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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Globalization of Movies -- Where'd the Story Go?

   
Author Topic: Globalization of Movies -- Where'd the Story Go?
Aros
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In the 80's, the blockbuster was born. Plots became streamlined and special effects became king. Though there were still some holdouts. The Goonies could have been made on a shoestring -- it was held together by rich narrative and acting. Back to the Future had some big set pieces, but they all served the story. Good times.

Nowadays, ,ost new big studio movies seem to have very little plot. Man of Steel, for instance, ends with a near 40 minute action sequence. I liked the movie, but it was only about one hour of interesting plot.

So, there's been a lot of complaining about movies lately -- Man of Steel, Into Darkness, Iron Man 3. Too much action. Stupid plot. Poor or racially insensitive casting.

I was under the impression that a lot of it was the director. New fancy special effects? Load 'em up. Hot British actors? Yes, please. Is this just a fad? Kids with toys? I don't think so.

So sue me if I don't post a bibliography, but I've read a few articles that seem to explain the trend.
- Into Darkness eschewed a darker skinned villain, choosing Benedict Cumberbatch because he's well known in Europe. Star Trek does poorly (traditionally) overseas, and some of the casting was a ploy to increase Euro-centric revenue.
- A few articles note that action scenes have increased in movies like Man of Steel because it is in high demand in Asia -- particularly China. Without a heavy action slant, movies under-perform. And China is one of the biggest markets for US movies nowadays.
- Might it be said that Iron Man 3 fell into both of these traps?

I can't help but think that a whole lot of these movies was edited out or left on the cutting room floor. Movies like Prometheus are reduced to a non-nonsensical mess because of editing decisions. Other movies become little more than tech demos of the latest special effects.

By all reports, foreign sales of Hollywood blockbusters are WAY UP. They make much more money internationally than domestically. So we see heavy action, foreign (especially British) actors in everything and easy to follow plots (or lack thereof). Spiderman is British, Superman is British, Batman is British, Thor is Australian, Wolverine is Australian, etc. All of our heroes are foreigners.

If this is the case, if the industry is just adapting to globalization, it's only going to get worse. At least American television is reaching a golden age by focusing on plot . . . but is this just temporary? Will we get to the point where all big budget media has to focus on global appeal? Or will we realize that a strong plot is the only real way to energize a sluggish market (Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Doctor Who, etc).

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umberhulk
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The blockbuster was born in the 70s.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Captain America is Canadian!
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Stone_Wolf_
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And Green Lantern!
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Obama
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Strong plots and characterization will primarily be the realm of television from here on out. Thirteen to twenty hours of programming gives the cable dramas the needed space and breathing room to do characterization and plot easily and well. The recent success of them means that the TV companies are now willing to go along with that kind of idea.

There's plenty of Indie crap that gets trotted out by the hippies every year. I'm sure you can find something more to your liking in that dungheap.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Oh no! I posted in an Aros thread. [Angst]
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capaxinfiniti
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quote:
Originally posted by Obama:
There's plenty of Indie crap that gets trotted out by the hippies every year. I'm sure you can find something more to your liking in that dungheap.

What do you consider "indie crap"?
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Obama
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Oh, I suppose you could call it a dungheap with a few small diamonds hidden in it.

I just mean smaller indie movies in general. The type of stuff that comes out of Sundance, or self financing.

For every Kevin Smith and Clerks, there are dozens if not hundreds of that one guy who you don't know and whose movie you haven't seen because it sucked ass and no one liked it or talked about it.

The tone in here is along the lines of how movies were great when they featured much heavier plot and characterization. But yeah, no, the turd ratio was the same then as it is for today's movies. And the ratio in the indie films is likely even worse.

Movies are made for fun action flicks, comedies, and self-contained sci-fi and fantasy. If you're looking for heavier stuff, resign yourself to most of the time getting that from cable drama stations from now on. It's a hell of a lot harder to skillfully pack dense characterization and plot into a two hour movie then it is an 18 hour television season. Paid cable is the only place where drama can be done realistically, with all of the sex, drugs, and violence that that may involve. Now they've realized the public's hunger for such things, and the money to be made, they'll continue doing what they're doing.

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Lyrhawn
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I just read an article the other day that said British people, while they love Cumberbatch, are sick of being the villains in American movies. So that's a bit of a mixed bag.

The Chinese are exercising more clout than anyone. Chinese actors are being put in more Hollywood movies, and special cut scenes with Chinese actors are being filmed. Also, the Chinese can never be portrayed as bad guys. Red Dawn and World War Z had their plots altered specifically to cater to the Chinese.

They have more influence over Hollywood than any other international audience.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Into Darkness eschewed a darker skinned villain, choosing Benedict Cumberbatch because he's well known in Europe.
This isn't true at all. Like do you get this from some source in particular, or are you making it all up as a pet theory? Benedict was slotted in as a replacement because he was on a short list of available actors who could play a cold and calculating lead villain, after their original casting choice fell through. It wasn't a calculated national casting to pull in an international audience. If it was, it would be a lame calculated casting, since the brits are fairly tired of villain casting in american movies.
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Lyrhawn
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Yeah, it's pretty well known that the first choice wasn't Cumberbatch, it was Benicio del Toro.
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Sa'eed
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The problem with globalization is that Hollywood is as concerned about the foreign box office as it is about the one in English speaking countries, which affects the writing and language used in many Hollywood films. The language of movies is deliberately dumped down and the length of dialogues shortened because people in non-English speaking countries also, by and large, hate reading subtitles.
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Lyrhawn
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Fact of the matter is, Hollywood by and large only makes one or two kind of movies these days: Action movies based on sequels, remakes or book adaptations, and comedies. Studios reserve a tiny amount of money for independent ideas, new stuff, longshots, but more and more we're headed in that direction, regardless of what the international or domestic crowd wants. They want sure things only.

That only leaves a certain amount of wriggle room for other influences.

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Wingracer
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There are alternatives. I too generally hate subtitles and art-house foreign films (but absolutely love Miyazaki)but having exhausted just about everything Hollywood had to offer, I started checking out some foreign films. You know what I found? Some of the best films I have ever seen. South Korea in particular has some truly great films. Oldboy and Castaway on the Moon are as good as they get.
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Foust
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quote:
Originally posted by Wingracer:
There are alternatives. I too generally hate subtitles and art-house foreign films (but absolutely love Miyazaki)but having exhausted just about everything Hollywood had to offer, I started checking out some foreign films. You know what I found? Some of the best films I have ever seen. South Korea in particular has some truly great films. Oldboy and Castaway on the Moon are as good as they get.

Now you're ready for I Saw the Devil, A Bittersweet Life and Housemaid.
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Obama
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I saw Housemaid on Netflix and checked it out.

Film was more comedic then anything else.

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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
quote:
Originally posted by Wingracer:
There are alternatives. I too generally hate subtitles and art-house foreign films (but absolutely love Miyazaki)but having exhausted just about everything Hollywood had to offer, I started checking out some foreign films. You know what I found? Some of the best films I have ever seen. South Korea in particular has some truly great films. Oldboy and Castaway on the Moon are as good as they get.

Now you're ready for I Saw the Devil, A Bittersweet Life and Housemaid.
The first two are on my list and will be watching them soon as well as the rest of the vengeance trilogy and several other promising Korean titles. Already watched some others like My Sassy Girl and The Good, The Bad and the Weird. Haven't heard of Housemaid, I'll check it out.
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Wingracer
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And on another note, I'm curios about this Spike Lee remake of Oldboy. Part of me thinks he's going to do a typical Hollywood hatchet job on it but the more I think about it the more I think if anyone other than Tarantino could do it justice, it might (and I stress the word MIGHT) be Spike Lee.
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