Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Movie Game

The other day I went to the movies and saw Kingsman. Going into it, I didn't know much about it, only that it was based on a graphic novel which I hadn't read and directed by the same person who did Kick Ass, a movie which I'd seen and found to be entertaining. As it turned out, this movie was also entertaining. The action scenes were done well, the story had enough traction and there were enough tongue in cheek quips about its own cliche elements to let the viewer know it wasn't taking itself so seriously. However, that's kind of the problem. 

This film, like many I've seen over the past few years, felt very much like watching a video game. There were action scenes, which were the game play, and then exposition or plot advancement scenes, which would be the prerecorded elements in a game. Everything took place on the surface. The characters didn't have any hidden motives. There was no subtle interactions. It was all right out in front of the viewer. There weren't even underlying themes to the movie. It was simply two hours of entertainment to be absorbed and then dismissed.

Kingsman is another in a long, long line of Hollywood type of movies made for instant gratification, meant to be forgotten hours after leaving the theater. It seems in recent years that blockbuster movies are made to be disposable. One of the previews before the movie highlighted that very point. Coming this year is Fantastic Four, essentially a remake of a movie that was made only ten years ago. Not a sequel. Not a new chapter. It's the same damned thing, thus making the first one disposable.

One could say that the idea of blockbusters has always been that way, but I don't think that's true. Looking back on films from my childhood, movies like RoboCop, Back to the Future, even Top Gun, there were other elements going one. The films were made to be remembered. I honestly believe that this idea of appealing to the video game culture is hurting movies. As video games become more like movies, there is no reason to make the movies more like games. It's just not good film making.

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