Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Movie Expectations

If you've seen or talked to me in the past week then my disdain for the new Indiana Jones movie is no secret. While I have a great analysis of the film after many conversations and debates, I'll spare you the essay. (Ask me in person or comment below if you'd care to hear/discuss.)

The question I almost always get asked when I dislike a movie is: what were you expecting? As if my standards are set to high or that I've become cynical and jaded. No, I WANTED to love this film as I go into EVERY film rooting for it, hoping it doesn't let me down. Nowadays, they rarely don't.

Was I expecting this film to be better than Raiders of the Lost Ark? Absolutely not. That movie is lightning in a bottle. But when a film is being developed for 19 years, has draft after draft of scripts written by industry heavyweights (Frank Darabont - Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Jeff Nathanson - Catch Me if You Can, David Koepp - Jurassic Park, Spider-Man 1 & 2), has hundreds of millions of dollars at it's disposal, and is a collaboration of the four BEST filmmakers (Spielberg, Lucas, Ford, and Williams) in all of the WORLD, I expect something great and I have every right to.

Have we become so barraged with crap that our expectations have plummeted? Have we become so used to flimsy and heartless stories with computer effects that we now applaud mediocrity? Should the slightly above average Iron Man be the new gold standard? Should we give Indy the thumbs up simply because "it was fun?" 19 years, millions of dollars, best of the business, and all they were able to provide was some fun for 120 minutes? Even my dog could accomplish the same feat. And while it may sound cliche, the ticket price of a movie has skyrocketed and the mild amusement aint worth it anymore. (Get those tickets back down to five bucks and you'll see expectations drop real quick.)

No, I believe films, filmmakers, and filmgoers need to set their sights a bit higher. Outrageous resources, large enough to change the course of small nations, are poured into these projects and people. To whom much is given, much is expected.

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