The review is dead...Move on now. Don't crowd around, move back sir! That's right, you step back please. Yes, it's dead. Ought to be taking you into custody too really. You, and you, and you there. But we all did it. So who will fling pebbles at the tinsel?
That's right - we killed the movie review. The Radio Star sympathised. It wasn't the Year of the Blog, it was the year of pre-emptive publishing and incontinent interpretations. Wielding which, we nailed it right through the middle.
We learned to write, some in KG, some earlier and some later. Writing was a chore for most of us. But we liked to think. And we liked to watch movies. Then we liked to think about the movies we had watched. Last year, all of us discovered we also liked to write about movies that we liked to think about. Evoking "flood" metaphors wouldn't be appropriate at this time, but words swirled around in overwhelming quantities in a delusive deluge.
The hubbub became a disconcerting bourse-like rabble: what my "cool-tech-lingo" friends would describe as an alarming increase in the S/N ratio. I wanted you to know what I thought of yesterday's film (and day-after's as well). I wanted everyone else to know that as well. You wanted the same too. Together we were all happy - and the disk blocks in unnamed server farms somewhere on this Earth got really busy.
Add to this the tendency of film correspondents of commercial websites to be invited to pre-premieres who would then rush to core-dump their "thoughts" via the nearest available Word instance. Unless if they were beaten by me who saw the same film a week earlier at a film festival. But being professionals, they had to watch & digest Thanksgiving offerings of Shaadi Ka Laddoo as well.
Many reviews were motivated by youthful indignation at injustices done elsewhere. "The slowly sinking branch was not a wasted motif; instead it was an allusion to the frailty of life itself with the river being representative of the wetness of the world" and so on. I cannot believe I wrote a 2500 word Master's thesis on the film "Yuva", which all said and done, was a film! When the story of my life is force fed to juvenile delinquents in the year 2090, the ability to faithfully reproduce those golden words will be their ticket to parole.
From hype to hyperbole, it was a short distance. Our opinions fumigated through the smogosphere and created a combination of heady expectations while paralysing the mind into composing real-time reviews in the darkness of the theatre. Result: we sought yetis while we saw pandas instead. They were cute but cliched and definitely not as abominably alluring as the Snowman.
So guys, the reviews these days tell us the story and what was apallingly wrong with the execution. Proceeding thus in in their own Chinese mutational styles, they made it hard to believe that they're all about the same exposed reels. Picture-perfect pandemonium. We're all cooking from the same recipe, but the broths are all so many and tastt so different.
Watching movies in 2004 was a scary experience. I watched 80 films (down from 117 the previous year) and was I a jinx! Every newly released film that appealed to me immediately hit the iceberg and headed for Davy Jones' locker (and I didn't even like "The Titanic" that much). This year I'm inviting producers to pay me off to not watch their offerings. Year-end analysis after "told-you-so" analysis from trade analysts told MR-VB-FA-RK-SA-SR-AG to stop being so shy and to explode into skin-coloured Technicolor like the successful rest.
Which is where I got a chance to protest. Hey! I wasn't sleeping through those films. I enjoyed them and didn't mind paying for them. My friends liked some of them too. Fine if you want to get off the fence and go pop (like the weasel) uninhibitedly, but don't stop making stuff for us. Maybe I'm not from the "masses" so I must be from the chattering class of '04. Perhaps I didn't write to convince, but to justify. I wonder if you guys showed them a boring version and showed me the cool one. For I didn't get those guys and neither did they return the condiments.
Fat chance that you'd have read my lyrical odes among all the doggerel and felt good about them. So good that you'd want to sink the equivalent of the GDP of Bhutan into another black-ball-hole just to earn our limited praise and the collective denunciations of the rest.
Amidst all the foggy expanse of the exploding world of blogs, tune into us to hear sympathetic strains. We're putting out all the signals in a noisy (and just got noisier *now*) world. Perhaps only the web-arachnids are consuming them. But I have the satisfaction of having aimed the antenna high.
(This post is about 800 words, I think. Enough for a short note for the future deli-juves.)
The movie review is dead. Long live the movie review.