Steven Spielberg is the McDonalds of the movie industry; rot-gut, fast food entertainment at its most saturated and over-processed. Spielberg movies are baked and boiled down to their bare essentials and marinated in fatty ego and Hollywood excess; they are then robbed of any vital nutrients, minerals or mental nourishment by being replaced with flash (CGI,) sizzle (sex,) and pizzazz (violence.) Like a hollow chocolate Easter bunny, Spielberg’s movies look delicious on the outside, but once the credits start to roll – you feel the familiar sting of falling for the Hollywood hype machine again.
Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve seen this brand new movie before? As in the pacing, structure and characters always seem to be vaguely familiar? It’s because you have seen this movie before. In fact, you’ve seen it many times before. The typical Hollywood script machine has big-budget films written down to the FUCKING page numbers; with a guaranteed formula that sort of works, almost 100% of the time.
Take for instance the typical villain in a film – why does he always have to do something bad the first time we see him? And by the end of the movie, why does the protagonist always have to learn a lesson about himself /overcome some kind of struggle (whether that be internal or external.) Sure, some of this “cycle-of-the-hero” structure is as old as Greek mythology; but that just highlights how lazy and unoriginal film making has gotten since the 80’s. And it was Steven Spielberg that created and exploited this billion dollar Hollywood formula almost completely on his own. There would be no Michael Bay excess, IMAX greed or reboots of remakes of prequels if it wasn’t for this “perfect storm” of movie studio blockbusters. The safety net is gone. Big film companies don’t want to risk financing a movie that could fail and instead chose to invest their millions into films that are carbon copies of earlier films with recycled parts from older scripts that were a success.
This typical Hollywood script formula has been perfected and reused countless times; starting with Jaws, E.T. and Indiana Jones. These “Summer Blockbusters” continue to this day with Spielberg produced franchise projects like Back to the Future, Men in Black and Transformers. Now we have a plethora of watered-down, PG-13, fun for kids/entertaining for adults, toy line ready, formulaic Frankenstein movies with a stranglehold on the market. GI Joe, the Amazing Spiderman, John Carter, Battleship, Prince of Persia, Pirates of the Caribbean. All of these movies want to grow up to be like Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, which is like saying you want to grow up to be Ryan Seacrest; boring, androgynous and whatever the movie studio owners want you to be.
Whatever happened to taking a risk? To trying something that might fail? Whatever happened to creating something simply for the fact of expression - instead of expecting financial and critical acclaim? I get the movie business is a business that operates for profit – but you know what would make even MORE money than rehashing the same tired movie formulas over and over again? Creating something genuinely original. Merging our technological advances with CGI and storytelling to pave a brave new world in the movie industry. Spielberg redefined the art of film making at the beginning of his career – but he’s since gotten sloppy and complacent. (Much like his counterpart George Lucas, who hated the establishment and the big studio attitude of Hollywood in the 70’s – only to become that very thing he hated after his success with Star Wars.) Let’s not reward studio executives with our money when they refuse to create original content. As a collective, if we continue to support lazy film making than this will be the standard by which Hollywood gauges success; box office returns as opposed to artistic merit.
Now I’m not suggesting that we take to the streets and burn our collective DVD copies of “Hook” or “Minority Report” – but just be aware of what you’re putting into your system. All those mindless hours of brain-rot entertainment are like empty calories stored right to your gut. There’s a price to be paid for not exercising good decisions and we allow and condone the movie industry to continually expand and bloat financially when we support shitty films. America, we’re better than this.