Commentary – Films need to drop the politics

Gord Fortin

There is a problem in arts and entertainment today that needs to be addressed because it is getting pretty ridiculous. I remember a time when you could go to the cinema or watch a program on T.V. and experience quality writing, relatable characters, logical themes and either no or little political messages. If politics were involved, the writing at least camouflaged it.

That is not the case today and it makes consuming entertainment almost unbearable. Writers don’t even bother to try to mask their political messages and instead beat the viewer over the head with them. If there is any shielding of the political message it doesn’t come from creative writing. It usually comes from flashy special effects done on computers. There are times I feel like Hollywood is aiming a laser pointer at the ground and expecting me to chase it like a cat.

Characters today are barely developed, which prevents an audience from caring about them. The writing barely follows any logical structure and originality is gone. Characters make choices that make no sense at all. The narrative make even less sense. On top of that everything is either a sequel, a remake or an idea that has been done to death before.

The most recent example of this is the Star Wars The Last Jedi. The movie epitomizes everything I just described. The movie clearly has a political agenda that beats the viewer over the head, the plot made very little logical sense when taking the previous eight movies into consideration, the characters are poorly developed and to top it off the flaws are masked by having a lot of things explode with flashy special effects. Not to mention it is a sequel.

This is not to say the movie wasn’t entertaining. It was, there was just no quality in the work. I think we’ve had enough movies that beat us over the head with their politics. It is time to go back to just telling stories.

Has nobody in the film industry learned anything from the Ghostbusters remake? It certainly doesn’t appear so. Remember what Albert Einstein said about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This doesn’t mean everything needs to be a social commentary that makes us rethink how we live our lives. We do need mindless entertainment to help us escape our realities for a period of time. Comedies and action movies are great examples of this.

I don’t go to the cinema to see a film similar to The Last Jedi to get lectured about income inequality, illegal arms trade, animal cruelty or the roles of men and women in society. If I wanted that I could have easily found that material online. I go to see a Star Wars movie to see someone struggling with the good and evil inside them. I go to see characters make choices that either make the light inside them shine or make them fall to the dark. Personally I feel insulted by the current state of entertainment media and I am shocked that more people don’t feel the same way. I am equally shocked that we as consumers are not asking for better quality entertainment at the cinema. This is especially true considering how much it can cost to see a film once you factor in a visit to the concession stand.

The amount of times I have immediately regretted going to the cinema in the past three years is unprecedented for me. I used to be excited about seeing the films I wanted to see. Now I go in guarded because the risk of being let down or insulted is above 50 per cent. All I know is I am sick and tired of having my intelligence insulted, being told what to believe or feeling like someone is jingling a set of keys in front of my face thinking it would be enough to entertain me.

Where has the quality gone?

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