QUOTE (Witless @ Jun 2 2006, 07:53 AM)
QUOTE (pgrmdave @ Jun 1 2006, 02:00 PM)
I think that most movies are fine, it's the "documentaries" like Farenheit 9/11 and Supersize Me that I'm more worried about. People take these films as gospel truth, without trying to think critically about them.
I find that view point odd. The majority of people don't listen to, or care what's said in them. It's not like an overwhelming amount of people's views side with films like that. If anything it's screamingly large minority that even care enough to watch a politically minded film. Let alone think about anything said in them. Even the great supersize me and and fahrenheit 9/11 were only successful with the critics. With the box office they did very poorly. It was just that the films cost so little to make that they didn't need to sell enourmous amounts of tickets to justify their existence. In the UK newspapers started giving away copies of supersize me for free the other week. They really aren't that well watched, or well thought about.
The majority of adults, no. Teenagers and general young people? Yup.
Even if they've not actually seen the film, the contents of the film tend to be filtered through teens (whether it be because they've seen it, their parents have seen it or, most likely, a friend of theirs has seen it), and because teens are teens and most likely to fall into the pattern of accepting what they hear to be true, they'll take it to be true without even asking how or why it's true.
Take Bush for example. I've heard more teens than I can count saying that they hate Bush, but if I ask them why, they'll just say "because he's an idiot," or somesuch and that's it. They don't know why he's an idiot, just that he is one, because someone else said so.
It's only big budget movies that follow the general film formula, problem is it's big budget movies that people watch. Regardless of whether the smaller ones are good or not. My friend from California was informing me that when Lock stock and two smoking barrels (a british film) was released in the US it did very badly. However when the diretor made a film with the precisely same formula, and about 75% the same cast. But budgeted to include Brad Pitt in the cast, and released Snatch. Suddenly everyone thought it was great. They then went back and watched the first film he made.
Then there's the Italian job.. they took a foreign original and remade it, basing it now in the states, and an all american cast. The will to make films more interesting exists.
The will to make comic book films that stick closer to the comics exists (see x men 3, grrr...)
And, the will to make historical films at least come within a million miles of history exists. The will for people to fund them to be made, does not exist however. It bugs me, because no one's ever tryed on a scale larger than a docu-series like Boudicea. Anyone that's ever seen the two part Boudicea series will know staying accurate does not make things worse by any stretch of the imagination. Histories got some great stories. It would be nice to tell them.
Seems the reason good vs bad sells is because.. people seem so scared of doing things any different. All my favorite films are little to do with plain old good vs bad. And at the least blur the boundries. Where do these films come from? Away from the states film industry. Films catered for, or produced by the major budget givers of the states follow such a pre defined formula that it's a little difficult for them to see any other way to make things anymore.
Actually, very few films now have clear cut good vs bad. It's all shades. However, I tend to see that as more appealing to audiences as a whole, as it's closer to real life, which promotes relatability. Relatability is crucial to any form of media. If audiences can't relate to it, they won't care about it and then it won't sell.
It's the same thing with remaking foreign-made films. When they're remade with American actors or places, the audiences can relate to that actor or place much more easily because they know about it.
As for the films that are closest to real history, I'd say Gettysburg
and Of Gods and Generals
come pretty close, though there were some compromises made in producing it. That's probably the only way that historical films can be made- with compromises.
Fantastic example would be the Day After Tomorrow. They turned it into a good guys, vs the evil sinister environment film. By subtly using music queues, and even ghostly voice sampled sound effects for the weather effects. They make it seem like weather effects are actitively chasing the 'heroes'. Made me shudder a lot.
Personification of objects is a very human trait. Even the fact that it made you shudder means that you could relate to the film enough to react to what was happening.
Back slightly more on track now.. I can't bring myself to call people that take films as truth stupid. Part of me wants, but there's a part niggling at me that says that's not it.
Most people (not all) will treat what is placed in front of them as truth. It's why there are fashion trends. I believe it's to do with our pack mentality. We see something, we accept it.
Most people won't go back to a library and read up and expand their knowledge on something interesting. If they did, we'd need a hell of a lot more libraries. It's nothing to do with people being stupid. People only make it their issue to learn stuff directly that they directly need to know (in general). Outside that sphere, they seem to have some kind of subconcious belief, that as long as someone else somewhere is working on the other issues of the world, everything will be dandy.
So when films are produced with all this colourful imagery, and sound by THX surround systems and all kinds of other big walleted organisations, starring Harrison ford, or some other known face. And the words "based on a true story" are stamped on the title sequence. That's it, they're sold. From that point on they feel no more need to express suspicion about things. I'm sure they think maybe the known facts are a little exgerated. But I doubt they have any idea just how far the known facts are stretched.
No, they're not stupipd. They're ignorant about what really happened in history. However, I don't see what exactly is so bad about the ignorance if they get the major points correct. For instance, if there's a film that insists that the south won the American Civil War, that would be pushing it, but I don't see how films not be totally 100% accurate on every single detail really harms anyone in the long run. For most people, history is not present enough in every day life to warrent any sort of real attention or cares to it, so why should filmmakers have to make sure every single insignificant
detail be correct?
I remember being in school, and watching film versions of things we learned. Then our teacher kindly telling us that the film was really really different to the book, and being very annoyed that we watched the film. Since if I based anything on the film rather than the book in my exams through mixing them up, I lose marks. *grr's at that teacher*
My personal rule of books-to-movies is that if I've read the book, chances are I won't like the film, simply because the details can't
be the same and still run within a reasonable timeframe.
Not everyone in the world is a retire away and learn more about the things they've seen in person (though in my opinion the ones that don't should be culled from society! (joking)). I said earlier we're the first generation to really grow up with these types of film, without elaborating with what I meant.
No generation has been bombarded with information about the past in as many ways as ours. We see it on the internet through half told opinions of a million people stating opinion as fact. We have the age old method of books still going. Then we have film, which is a media designed for entertainment trying to occasionally justify itself as educational.
There's no way to know for sure which will be more powerful in the future. It is still the minority of people that ever read up on anything that doesn't benefit their life directly, and even fewer of those people will go on to teach what they'll learn. But we have nothing to base predictions on the future on. We've never encountered such a flood of information about every known subject available in the past.
As far as I know, most books are still written and read for entertainment purposes, and in fact, I'd be worried if they suddenly stopped making them for entertainment.
And actually, if you take film as a whole (not just mainstream ones) there's quite a lot of educational informaiton coming from it. Of course, most films let audiences learn something, but I'll assume you meant in the traditional sense, because saying films don't teach anything would just be silly.
Film will most likely be more powerful in the future, simply because it's easier to market to a wide range of people.
On a side, but related note. Something that bugged me. The school board in the UK has recently started saying physics maybe taken off the curriculum. Not becase they want to, it's just they don't have enough physics teachers to go around anymore. Most physics teachers here are actually biology and chemistry teachers, or 'other'. Among those they are complaining that they don't understand physics well enough to get students top grades. This is at a time when we know more about physics than any time in history. We have books coming out our ears that people can read up on a subject about. But yet, here in the UK, we have a shortage of people able to teach certain subjects. A good portion of what I know about physics currently is self taught, and I took an A level in physics (English college). So, yeah, I still haven't come to any conclusions on whether it's a bad thing or not.. carry on!
PS. I spent my lunch time writing this post...
This would be happening because most people who learn just physics become physicists, or they become professors
of physics. Both have to do with physics being hard to study in the first place (like the dreaded theoretical physics), and wanting to make the most of all that effort they put into getting the degree they earned.