A blog raveled in randomness
I took two film studies courses. I enrolled in these courses not because they were mandatory, but because I loved watching movies. Cinema has magic that bridges between the big screen of fantastical imagination and my mind of reality. I never buy popcorn or drinks because I give my total attention to the characters and the conflicts they encounter along their dangerous, action-packed journey. However this magic that sparked every time I entered the dark cinema room was blown off by lectures I have so far attended at my university.
It started with the first seminar when everyone went around (as an ice-breaker conversation) and told why we enrolled in the course and what our favorite movies were. People before me stated names of black and white films and independent film directors that I had not heard before. When my turn came, I truthfully said, “Currently my favorite movie’s Avengers.” Yes. The blockbuster movie that contains all the elements of a “safe play” in the modern entertainment business and of a certain profitable production that leads to a successful commercialized franchise. But at the time, I did not think of the movie Avengers like that. I liked it because the movie had Captain America, one of my favorite heroes. That was it. But some students–especially the PhD student who led our seminar–slightly dismissed my frank reasons.
After a year of taking these film studies courses, I have read so many articles and academic essays on art house films versus globalized movies funded by internationally known studios. The two professors I have been with have shed negative light on contemporary film-making industries and commenced their first lecture with the question: “is it the end of cinema?” The answer of course is no because cinema will continue to change and somehow survive. However, the film theories they have taught me have stripped the magical curtains and unveiled a money-making factory of the modern movies.
Now all I see in posters and trailers is a shadow of big productions who are playing safe by making film adaptations from books that already have a big fan-base, starring famous actors who have an international fan-base and containing short immediate cuts that flashes their audience’s minds with no time for reflection. Familiarity is the key ingredient in most present film so that the money poured into making the film would not go to waste. In comparing to older films that my professors have shown, it felt like they were trying to teach me how corrupt the studio productions are. Now, that is what I see in reflection of those highly anticipated movies backed up with A-list stars, familiar plot lines, and elusive emotions that can be identified by the majority.
Did my film studies courses ruin the magic that I once felt? I tried to see past this with recent movies like The Hobbit, Les Miserables and Wreck it Ralph. My effort was futile as the intensity that once brought me to sit at the edge of my seat was gone, and all I could see was how the films were edited to concentrate more on the actors’ faces, dialogues pertaining to collective identification, and appearance of non-original characters.
Is there a way to undo this spell?