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Why Modern Blockbuster Movie Plots Become Increasingly Silly
Briefly about modern society
Many believe that today there is an infantilization of society going on. It is well visible in all art, including movies. Just think of it: in the 19th century a child was dressed in a jacket, tailcoat, frock coat, parents taught him Latin, and at the age of ten he would read Herodotus. Today the opposite is true. Dad, mom, and baby are walking on the street, all three are wearing casual clothes, often half-naked, everyone has pacifiers in their mouths (a candy, a chewing gum, a cigarette, or a bottle of beer), they are eating the same junk food, speaking the same junk language and watching the same junk movies.
Bigger screens, poorer content
The movie industry has made a very curious loop. It began, as you all know, with the Lumière brothers. When they showed “Arrival of the train” people were so scared that they jumped up from their seats, it seemed to them that they would be crushed now. Then movies went through an incredible complication – the intellectualism of Bergman, the refinement of Visconti, but eventually came to a huge show, to a gigantic bubble with emptiness inside. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the screens are being made bigger and bigger, and the films themselves are shot exclusively for teenagers.
On the other hand, it’s no secret that most Hollywood bosses don’t like anything new. When the choice is between originality and time saving, time always wins. Unfortunately, there is a certain logic in this philosophy. Why bother and reinvent the wheel if everyone already knows that the viewer would rather go to watch a movie based on a famous franchise? As a result, we have a bunch of similar pictures, endlessly repeating the same themes. As long as they continue to make big money, the situation is unlikely to change. The demand creates the proposition.
Frequent change of authors
Movie fans often ask themselves: how could a huge number of credited screenwriters write such nonsense? But you need to understand that the authors, most likely, did not work on the picture at the same time. They might never have met each other at all. And what’s more – their work might have very little to do with the final film.
Why are scripts being rewritten at all? Firstly, the screenwriter does not always know in advance the budget of the future picture and does not know how much the shooting of this or that scene will cost. In the process of pre-production, producers hire actors, look for locations and draw up a final estimate. And they often find that what is written on paper cannot be filmed for the money at their disposal. Then the script gets rewritten to fit the real world.
But more importantly, all the participants in the filming have their own vision of the project. Often, the opinions of the director and producer about the plot can seriously differ. Don’t forget about the actors. Everyone wants their character to be given special attention. Big stars can bring personal scriptwriters with them, whose task is to prescribe a hero role for them. And above all of them, there is still studio management who can veto, twist any plot or scene.
So the storytelling process is like a tug-of-war. Each of the participants is fighting for his piece, and the final result depends on whether the parties succeed in reaching a reasonable compromise. In the process, the original script can be rewritten in such a way that later the original author won’t recognize it.
Filming without a script
Change of authors, reshoots, rigid release dates have all become an integral part of Hollywood film-making. A rare modern blockbuster can do without them. There are situations even worse – when the film is shot without a script at all.
It would seem that everyone should understand that the script is the basis, without it the film is not possible. But in practice, there are often situations when filming has already begun (or is about to begin), and at the very last moment the studio decides to abandon the existing script.
A classic example is the story of the creation of “Alien 3”. A huge number of screenwriters worked on the film, the producers themselves did not really know what they needed, and therefore they constantly changed authors. Having spent a lot of money on rejected manuscripts, they ended up opting for an eccentric version of Vincent Ward, where the action was to take place on a wooden planet with glassblowing monks as political prisoners.
Shortly before the start of filming, the producers suddenly got scared of their own courage, decided that the wooden planet was still too much, and abandoned the idea. The film crew got into a situation where they did not have an approved script, but they had a bunch of unnecessary expensive decorations for the monastery and an inexorably approaching release date, which, of course, no one was going to change. As a result, the movie turned out to be a huge mess.