Is cinema dying ?
As I write this last post for the year, a feeling of melancholy and sadness is with me as I write about what I believe is that movies and the thrill of going to the cinema and luxuriating in the magic of the big screen appears to be dying.
There was always something special in going to the cinema in having that shared experience in enjoying a film, whether it be a comedy, a musical, a drama, a western, an action flick etc etc.
As I look back on 2022, I only saw 2 films at the cinema – No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s last foray as Bond (thank God, as this film was awful) and Top Gun: Maverick where Tom Cruise shows he’s still got the magic to provide a thoroughly entertaining non-woke film for the audience. But after that zilch nada nothing.
Hollywood, in particular, keeps rehashing old material and making the same movies and TV shows over and over again. The key differences between the old and new versions is that the newer offerings are often dumbed down, coarser, infused with contemporary woke themes, and are obliged to have a far more racially diverse cast, and all the while delivering an inferior product that isn’t worth the time of day.
Of today’s crop of films I have soon had my fill. Most of them are obscurely told, they tell me things I don’t care about, in language I find offensive; and they concern characters whom I would willingly cross the road to avoid. Dark and shaky cinematography makes them unattractive to look at, and all the old studio crafts, so laboriously learned during the Golden Age, appear have been jettisoned in favour of obscenely large budgets which allow the film-maker to wander restlessly around the globe giving distorted views of real locations or the film is laced with incessant CGI instead of setting their own and the audience’s imaginations to work.
Nowadays one has to fight one’s way through the thick showy surface in order to get to a story which all too often is not worth following.
One problem is that modern films are largely made by people with no sense of humour, people who do not realise that they must please the mass audience if the industry in which they work is to survive. Old-time screenwriters would no doubt be viewed by these people as cynical hacks, but at least they took pains to please their audience with all the expertise at their command, and they still expressed their own view in a vein of sardonic humour which ran through most of their scripts.
The absurd pretensions of some modern film-makers certainly causes amusement wherever sensible people congregate, but the advocates of sanity are in no position to have the last word.
Movies are thus produced for a small group of jet-setters and wokesters; meanwhile that patient paying audience discovers that not only the films but the cost of going to the cinema is infinitely more expensive, as the cost of admission has risen at a phenomenal rate. What other commodity has risen in price to this extent? Television is infinitely cheaper and can be viewed in the comfort of one’s home: no wonder so many people prefer it.
So the movie industry hastens on its way to perdition and catastrophe, a fate which surely cannot be delayed more than another few years, and for which simple-minded greed, lack of foresight and a large measure of incompetence are chiefly responsible.
Some of the elements missing from modern cinema are to be found in television, with the plethora of choice for viewers from endless streaming services there is so much to chose from. But television is a private enjoyment, and one inevitably misses the sense of comradeship, of sharing a pleasure, that the cinema used to fulfil.
So, I usually include some clips scattered in my weekly post, but all I can think of now is just to present some of my favourite moments in cinema which I can still enjoy but I know I won’t see any more of in the coming years.
Enjoy . . . and a Happy New Year to you all.