December 1991 was an interesting time for me. I was eight years old and my parents took my brother and I to see Hook, the latest Spielberg film about a grown up Peter Pan. I remember being upset because I couldn’t be a part of the story and I knew that I would have to grow up and never be a lost boy. I had no idea that I was about to obtain a disorder that wouldn’t be diagnosed until I reached my twenties.
Appropriately, this condition has been titled ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’. It’s common and harmless (unless your girlfriend or wife hates it when you quote Lord of the Rings during sex). Does this appreciation for fantasy explain my on-going desire to be a lost boy who lives in the trees? Are movies the reason I feel the way I do today? I’m finding the need to figure this out lately. Perhaps I am losing that good old feeling that movies used to give me. Am I stuck with The Wizard and Mac and Me forever? I hope not.
Stanley Kubrick once said, “Film is – or should be – more like music than fiction.”
If this is true, it would explain what you might have felt like when you saw the latest Transformers movie. It’s hard to believe that the films that are geared toward children and young adults these days are in any way equivalent to the films you would have grown up with in the 70’s or 80’s. E.T. didn’t need sexual content to sell at the box office. The Goonies didn’t need violence to be the most rented movie of 1985. Yet the films of today try to pack in as much sex and violence as possible before even considering the theme, which is usually the reason why the story evolved to screenplay in the first place. Aging causes this ambush on the imagination to be translucent.
It’s as if your childhood was nearly worry free; therefore, any good experiences at this time will result in an even more positive experience to the memory. As an adult, we have more worry and stress, which disables our ability to experience fictional adventure to its fullest. It’s kind of a shame. Even though most of us wanted to return toPandora, the six-year-olds were too young to witness it. Perhaps the audience is to blame for being too naïve and for not demanding more art and less filler. But let’s face it, the audience is naïve and we are all to blame for the ongoing feeding of this hungry, bad-movie-making-machine that still entertains us regularly.
Okay, that all sounds pretty harsh. Hollywood’s big time producers, among other independent film companies, still manage to produce quality pictures. Even though the main objective is to create a profit, it seems like the entertainment we receive in exchange for our dollars equals one positive experience. So, even if you thought that the movie you just saw was bad, your money wasn’t wasted; you just paid for the right to say it was terrible.
Good or bad, film is a powerful source for relating to our own and others’ lives. The Boy Who Could Fly was (critically) a terrible movie, but it will remain in my top ten forever. The light that shines in the memory of childhood will always be something to relive whenever possible. Life isn’t getting any easier, but escaping to other worlds is. The original stories combined with 3D, and the soon approaching 4D, will take us deeper into the abyss of Hollywood’s imagination. Is this bad? Of course not. We all need to leave reality for a least a couple of hours every once in a while.
The emotional connection to film varies so much that the good must come with the bad. When someone asks you what your favourite film genre is, don’t say everything but romance and horror. All genres are extremely powerful and at the same time will produce a pile of uselessness within them. And don’t be hating on blockbusters, man. How else will we get to Middle Earth?
The beauty of art is the journey it takes us on. Some of us just want to get to the point before we deserve to know what it is. If we can enjoy fiction through storytelling, without prejudgment, then we have taken a closer step to seeing things as a child – innocently, willingly, and openly. As much as film may stray from the idealistic view of what art should be, it still is, by description, art. Enjoy it – make fun of it – talk about it – but most importantly, create it.