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Home > Blog > What's Really Behind the Mega-Slump
Out of Our Minds
Tuesday, July 12, 2005 11:28 AM
What's Really Behind the Mega-Slump
Anita Sharpe on Business

Guess what movie my 13-year-old son liked better than War of the Worlds, Batman Begins and the Interpreter?

March of the Penguins -- the critically heralded documentary about, yes, penguins. It isn't animated, there are no car chases, explosions or spiffy special effects (although there is a penguin sex scene, of sorts). But it had everything a good movie should: tension, drama, humor and great cinematography. We saw it last weekend and the theater was virtually sold out. The audience even applauded at the end -- (when is the last time you saw that happen?)

So when I read stories about the ailing movie business (the longest box-office slump in 25 years), it doesn't surprise me one bit. I'm a huge Steven Spielberg fan, but I found the last hour of War of the Worlds painful to sit through.

Movie-goes want a better product or we will go do something else -- and that something else apparently isn't, despite studio claims, staying home and watching DVDs. Both DreamWorks Animation and Pixar have cut earnings forecasts because of disappointing DVD sales. I smell opportunity for enterprising independents.

1 comment

Jerome R - 7/13/2005 7:00:57 PM
I've been staying away from Hollywood movies because I don't get value for my money.

I went to see what I thought was a classic summer block-buster movie, that Cruise vehicle, War Of The Worlds. A bit of fun, right? Well, it wasn't fun; it was endlessly stressful. The protagonists were powerless against the invaders, just like in the book. Come to think of it, I should have known -- I read the book when I was a kid.

War of the Worlds is not fun. It's a Whole Lot Of Death. This is not suitable viewing for kids. People get turned to ash left, right, and centre, or squeezed like blood oranges in a juicer. There are mob scenes where people shoot each other in order to get access to resources. And the adult (i.e. Tom) does little to reassure the kids. Tom's character Ray is -- rather realistically -- completely lost and overwhelmed. At one point he has to go murder someone. It's a conscious decisions he has to make in order for him and his daughter to survive. This is not fare for kids.

This movie was not fun; it reminds me of the WWII movies (true horror) that my parents dragged me to as a teenager, in an attempt to teach me the 'Never Again' lesson that's so important to WWII survivers. No, this is not what I want from a 'summer blockbuster movie' -- though it was promoted to be a film of this genre.

Also typical of Hollywood are the actors who Can't Act, the fact that -- during the movie -- you can't help but think of the actors' appearances on Oprah, and let's not forget the unrealistic plot twists. In War of the Worlds, for example, I'd call the Surely Dead son who turns up Miraculously Alive at the end 'typical Hollywood (plot) manipulation.'

Ah. I should have known. I don't think I've gotten value for my movie dollar from a Hollywood movie since Thelma & Louise.


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