Sunday 5 January 2014

 Enough with the "Found Footage" genre already, PLEASE!!

Seriously, the found footage genre is not good film making.  It is just plain lazy. And no, just because something took a lot of effort in the editing room, does not mean it is a work of art! POV = POS.

 It started with reality television. Sky rocketed following The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield.

Never have I felt so ripped off on buying a movie than when I had to endure over an hour of disjointed drivel that was critically acclaimed than when I bought VHS & VHS2.

Some movies incorporate the POV format with varying degrees of success. REC sort of works since it is both reasonably well made and has some semblance of a plot, even if it feels like yet another remake of George A. Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead.

But making an entire film based on some flimsy premise of recovered footage is a form of neuron genocide!

Hour after mind-numbing hour of image bounce, out of focus shots and static. Really?!?!?!   It may be a valid technique and even a valid niche genre, but only to enhance a real storyline. It worked in Doom (the movie), largely because that was what people wanted, but it did not consume the whole 100 minutes!

We know when the studios have lost any ideas for good new story or character driven films when we see Greek and other ancient civilization stories trotted out for their billionth remake!

Hopefully box office returns for this tripe will start to dwindle and movie makers will rediscover the use of story and character. I'm not going to hold my breath for that. Based on fact that the apparent intelligence level of the average person is dropping steadily, I fully expect to see a remake of Dumb and Dumber appearing some time soon in some lauded film festival as being "a unique perspective piece" on 1990s film making.

And folks, cinema goers and movie collectors aren't fooled for a second when you just transplant Hamlet, Othello or a piece of The Odyssey into outer space or somewhere in some backwater full of in-bred red necks or mutants. If you're going to do that, at least attribute it and add something to give it some weight.

Think about it.  When was the last time you saw a movie that had ;

  • A plot
  • Characters with some depth
  • Was either truly escapist fun, or engrossing

Now think. Was that last time a movie that was 99% "found footage" ?  Or was it something more like Beautiful Creatures, Oblivion, Pacific Rim, Mortal Instruments, Total Recall or Anna Karenina ?

Nobody wants or expects movies to be intellectually challenging all the time. Even the smartest people like something that just raises their spirits from time to time. Hugo or Les Miserables may have both been somewhat more cerebral than Drive Angry or Season of the Witch, and none of them has the depth of something like Lord of The Rings or Alice In Wonderland. But they all manage to be entertaining without dumbing everything down or resorting to that woebegotten gimmick of "3D".

On an entertainment value, Inception and Shrek can be disturbingly placed on an equal footing with movies of generations past like Casablanca or Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Will people remember films like Paranormal Activity in the same league ?

Let us be honest here. The "found footage" genre is a fad.  Why?  It is simple; they are barely watchable the first time around, forget about rewatchability, it isn't there.  Once you know that the creature is not real and is going to jump out at specific points in the film, the suspense is gone and the way the film is made makes the whole experience just annoying.  And before you ask, no I am not some critic who feels that every move that depends on suspense is unrewatchable, no, I've watched Casablanca, Psycho and many other movies countless times for the sheer enjoyment of the immersion in the story, the characters and the art of the actors and directors who brought those movies to life.

A footnote should be made that a few of these "found footage" films do work, but when you read who the directors, writers and producers were, you realise that there is some real talent behind the scenes injecting some sanity into the process ; eg: a couple of the stories in VHS2 and REC.

So, Hollyweird, please ditch this irritating and braincell killing stupidity off and get back to making movies with some real depth.