Inside. The frenzied chants are a distance hum. Despair protects the silence.
Alex bursts through the open door of the hospital room. His shirt soaked with sweat. The others are already there. Each individual expression uniformed in misery.
He knows the answer, but is unable to stop his question:
"Is the screenplay dead?"
Roselyn stands and walks towards him. Softly grasping his hands, she speaks:
"My son. The battle has been lost. You must be strong".
He looks down and his heart forgets to beat. Sitting in the palm of his hand, moistened by his perspiration is a pair of 3D glasses and a ticket to the remake of "Clash of the Titans".
Outside. The streets are choked with the smog of burning cinemas. The atmosphere electrified by a serenade of wild chants. He walks towards his car, which has succumbed to the blaze. The flames illuminate the spray-painted inscription on the passenger door:
"Long live the 3D motion picture"
Defeated. He throws his manuscript into the inferno and heads towards the last remaining cinema.
At the risk of being burned at the stake, shunned or spat on, I have to confess that I'm failing to share recent euphoria for the resurgence of 3D cinema. It's partly due to personal space; whilst others can’t contain their ecstasy over the sensation of cinematic images thrusting themselves onto the surface of one's cornea, I feel like my mind is being invaded by Oompa-Loompas with delusions of world domination. It’s not that I’m being contentious, but feeling like a lab rat simply isn’t my preferred cinema experience. All I gained from watching Avatar was a numbingly painful migraine, resulting in temporary psychosis and hallucinations of flesh eating plants.
But mostly, I detest feeling like I'm being sold something. And unless I'm otherwise missing the point, I see 3D cinema as yet another example of the ruthless marketing, along with trailers; merchandise and pathetic gimmicks designed to fob us off with the homogeneous, sequel inflated, uninspired fuzz that has saturated Hollywood over recent decades.
Of course, it's not always successful. Take the catastrophic flop of Uma Thurman's latest film "Motherhood". Apparently, its marketers thought they'd go down the exclusive path and only permit one cinema in London to show it, but then some idiot forgot to advertise it, or something like that. Alas, it only sold one ticket on its opening night. Note to Uma: next time you might want to enroll the experts at QVC, if there was ever anyone that could sell shit....
So my ponder is rather simple: what will the next decade of Hollywood look like? Are we doomed to an eternity of repetition, relentless sequels and unnecessary 3D technology?
These days movie makers seem locked in a battle for digital superiority. This would be fine if the fight was over how best to digitally enhance creative, or at best, inspired scripts. But it’s not. At least not as its main motivation. It’s more concerned with how technology can harness entertainment, so that it becomes a commodity to be sold, regardless of the product. In film speak: it’s the 3D which is dragging in record box office numbers. Whilst the film itself? Practically irrelevant.
And Avatar was just the beginning; so far this year Tim Burton's "Alice and Wonderland" and Louis Leterrier’s "Clash of the Titans" have also been released in 3D and we're only in April. Let the mental molestation begin.
Contrast this with Cannes, The British Film Festival and the various other independent festivals. This is cinema in all its glorious dimensions. I love being crippled by contemplation after watching movies like La Haine; Goodbye Lenin; City of God; Taxidermia. Even if these movies had been filmed in a tin can, they’d still be excellent. Because they offer something more. Right?
These types of movies should be what dominate the mainstream, not the margins. It’s not that I don’t understand that big budgets buy more technology, better actors and gifted writers.
But can cinema really be reduced to the sum of its parts?
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