Friday, March 29, 2013

The Biggest Problem I Have With Today's Movies by Jonathan Russell

Oz the Great and Powerful....

There are a lot of things I like about this movie. Sadly, the movie amasses more of my hatred than it does my affection.

I will say that everything looked amazing. Hollywood producers are obviously very experienced with hiring talented special effects artists. Nevertheless, that should not be an excuse to shell out a horrible film. Oz falls into a category of movies fashioned by the digital effects phenomena that has seemingly been the main focus of mainstream movie makers. Alice in Wonderland, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Tron, etcetera; these movies are all visually stunning, thanks to the miracles of modern technology. But this newly gained power seems to be a crutch for most writers and directors. All of the aforementioned films have two things in common: they’re pictorially riveting, gorgeous examples of computer science in cinema. Also, they are all terrible movies; shoddy writing, rotten plots, and performances that make Will Shatner say “KHAAAAAAAAN”. Therefore, I am disappointed to relay to you that Oz the Great and Powerful, for me at least, falls into that category.

Let’s look at Tim Burton, for example. All of his movies are beautifully haunting. His newest tribute to Johnny Depp is a testimony to that. Dark Shadows was stunning when it comes to costume-work, set design, and production value. Even when it came to animating a teenage werewolf, the movie succeeded. The graphics were brilliant. Sadly, all of these elements were thrown together in order to dress-up an otherwise terrible script. That’s an awful way to make a movie. That’s like taking an extremely dry, nasty cake, and coating it with the most luscious frosting you’ve ever tasted. What an utter waste of frosting! You could be the most gorgeous person on earth, but if your spine is made of jelly, you won’t be able to stand up. Herein lies the problem with most of Burton’s pictures. Alice in Wonderland was an exquisite imagining of Lewis Carroll’s book. But the story was contrived and messy, whilst the characters were lacking.
But it’s not just Burton. Michael Bay’s films are even worse, and his special effects, even better. Zack Snyder, Stephen Sommers (Except for the Mummy series. The first two were awesome.), and Gore Verbinski can all be called guilty of this heinous crime. It seems that the better the special effects, the worse the movie.

Some call them the Unwatchables. But no matter what you call them, everyone knows their origins. The Unwatchables is a category of movie created in 1977, by a notorious movie-criminal by the name of Lucas... George Lucas. *dramatic music* This soulless, merciless puppeteer intentionally, and with malice of forethought, created the world’s most unjustifiably famous movie franchise. With only money on his mind, he threw a script together in under 10 minutes, and pitched it to any production company who would give him a minute of their time. His hatred for practical effects is a disgusting example of everything that is wrong with this country and this business.

Graciously, Hollywood has given us one large exception to the rule: Christopher Nolan. His phenomenal directing is thankfully parallel with the quality of his effects. Not only was Inception one of the best movies of its year, it was arguably THE most graphically stunning. And then we have the Batman films, which belong in a category entirely on their own. I cannot think of another series that has been so consistently good. Their only flaw is that there are only three of them!

So Tim Burton, stick to production design, and leave the directing to the proffesionals. As for you Michael Bay, the Wendy's by my house just put out a hiring sign!


  1. I was with you until the dig at Zack Snyder and Gore Verbinski who (with the exception of Pirates and Lone Ranger) are two of my favorite directors.

    Also, are you saying The Empire Strikes Back is anything but a masterpiece of cinema? If you are I don't think we can be friends.

  2. I agree with everything that you said, with the exception of one thing. I'm in agreement with Josh when he said that the Empire Strikes Back is a masterpiece. I absolutely loved all of the Star Wars movies even though graphically they weren't very strong until Lucas started making Episodes 1-3.