As consumers, we shouldn't accept second-rate, if we settle with the sub-par than that's what we'll be fed. Check out my pal Slobodan's new blog concerning the sub-par Transformer films. http://slobodanbubalo.blogspot.com/2011/07/why-transformers-films-failed.html?spref=fb As an artist, you want your art to create an emotional connection with the audience, but sometimes the experience itself trumps everything. I know people who see two movies a week, and who will admit that whether or not they like the movie can be a direct result of their mood. Escapism, it can be said, is an integral part of the movie going experience. I think to the key to this is to force the audience to capture something and be able to relate to it.
We live in a cynical and sarcastic world, so fans line up to see a movie like Troll 2 because of its sincerity. Troll 2 is considered the Worst Best Movie Ever Made, you can watch a documentary of that name. The movie is atrocious, but it's become a cult classic. The director has even left his home in Italy to attend viewings here in the States. As you can see in that documentary, he is a director who believes 100% in his film. When the actors confess to how horrible the movie is, the director will call them arrogant and try to diminish their comments. He calls the audience crazy when they laugh, not only at what is meant to be laughed at, but also at the dramatic, serious parts. He doesn't quite comprehend it all, but he defends his film. Fans agree that movie is awful, but they love its sincerity, so the director succeeded in that regard. Fans throw viewing parties and try to bring people along who have never experienced Troll 2 before. Watching a movie alone on a laptop is one thing, but to experience a movie, as it was intended, with a sold-out audience is quite another. The term blockbuster has almost a dirty word in my book, but there's no way I can deny the fact that people love the experience of seeing a blockbuster picture with a crowd. I loved the experience of seeing Casino Royale on opening day, a packed theater, and it was apparent that a couple people had read the novel because we'd respond at those certain moments. I think Casino Royale is a great movie and my experience matched it. My experience seeing Quantum of Solace on opening day was painful, but only because I knew after the title sequence that this was not what I considered 'Bond' material. For me, the experience rarely interferes with my appreciation of the work. I've had some great experiences seeing movies, but I recognize that they're dreadful. Are you more easily swayed by either the movie or experience, or do they both seem to carry an equal weight?
Star Wars has impacted our culture like nothing else. Here is a movie that ended up delivering a fantastic mythological tale in space and became something that needed to be experienced on a big screen and with lots of people. My introduction to Star Wars was far less glamourous. My parents had VHS tapes of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that I watched as a kid. I enjoyed them, but it wasn't until the Collectible Card Game was released before I really got into Star Wars. I remember seeing an advertisement for the CCG intro box in a Sears catalog, and because my Christmas list was short, I thought I'd like to try it out. The cards became my gateway into Star Wars, and before long, I watched A New Hope for the first time, and the cards would be banned from school. Believe it or not, I was a trendsetter back then. Then, like Abed without his chicken fingers, I relapsed into nothingness. Because I was properly introduced to Star Wars through the cards, I still contend that Obi-Wan and Owen are brothers.
Once I was immersed in Star Wars, I found myself grabbing audio books for traveling during vacations, and picking up the novels to read during our allotted reading time in class. The appeal of the universe that George Lucas created hasn't really subsided; thus, the first podcast I ever downloaded was a Star Wars related podcast, the Forcecast. The Forcecast remains the best produced podcast you can find, and if you have any interest in Star Wars, I'd suggest you check them out. Since the prequel trilogy, it is no secret that fans of the movies have been divided over the way George Lucas has managed his universe.
There are fans of Lucas who conclude that he has control over his property and has free reign to do as he pleases. There are also some who simply dismiss the prequel trilogy, citing sub-par filmmaking, which extends to changes to the original trilogy. Is there also really a fringe group who say George Lucas ruined their childhood? Guess so. I always dismissed these claims as wildly irrational. I also find some of the changes made to the original trilogy as wildly irrational. The tense scene between Greedo and Han Solo, when watched today, is no longer a tense scene, but something to be ridiculed. Cluttering up the screen with extraneous crap doesn't make your picture better, it makes it worse. Especially when you can easily see it was simply added by computers. Does Lucas have the right to alter his movies as he sees fit? Sure, that makes sense to me, he owns it. Whether or not he should change it becomes the question. When I ask myself this question, I can then understand the people who claim George Lucas ruined their childhood. What it must've been like to see Star Wars released back in 1977, ask around, you might find someone who can tell you. They participated in a pop cultural event that continues to spawn spin-offs, references, tv, movies, games, merchandise, clothing lines, theme park rides, art, fiction, non-fiction, it seems there is no end to the impact of Star Wars. People who experienced the film in 1977 cannot re-live that experience the way people who experienced Psycho in 1960 can today. Yes, you can buy non-anamorphic DVDs preserving the originals, but younger generations, in large part, won't have that original experience. I understand now why people could say their childhood is ruined, though it is quite the exaggeration. I understand where they're coming from though. Their experience has now become distorted to younger generations.
Again, it seems to me Lucas can do as he pleases with his property, but perhaps it would be good to further consider the fans that were the catalyst for his success. Audiences forged a lasting emotional experience in seeing his picture, and now they feel that experience is lessened, after all, the film wasn't as it should've been. When watching that shootout between Han and Greedo with my cousins, I can only shake my head and say, "Hey, it didn't use to look so ridiculous," and Han Solo seemed much more like a John Wayne figure. Good and bad art communicates with people. Sometimes the experience is just as vital as the art itself. That scene with Greedo can now take people out of the experience. The folks who love Troll 2 watch it over and over again and share it with more and more people. People who love Star Wars can end up watch different versions over and over again. Are the emotional connections the same for someone who has seen Troll 2 fifty times and for someone who has seen different versions of Star Wars fifty times? Does whatever a person take from a movie constantly evolve? I guess I have no choice but to spend a week to continuously devour the three versions of Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" and report back...
It may just be me, but I'm endlessly fascinated between the artist and audience relationship. Is there not some compromise in the middle? If someone is going to pay to see a movie of mine, I want them to feel like they got their money's worth. I'd want to forge a connection with them, have them respond to the work, not let it simply be a way for them to escape earth for two hours. I want them to have the urge to see it again, or at least leave parts that nag at them. So many films are instantly forgettable, but try watching "Sunset Blvd." and see if that doesn't haunt you. I'm not one for idle conversation, so I'm probably more sensitive to visual communication, but isn't that the point of cinema?
(FTR: I do not really believe that Obi-Wan and Owen are brothers)