Casual Magic

Life_In_The_Age_Of_Casual_Magic_article_story_largeDrew McWeeeny wonders if special effects have lost their specialness:

I believe that I have maintained an active sense of wonder as I’ve gotten older, and part of that is a choice I made long ago as a film fan. Every time I walk into the theater, I am rooting for the filmmaker. I want to start from the position of loving movies, not from a soured stance of demanding that each and every film dazzle me all over again. What gets me to turn on a movie is when I see someone who is given every resource they would ever need and then some, and they make something that doesn’t even try. That is infuriating. When I see studios play it safe, that is infuriating. When I see filmmakers who seem to have just given up and taken the path of least resistance, that is infuriating.

Because if we do live in an age of casual magic, then we should recognize this as a gift, not a curse. Instead of lamenting about how much has been done and retreating into endless imitation and repetition, how about we take this as a challenge to expand what we can imagine?

We don’t need to see anyone else tell us a Campbell-style hero’s journey story, and we don’t need more origin stories and we don’t need a prequel to every other film already in existence. We don’t. What we need are people who look at the tools available to them who say, “There are things we have never tried that we can finally try, and I want to be first.” We need filmmakers who take these tools and push them so far, who try such unexpected new things with them that they end up having to create new tools just to get there.

What he’s scratching at is that visual effects work is so easy to add to a movie that it has almost overwhelmed them — especially when it comes to summer blockbusters. The story serves the explosions not the other way around. To me, that’s why ‘Gravity’ and the recent ‘Captain American’ resonated so, because everything served the story.

Anyway, McWeeny really scratches at something that’s front of mind for a lot of movie goers these days — especially genre fans.

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