On Story: “Tadpoles”

As usual, when I’m about to post something potentially controversial…. I’d like to clarify something beforehand: there are certain genres and subgenres of films that men are attracted to moreso than women (action, war, etc.) — I know women can like Saving Private Ryan and The Bourne Identity, but we’d all be crazy if we believe the producers in Hollywood avoid the cash grab of teenage boys when placing Megan Fox in Transformers. There is a definite draw for men and younger boys to certain plot lines (or lack there of). So, maybe it’s me or maybe it’s my gender… but I just don’t get action films.

This past Sunday, ‘On Story’ interviewed several creators, producers, and screenwriters of Sci-Fi and action films. Each of the men were seemingly intelligent and kind, but I feel like the fantastical worlds they create in their films are undermined by the action sequences. Detail is buried in fist fights, sword fights, car chases, shoot outs, rapid editing, CGI, and other elements. I cannot appreciate their time and effort in designing a world of myth and wonderment, because, frankly, I’m so distracted!

Sergei Eisenstein used rapid editing in his filmmaking for Soviet propaganda. Lenin believed cinema was the most important of all the arts.

I know I am the minority in this argument and I know there will be disagreements, but I wonder if computer generated images and action are such a staple in films today — namely superhero films like Watchmen — in order to capture, direct, and maintain our attention due to our short attention spans. I’d like to direct you to an article/infographic developed by Mashable. Note the portion which likens our attention span to a goldfish due to our reliance upon web media like Facebook. The average shot length in action films are terrifyingly short. Take for example The Bourne Supremacy, each shot weighs in at 2.4 seconds and the film is over 90 minutes long… I can’t even begin to do the math. Are we trying to keep up with the sea crustacean now rather than goldfish?

My whole point is… these brilliant screenwriters and creators of the fantastical worlds in action and Sci-Fi films (sometimes both) lose out, in a sense. Their films may be successful, but are we really looking at the details they develop? Or are we merely soaking in enough media to get us from one frame to the next in the fastest time possible? Please, tell me your thoughts on the matter. What direction are we headed in due to our reliance upon technology and its immediacy?

Next week I will be looking at new programming as my run with ‘On Story’ comes to a close. Until next time….

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