“….the purpose of the motion picture is the gradual revelation of the human genitalia…..” -Mamet
How long is Transformers (1 or 2 or 3) going to be someone’s favourite film? Five minutes? A few days? Some people forgot about it before the credits told us about the music used. That’s not to disparage Transformers, it does what it does – makes money. That’s all it does. We (and you pray all the people in charge) want more, always more. Stories that sing and soar, films that last forever. Story is fast becoming the preserve of playwrites, novelists and parents. Film (the parts that make money) has forgotten story, sometimes willingly, it simply feels it doesn’t need it anymore.
The executive thinks: Shall I wait for the epehemeral? The story my writer may or may not deliver? Or shall I pick something quantifiable?
For an executive can count explosions, car chases and tits but finds it trickier to assess emotional involvement and satisfying denouements.
This executive is smart but myopic. He may save his job that is always on a thread but he hammers one more nail into the story coffin and that creature has been sustaining humanity’s soul since it was born.
People no longer come out of the cinema asking whether “Anyone saw that coming?” they scream “Oh my God! Did you see what they did to the Golden Gate bridge?” They scream this because it is what they are being fed. Next week it will be the Hoover Dam or the Houses of Parliament and the previous landmark destroyed by dragons is forgotten. The parts of a film where story used to ply it’s trade are being squeezed and squeezed until you get two lines of exposition and five Fast and Furious films that ALL make money but can’t be distinguished between.
Stories don’t have to be labarynthine and shocking (Chinatown), explore the human condition through time (2001:A Space Odyssey), or just be about killing a shark (guess) but they have to be there or we might as well be watching coke commercials.
The Bicycle Thieves – a man tries to find his stolen bicycle. As simple a story as there ever has been but we are still watching. Every year. Hollywood lost it’s bike a while ago and it simply doesn’t care.