Monday, 24 August 2009

RANT: Did the Dark Knight ruin the Blockbuster?

So here we are at the end of a summer which can only be described as a slight disappointment. It didn't really have a great movie in it, more like a selection of OK to good ones. Of the Blockbusters I think I'd have to say that Star Trek was the best, but I didn't like that movie as much as this would suggest. Apologies for the unintentional rhyme. The Hangover was refreshing, a comedy that was actually funny with some interesting characterizations (loved Zach Galifinakis), Drag Me to Hell was a horror movie with some personality which set it apart from the droves of sequels and remakes of classic horror movies. The studios approach the horror genre with a conveyor belt mentality of low quality, low budget movies. Its no wonder it never gets taken seriously anymore. The remake of Last House on the Left was passable though I suppose, mostly thanks to a strong performance fro Garret Dillahunt. But this is a digression, because the main point is that the big money pictures really let us down . I guess Watchmen was supposed to be the piece de resistance of this year, but some poor casting and a director with no personal vision led to that movie being as sterile as hell.

The reason for all negativity can be simplified into what I'd like to call in full acknowledgment of my own smugness the Dark Knight effect. Basically, the TDK revealed a laziness in all summer movies that we were either unaware of or had become sub-consciously accustomed to. It is no longer OK for them to hide under the moniker of 'fun'. I don't use this in a negative sense, because a blockbuster that is genuinely entertaining is an awesome thing, but the trick that they pulled was to defend low quality with the term fun, with big movies hiding behind it as an excuse to be shite basically. And people took it, because they didn't know better. But now TDK has shown us how good a blockbuster can be the same plasticated movies just don't cut it anymore. That blockbuster template of a committee of screenwriters making films of no personality, the over-reliance on CGI, that we've seen in full force for ten years or so and thus doesn't pack the same punch as it used to. Its beginning to grow cold. I'm pretty sure critics wouldn't have laid in to Transformers 2 like they did this year two years ago, because that was what the average summer movie was like. But now it won't do. And seemingly the better ones won't do either. Star Trek was good, Terminator Salvation was a valiant misfire, that at least tried to be something. But all I can be is disappointed by these movies now and that is Christopher Nolan's fault entirely. He raised the bar and now more movies fall under it then they used to. Its a sad state of affairs indeed.

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