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Couldn't agree more. I think that, as with all things in life, you've got to hold things in tension. In this case, it's the story vs the storytelling.

If you just have the story with no storytelling, you risk boring your viewers (hence the reason that most of the long walking stretches were edited out of the film version of LOTR).

On the other hand, if you have all storytelling with no story, you get another action-packed film that no one will remember.

Directors, writers, producers all have to find a way to hold these in tension, to find the happy medium. The sweet spot.

Of course, it often all comes back to the story (and the characters) and that's not a slick reference to your event.

What studio over the last 15 years has created some of the most compelling movies in cinema thanks in part to characters we care about and great stories?


Explosions and special effects are easily forgotten. Authentic, real stories with depth and well-developed characters have staying power. Two recent films come to mind: True Grit and Gran Torino

Very interesting thoughts.
Makes me think of Joseph Pine's TED talk on what consumers want.
People want FAKE.
"we Americans" like our Disneyland fantasies....our false realities.
But the degree of authenticity in the storytelling is lacking more and more, and the artistic public is getting smarter.

I would submit to you that digital overkill has also ruined our worship...and our churches. Afterall, it's the ultimate story, but we have turned our Sunday mornings into an amusement ride. and yet we still should strive to tell the story of the unseen. How can we do that without a "sonic blaster?"
or am I on crack this morning?

yea, right on about super 8. the first half was great, the second half felt like the director needed some ritalin.

Yeah, but the problem with "Super8" was not JJ Abrams or Steven Spielberg. The original idea for that movie was based on the story of the kids making Super 8 movies. The studio wouldn't cater to that movie alone, so JJ had to mix a second movie he had been working on into the mix.
Despite those challenges he still managed one of the best movies of the summer.

I wouldn't count Jon Favreau out yet...I mean where would we be if Star Wars had less blasters in it! :D

Great comment Stephen!

in the game of 'suspension of belief' there are conscious-written rules that govern how many 'unbelievable' elements can be embraced by a movie-going audience before it becomes cheesy... or 'unbelievable.'

in 'Cowboys and Aliens' i already don't believe in aliens, but i can embrace them for a film. i WANT to embrace them for a film. But i don't believe (and don't want to believe) that cowboys use sonic blasters.

agreed. saw several previews last night and thought the same.

I wrote my review of Cowboys and Aliens on my blog today. I appreciate your opinion (even mentioned it in my review) but I had a totally different opinion of the movie.

I love John Favreau, and I have to admit that after watching the trailer for 'Cowboys & Aliens,' I was surprised to see his name on the credits as the director. I still want to give the movie a shot, but I'm not expecting anything too amazing. I totally agree with you—digital overkill has turned some films that could have been amazing into…well…less-than-amazing flicks. (The more recent 'Star Wars' franchises come to mind.) Thanks for sharing your take on the issue!

In the old days, everything was filmed in analog and broadcast in analog. Going to the movies was a totally different experience. Now, it's all digital. TV, music, and photography have also been turned totally digital. There's a night and day difference between digital and analog. A lot of people like the old analog a lot better. Can't say I blame them.

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