Things that Moviegoers Take for Granted
So, I went to see Man of Steel in 3D last week (not a bad movie if you’re looking for something to see), and about ten minutes into the film, the people in the screening box realized that they weren’t showing us the 3D version of the film. So they stopped the film, switched the dvds, and replayed the last five minutes of the film, this time in 3D. I didn’t mind — I had particularly impressed by the combination of visuals and music in one of the scenes, and watching it again was just as powerful. I wondered how many other people were as impressed as I was with the scene. The number was probably a single digit.
This got me to thinking: as a society that is constantly changing and looking for new things, we tend to take things for granted. This includes aspects of film. People tend to forget that it was only the last century that movies were even starting to be made, and even then it was without talking. Films nowadays are like a full meal, complete with special effects and 3D, and even a story if you payed close enough attention.
Let’s take a look at a few of the things that moviegoers take for granted in films today.
You may laugh, but if you remember, films used to be made in black and white. And they were pretty good too. Today, nobody notices the colors used in films unless a film is intentionally made in black and white, like The Artist or Schindler’s List. The latter is a perfect example of how color can be used effectively in a film, with only one item appearing in colour in the film. Today, colour is just color, and the only way we find out if something is symbolic in colour is if we hear it in the audio commentary.
This is a tricky one to comment on. The problem with appreciating special effects is that they’re often relied on more heavily than an actual story or plot. The Day After Tomorrow is a perfect example of this — it has a story, but the majority of the action and visuals are products of the special effects department. But when was the last time that you sat back and really appreciated the special effects that you were seeing? I remember seeing Pixar’s Ratatouille in theaters, and I was completely swept away by an animated panoramic view of the Paris skyline at night. It was incredible. I was so taken with it in fact that I insisted my mother come see the film with me again so she could see it. When was the last time you thought to yourself “Those were really great special effects?” As long as your answer isn’t the Green Lantern movie, you’re on the right track.
Let’s face it, we’re all busy people. So when we go to the movie theater, we just want to pay our money, be entertained, and come home. We also don’t want any terrible actors ruining our movies for us. So is it any wonder that we tend to miss the good performances? I’m far from being an Oscar acting judge, but I always enjoy an actor who can carry his or herself through a film. Some of us, however, have grown cynical and expect Oscar-worthy performances from every actor at every turn (especially of the Oscar winners). What’s wrong with a typically serious actor to want to turn in a funny or less serious role every now and then? I mean at one point, audiences were impressed to have their films talking. Now we place standards on every person up on the screen.
Often I find that the one thing I tend to notice the least in a film is the musical soundtrack. Nowadays most movie soundtracks rely simply on pre-established pop and rock songs, and instrumental pieces tend to simply recede into the background. Granted, that’s what background music is for. But in the Golden Age of Hollywood, some of the best movie themes were born. That doesn’t happen nowadays (with the exception of Pirates of the Caribbean — awesome movie theme!) Now we just take the music for granted. Don’t believe me? Try this: the next time you go see a movie with an actual written instrumental soundtrack, ask your movie companion on your way to the car how they liked the music in the film. Watch their reaction carefully. “I didn’t really notice”? That’s about par for the course.