.
The movie plots follow cookie cutter formulas that are easy to predict. I feel like Hollywood has lost the ability to arouse suspense.
Movie trailers make it even worse. They often give away a lot of the exposition that is fed to the audience in tiny morsels. The best jokes from critical moments in the movie are also spoiled.
While it is sometimes comforting to recognize common story elements, repetition dumbs down the capacity for creativity. Technology is advancing at such an amazing rate that film could be used to tell countless, unique stories.
I feel that the potential within modern cinematography is really ignored. Different types of cameras and lenses affect how light hits the film or is read digitally. Convex or fish-eye lenses have a larger field of view and can give the feeling of a different perspective.
I miss watching a shot or a stunt that turned normal activities into something amazing. If a shot is so interesting it’s difficult to explain how it was created, the mystery makes the story that much more interesting.
What also bothers me is the short attention span of today’s audience. I really struggle to find shots that last longer than 10 seconds. In “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” the Star Destroyer didn’t get more than 10 seconds on camera. So much work was done with graphic design and set crafting and I didn’t get to appreciate any of it.
The shots don’t need to be extremely long and drawn-out to be effective, but frequent cutting is annoying. I hated “Taxi Driver” because of the drawn-out shots of Al Pacino driving the streets of New York, but stories can really benefit from taking in the glory of a moment so that the audience can bask in visual and sensual awe, such as the desert landscapes in “Lawrence of Arabia” that featured great scenic moments and a beautiful soundtrack.
Nowadays, movie scenes are being put together like a collage of expressions and candid moments. This is especially apparent in films that are adaptations from books like young adult novels and comics. The character cameo appearances are a barage of short memes.
“The Avengers” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” are filled with characters that have gimmicky personality traits or one-liners. There are too many characters to have a sophisticated story so the writers have to compromise the story so it can fit in a feature length film.
“The Expendables” and its successors also exaggerate this theme to an extreme. Some actors get barely any screen time. Jet Li is one of the best actors in the martial arts genre, and he barely got to do any stunts. The films are filled with the cheesy, recycled one-liners Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone are famous for. It’s a waste of amazing cinematic talent.
It seems the entertainment value of today’s films relies on information overloading. Rather than showing the circumstance of a setting within a scene, montages hinge on tropes to let the audience fill in all the storytelling gaps.
I want Hollywood to give me characters with complicated motives and morals nowhere near black and white. I want them to give me secret organizations that keep the audience guessing.
Napoleon Dynamite” was an excellent comedy film in terms of creative pacing and details within a story. The cast was easy to follow and the scenery lent a lot of flavor towards the personalities and history behind its early ‘90s setting.
There are still plenty of fascinating elements within film like content provided by the BBC. “Doctor Who” never ceases to impress me with creative budgeting of scenes and props along with clever shots and techniques.
Movie budgets are getting increasingly larger for blockbuster films today but fewer efforts are made towards writing a meaningful story and instead, directors and producers rely on cheap thrills to keep their audiences entertained.