Do people turn to escapism when things turn bad? It’s a bit of a legend that cinema boomed during the Great Depression. Proving that it was the escapism of cinema from the grimness of economic pain that caused the boom is somewhat difficult. After all in 1933 movie attendance in the US had fallen by 40 per cent from pre-Depression levels – they then cut prices of tickets and included gimmicks to get in the paying customers, so was it the films or was it the cheapness of the entertainment?
The decade also saw the full integration of sound, not to mention the arrival of great directors such as Frank Capra who knew how to grab an audience, and would have done so, Great Depression or no.
But all that aside, I think it is true that when things are a bit down in the world we do like to escape into fiction. And while a good novel is great, that two and a bit hours in the theatre is hard to beat for forgetting all else in your life (especially when the cricket is so bloody depressing for any Australian supporter – my tip follow the Redbacks in the Twenty20).
The movie I have been most looking forward to is still a couple months off, but yesterday its latest trailer was released.
Battle: Los Angeles is a film I’ve written about before – mostly because its teaser trailer was so magnificent. This second trailer is equally good – it gives some indication of the story, but not much in the way of spoilers and still uses the absolutely haunting song “The Sun’s Gone Dim and the Sky’s Black” by Johann Johannsson.
The film looks like a mix of Independence Day and Black Hawk Down. Lead actor Aaron Eckhardt has also mentioned that the actors who made up the Marines unit in the film did a boot camp as preparation – which is the usual thing done for serious war films like Black Hawk Down and Saving Private Ryan rather than for CGI laden sci-fi like Independence Day. So I remain hopeful that this will be something special.
But if you think that looks a bit too heavy, and you still want sci-fi, then I give you Cowboys and Aliens. Its got Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford and is directed by Jon Favreau (who has done the Iron Man films). And with a title like that it is either going to be really good, or really, really bad. (With luck so bad that it is good). It’s due out in July-August (not sure the precise date).
However when you really need to escape from reality, there is no organisation that does it better than Pixar. From Toy Story in 1995 to Toy Story 3 last year they consistently hit the mark (yeah I know many don’t like Cars, but my daughter loved it beyond words – I’m not so confident about Cars 2 though). This afternoon I thought of doing a ranking of all the Pixar films, but I quickly realised such a thing required a bit of thought, so I’ll leave that for next week (or later). In late December an excellent clip on YouTube was doing the rounds, so you have probably seen it, but if not here is the Beauty of Pixar – it is truly wonderful and it brilliantly takes you to other places in a way that cinema at its very best can do:
Have a great weekend.