The holiday season has recently passed and in the Festivus spirit I am listing my grievances.
I am, like every other visitor and contributor to this site, a huge fan of film as a medium. In terms of creating, it's a fantastic way to portray ideas and emotions to an audience and in terms of viewing, film is this spectacle in which one can sit down and ignore the rest of the world for a period of about two hours. However it must be said that the way this "spectacle" is handled is rather frustrating. Film, and art in general, at it's most basic form is merely an expression of the human existence. However the films being produced in the major viewing space don't represent this idea.
This is where my first grievance begins:
1. Representation in Film: We all know that humanity isn't entirely composed of grizzly white men who kick serious butt all day every day, but apparently the film industry does not. Nearly every blockbuster film released has starred some scruffy looking, Caucasian male, whose skill set is unmatched, and whose physical damage only furthers his attractive appearance. There are two main reason this frustrating, the first is that it’s just plain cliche. It’d be nice to see some variety in characters to root for, and to see some characters whose names don’t represent the most popular names on American baby naming sites. However it’s the second reason that is more important. Not having people of color being represented in major films, is essentially not addressing massive groups of people who represent the world as a whole.
2. Representation of Women in Film: Women represent about half of the human population and yet few major motion pictures express women as human beings. There is this trend with larger films to portray women as a blank canvas in which the male characters cast all of their emotions onto. It’s not that hard of change to make either, all that needs to be done is that women need to behave like human beings in the same way that men behave as human beings.
This next grievance is more frustration than a cultural issue.
3. Movie trailers: Trailers are great, they give us a peek into the upcoming film and they let us decide whether or not we’re up for seeing the entire movie. However trailers have gotten a little out of hand, for one they’re too revealing. Trailers have become much longer for modern movies and have in turn begun to give away far too much information about the movie. I have no interest in seeing every action sequence in a movie before I see the movie. Trailers remove the sense of mystery within a film by giving us too much information about what will happen within the film. All a trailer should do is get the audience excited for a film and reveal only the necessary amount of information regarding the film.
4. Keep it simple: There’s this strange need in the film industry to make huge, excessively, large films that encompass the entire world but that isn’t always necessary. However simple stories are very effective ways of getting ideas across and bringing an audience together. And when I say simple films I’m not just referring to those quirky indie films, or those family dramas, I’m also referring to those larger scale films. For example take the original Star Trek Saga, it’s pretty universally known that The Wrath of Khan is the best film of the series but it is also the one with the lowest budget. Due to its lower budget it had to be kept fairly simple both in terms of production but also in terms of it’s story. The first Star Trek film features a massive interstellar entity capable of destroying the entire planet, while the second only features a human being dead set on killing another human being and helping his people obtain a planet they can live on, something we’ve all obviously gone through. But all jokes aside it’s a much simpler film involving basic human emotions like anger and compassion and that works for it in so many ways. Keeping it simple more often would help the film industry make films that everyone can relate to. Films that can be accessed by a plethora of viewers, something all art should strive to do.
5. Taking risks: In short it’d be nice to see the film industry take some risks with the films it releases. A general move to the new in terms of story and production would be a well needed change of pace for the film industry. It’s so much easier to stick with old and refined techniques in order to make a film however I think it’s safe to say that we welcome the idea of new and innovative films that stretch the boundaries of the medium.
These grievances represent a small number of things wrong with the current state of the film industry. While I retain my excessive love for film and everything it represents, I’d like to see more mainstream films making changes.