Mid-Term General Observations about Film

After reviewing about half the films in my collection and realising that I would not be finished in a single year as I hoped, I posted my intent to continue with my blog, The Movie Project.  Three years on, the project is on-going.  However, the total number of reviews will be over two hundred, rather than the 160 or so originally planned.

And now for some general observations and notes. As I suspected, I don’t think you can really say that films used to be better in the past than now. Some of the very best movies in my collection are from the 2000s: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Moulin Rouge, Batman Begins, (Batman) The Dark Knight, (Batman) the Dark Knight Rises. I’d put any of these films up against any classic movie from the past — and they’d come out on top, and not simply because of advances in special effects. I personally think special effects should be used to help realistically bring the story to the screen – and an effects-laden story without heart, without character, without story, never means anything to me. On the other hand, there is a tendency among film critics to sometimes dismiss a film simply because it uses a lot of special effects. This is frankly a ridiculous prejudice on the part of some film critics. Some films need special effects in order to be told correctly and in order to work as a film — it’s another tool in the director’s toolbox, like music, like sound design.

Another observation, and anyone who watches a lot of movies – and not just current movies, but all movies should have noticed this, is that each era seems to produce a certain type of movie, or at least become known for a certain type of film. The 1930s for example were known for musicals and the beginnings of Film Noir. Film Noir virtually defines the 1940s. The 1970s, by contrast, were known for comedy. The 2000s seem to be producing a lot of big budget, effects-laden epics (a echo of the 1960s maybe?). I wonder if any film historian or film studies professor has ever used a decade by decade approach to presenting the type of films that defined a decade.