Short Thoughts on the Most Recent End of American Cinema

Posted: June 23, 2013 in but whatever

Suppose Foucault and similar critical theorists are correct, and we are controlled and directed by repeated discourses. Suppose that the repeated phrasings of political leaders create new realities.* ** Is it so far-fetched to believe that World War Z contributes to a kind of discourse which will make apocalypse inevitable?

The most recent decline of the big budget film may be traced to the mid-90s schlock Independence Day, in which a president of the United States, a fresh prince, and a drunk saved the world from brainless predatory aliens who vaporized cities.*** To survive, it was clear that no one must think. Random mass death and special effects became the primary concern. Star Trek: Into Darkness confirms that major sci-fi has been irrevocably divorced from thought. Where The Wrath of Khan featured obsession and calculation and several tangled webs of human relation, Into Darkness features mindless CGI fights that are impossible for the human mind to follow.

The fight scenes of just about all contemporary films, and not just sci-fi flicks, seem impossible to follow. I was first lost in The Bourne Ultimatum, when Bourne fought this Algerian guy in a fast-forward sequence that would have been comedic twenty years ago, but was made seriously now. This is done, I think, in the interest of realism. It is hard enough to understand the impulse to the drudgery of pure replication in any medium. It’s much harder l to understand when attempt to replicate the fighting ability of engineered super-soldiers. We despair of reason altogether when you attempt to replicate real life action when you’re shooting on blue screens with thousands of digitally projected laser beams and zombies.

I recommend slowness.

*”Weapons of mass destruction,” etc.

**The latter may be an easier-to-understand rephrasing of the former supposition.

***It was also the beginning of dumb ass propagandistic movies in which American presidents are not soft-handed liars, but action heroes. The most recent iteration of this here phenomenon seems to involve Jamie Foxx.

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