I really, really love movies. I'm not necessarily an avid observer of the classics, I haven't seen everything on the IMDB top 100 list, and zombies will always scare the bajeezus out of me. The reason I love to watch films, sometimes repeatedly, is for the story. I read a study on the relevance of stories when it comes to the morals of a society, researching the importance of stories being passed down from generation to generation. You tell stories to children to keep them safe, and the use of metaphors when trying to drive a point home adds an extra layer of unrelated context that fits perfectly with the situation. Whilst stories update to fit the times, the underlying messages often stay the same. If you do bad, you'll suffer. Careless actions will often cause harm to those around you. True happiness creates happiness.. The list goes on.
Whilst films will never be a substitute for books (you shouldn't just feed your imagination with preprocessed stuff, you should challenge it to create) films still carry across those basic morals of story telling just as well as books do. They're the modern day travelling troupe, carrying the tales of history forward, to tell the next generation of the lessons already learnt.
One of the things that got me into being a bit more critical of the ideas portrayed in film and television was a visit to see the nutcracker one christmas, and these guys (If you're reading this article, and don't have about 3 hours spare, don't click that link. Pure unadulterated genius). Whilst the writers at cracked.com do take the subtext of the subtext of film and television and give it a DEFCON1 level of serious consideration in their diner discussions, they got me thinking about the difference between films that are easy viewing, and the films that would actually be good for my psyche. As for the Nutcracker, for anyone who hasn't been to see it (or went and still didn't have a clue what happened) check out the synopsis on wiki. What struck me about the version I saw at the London Colosseum, was whilst the hero had several bells of christmas pudding knocked out of him, our heroine stood whimpering, doing precisely nothing about it.
With this in mind, and considering the detrimentally damaging explosion of Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey, I think it's now doubly important to really study the themes being fed to people, and particularly young girls, through the mode of film.
In the next blog post, I'm going to have done some serious film/tv research (woe is me), looking for films at the extremes of both ends of the spectrum. I'll put together a list of reviews, specifically studying the criteria of what that film teaches the viewer.
Until next time!