I am glad to see that people are starting to disagree with many of the
assumptions that have been circulating through this discussion of the
"dumbing down" of films. As I suggested a few days ago, I think there's
more than a little nostalgia going on here. Many intelligent writers
have pointed out similarities rather than differences between current
cinema and that of previous periods. Another key point here is that
the spectacle of technology is NOT a new aspect of cinema, but rather
is part of cinema from the very beginning, when "narrative" and
"character" did not exist. Rather, the spectacle of cinema itself
has always been one of cinema's most potent elements.
Several posts have also pointed out specific economic differences
between, say, the studio era and the contemporary scene. Donna
Cunningham's point about the rapport between theme parks and films is
particularly apt, since the blockbusters in question resemble rides
more and more, rather than literary texts.
My earlier question about the pleasure in watching such massive
expenditures still stands. Is there not something in the massive
display of capital which is somehow fetishistically pleasurable?
EVEN when what is presented is destruction...
Edward R. O'Neill, UCLA