A casual discussion of movies turned into a passionate debate with a friend of mine the other day. I’m not a film pundit, BUT I love movies.
We had both recently seen the movie Life – which I recommend if you’re in the mood for a brutal science fiction horror story – and agreed it was a frightening, fun story. No profound messages were shared; the story wasn’t a divisive social commentary, though it did pose a thought provoking question, one I won’t ruin here.
According to my friend, movies are simply dumb. They can be engaging, she admits, but they are just an escape from reality. A time to gulp handfuls of popcorn and be entertained by visual fireworks, erotic imagery, and gratuitous violence until the credits roll. Nothing learned, nothing visceral.
In my opinion, movies can be just as provocative/divisive as books. I think a lot of people miss the underlying message due to the visual aspect of film. Take for example a huge, mega summer blockbuster like Jurassic Park (Jurassic World was a tremendous let down). The spectacle, the thing that got butts in seats, were dinosaurs on the big screen. Animatronics and restrained use of CGI gave the audience Triassic alpha predators resurrected – though it may not have been an accurate depiction.
How much should humans medal with genetics? Where could it lead us? Can two children outrun vilasa raptors? These issues are prevalent today, and were raised by a dinosaur movie. I realize Jurassic Park was a novel first, but for those of you who have read it, you would probably agree the film was an improvement.
A few suggestions to convert the cerebral, non-filmgoers: Darren Aronofsky, watch any of his films and your mind will be chattering for days. And if a silver screen Chuck P interests you, search for any Nicolas Winding Refn flick; just make sure you keep something sugary within reach, and a receptive friend on standby to decompress with.
Movies can be just as powerful as the most impactful novels. The viewer just needs to look past the pyrotechnics inherent of film.
If you want to cry, undergo a fear induced insomnia, or get mind-fucked, feel free to ask for movie referrals.