Friday, September 26, 2014

Movie Posters and the Death of the American Writer

Recently, I bought my father (Hey, mom!  Tell Dad I'm talking about him.  On my BLOG!) a copy of the Ender's Game movie.  My father is a big Orson Scott Card fan: read everything Card ever wrote, even written articles about him.  The movie was an essential part of his collection.  However, when the movie arrived, it had this cover:

I was a bit shocked.  The first poster, showing a kid preparing for combat, is a gripping image that gives you a great sense of what the movie is about.  The second poster shows you who acts in it and...

Well, that's about it.  I guess it looks kinda science-fictiony, but all you're getting out of the poster is an airbrusher's wet dream of a movie.  I can't  believe anyone would want to go see a movie with that poster.

And yet...

Pretty much every movie does the same thing.  I did a quick image search on "movie poster" and my first result was:

"Hey, look how many people we could fit into this poster!"  Some day we'll get something like:

There must be a huge amount of research behind the design of these posters.  I'm guessing it says the only thing movie viewers care about is who is in the film.  As a prospective screenwriter, I find that reality a bit depressing.  What kind of movies are we going to get if the only important aspect of filmmaking is who you hire to play the leads?

Actually, I know the answer to that.  We'll get movies like Upside Down.
Hey, only two people in this movie!
I just saw Upside Down.  It's two worlds linked together and reverse.  It's a beautiful film.  The concept is interesting.  The writing is absolutely terrible. 

Literally, the movie would be improved if you turned off the sound.  About 90% of the dialogue is people either baldly stating obvious feelings (she holds him over a drop and he says "Don't drop me!" three times before he falls.) or baldly stating obvious facts (She's forgotten him after a head injury and tells him "I have amnesia.  I don't remember anything.").

Welcome to the future of film.  On the down side, movies are all going to be about beautiful people saying idiotic things.  On the up side, more Kirsten Dunst.

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