There is something uniquely engaging about grand blockbuster movies. They can be great transportation devices, greatly disappointing, or predictibly boring. There are though, other wonderful alteratives.
The other day, I watched a truly terrible movie. It wasn't that it had a poor budget, it wasn't that it had an unskilled cast, but it was still one of the most rubbish movies that I've seen in ages. I am, of course, talking about the $300 million Justice League.
Now, I'm aware of the production problems that caused a certain amount of complexity, but that just doesn't explain it all. If I'm honest, the total lack of merit to the movie has been bothering me a little.
I've seen one heck of a lot of movies in my time, from no-budget in obscure genres, to the kind you would expect. Some I certainly couldn't watch again, and some were also just as rubbish. So, what am I wittering on about then?
Well, given the resources at hand, I guess I was just a little shocked at the end result. I should say that I'm not a DC Comics kinda guy, although I will admit to queueing up to see the first Batman film, with Michael Keaton.
For me, it all comes down to story-telling and how effective you are at doing that. I may not agree with the story, I may not like the story, the story may be very abstract, I may not like the method of telling the story ... but there should still be a story.
When a movie-maker is telling a story, they do have a tricky task. That is one of pacing. The movie is 2 hours and 9 minutes long. It is the same length for everyone who watches it. They have the almost impossible task to trying to make it understandable for everyone, at a pace and speed that everyone can cope with and likes. Having a story that the audience wants to hear, you also need to tell it at a pace that they want to consume. Mix into that the requirements of the Studio, and all the other people have their fingers in the pie, and it really is a wonder that they ever work!
I'm currently writing a novel. It's in the thriller genre. I'm also thinking about writing a novel in the speculative fiction genre. The process of story telling is very much in the forefront of my mind.
I am using words to create a scene or to evoke an emotion; to tell a story. In once sense this is much like a movie-maker. They have to do the same thing, except for them the consumer gets to visually witness the scene. The latter is much easier to consume. You can see this in a very obvious way; people talk and chatter when watching a movie, people don't do the same when reading a book. The movie requires less brain power to enjoy, than the book.
I'm not saying that one is better than the other, I am just saying that they have a different set of problems to solve when telling the story.
There is one big different though, that for me makes the book a much richer experience. The book is a different length for each person.
Everyone is different, thank goodness, and our desired speed at consuming story-based entertainment is also different. The movie has a fixed speed at which it runs, and that is the same for each of those different people. The book can be read at your own speed; at your own leisure.
I'm not a fast reader at all, which is kind of strange, since I consider myself a fast writer. I don't know why this is, and it used to bother me a lot. Then I realised that it isn't a race. When you return a book back to the library, they don't ask how long it took you to read it, then add your timing to some giant universal ledger, which is then published in all the newspapers on a monthly basis. Nope, no one cares.
There is a book that I've read loads of times, it is called Eon by Greg Bear. It's Science Fiction, and there is something about that book that I just like. When I read it for the first time, there were parts of it that I just didn't understand. There were some technical aspects that were explained a little too fast. When I read it, there were some character names that I just couldn't quite pronounce correctly in my head. I both of those cases, I just read the passage again. Similarly if there was a paragraph that I thought was particularly good, then I would re-read it again.
You just can't do that with a movie, especially if you are watching it with others.
My point? With Movies, the pace is enforced. With Books the pace is personal.
In a wider sense, there are a lot of things in our lives where the pace is enforced onto us. The things where we can self-pace seem to be few and far between. The truth of it is, that some of the enforce pace is just down to convention and peer-pressure. There may not be any actual real reason for that particular pace.
We all aspire to have a better life-balance; it's not a straightforward task to find it. Perhaps though, taking a look at those enforced paced activities might help.
There is an enforced pressure in watching a movie, there is a self-regulated joy in reading a book. I'm happier being more like a book, and less like a movie.
There is a story about when I took this photo. There is a story about the time that has passed. There is a story about where that door goes to.
Blondie - Atomic. Recorded in 1979, both the tune and the video are memorable, and very much of their time. Only Debbie Harry could make a black plastic bag look chic.
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