Wk5M1 Hollywood & TV

Hollywood has developed many techniques to pull in audiences, despite the draw of TV, cable and video games, here are two examples:

East of Eden, Elia Kazan, 1955

300, Zack Snyder, 2007

Today’s discussion is brought to you by Group 7: Evan Halleck & Savannah Steiner

35 thoughts on “Wk5M1 Hollywood & TV

  1. Evan Halleck

    Hello Everyone!
    Hollywood has always have had techniques of drawing people to see them such as 3d movies, imax, remastered versions,new types of Dolby Digital sound, and reboots of previous classics.

    Of these listed which has added to your experience of being at the movies and why? Which ones stray you away from being engaged in the film? Do you completely avoid some of these and why?
    Do you think that movie companies should keep researching and trying out new tactics of trying to get people to go to the movies or should they spend their times emphasizing on quality of films more?

    300 I think is a perfect example of this. With styalized cinema at an all time high right now Zack Snyder decided to make a hyper stylized hyper violent effects driven film about soldiers in Sparta. Despite the fact this strategy worked at the box office and film making tons of money would you rather have seen the film made like a “normal” movie?

    1. Nick Neal

      I used to hate 3d because it used to seem like it muted the color and the stabbing at the audience seemed too gimicky. However I think it’s gotten better. For example I think that 3D enhanced the experience of Harry Potter and the deathly hollows (though some disagree) and Avatar. If it’s necessary to keep theaters afloat in the age of Netflix and big screen T.V.s, so be it.

    2. Shenese Doll

      I have recently just began to enjoy 3D movies. I have only enjoyed the animated movies that are in 3D. Like The Lorax and the recent Monster’s University. I do not entirely like other films, because I feel like I don’t want it to seem like a bullet is coming at me, are a tree is falling on me. I don’t need 3D for that. I can’t explain why, but it is different for animation that real-life movies.

      I do like the new types of Dolby Digital sounds, because I am a fan of different sound effects and enjoy seeing movies at home and still feel like I am at the movies because the sound is so loud and in your ear. I think 300 is a great example of that. I like the way that the film was made. I do not think it would have been as successful if it was made “normal” the effects in a way helped make the movie.

    3. Shelby Brown

      I’ve been a really huge fan of remastered versions of films. The quality and the clearness is what works for me to stay interested. Seeing things crystal clear is what attracts me to specific movies. But what tends to stray me away would probably be 3D films. I’m not a fan of the 3D invention because it has became to much for me. It just doest attracts me. 3D doesn’t really portray a target audience to me. Maybe children, and thats about it! As for 300, its not a film i would look at everyday but I’d probably would have enjoyed it more if it was in its normal form. It seem so unreal to me and it became hard for me to believe.

    4. Levi Brown

      I recently saw Pacific Rim in IMAX 3D. For the first time the 3D effect didn’t strain my eyes like it did during Avatar whose 3D I felt to be very underwhelming. I typically don’t care for 3D and the price for the IMAX ticket was too steep for me to see two or more films a summer for that price. I did enjoy the scale IMAX had to offer for Pacific Rim. Seeing the monsters and robots battle on the massive screen was a visual treat for me. The only advertising point I’m ever sold on is digital projection. A while back an art theater in my town screened Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on a 35mm print and it looked terrible. About midway through the film sprockets could be seen on top of the image, a blemish that lasted about 20 minutes of the film. Once I saw that it was a film print conversion I thought to myself “this wouldn’t have happened if this was digital.” I enjoy a crisp image. Film grain is nice in some cases but that experience at the theater ruined film print screenings for me.

      1. Levi Brown

        Another note, before Pacific Rim screened, the theater played a preview for a remastered, one-night only screening of The Wizard of Oz yet the only noticeable difference was the sound. The editors of this ad had taken a 1939 film and edited in a modern style. There were so many bass drops in the preview that I honestly expected dubstep to come blaring in over the sound system. It didn’t. But I couldn’t help but realize how awkward the ad came off with the booming bass, intercut words to their corresponding characters: “courage,” “heart,” “knowledge.” It’s over-indulgence came off as self-praise. Needless to say, I won’t be seeing their ‘remastered’ version.

  2. Jennifer Machura

    The only “new” technology that has really added to my movie-going experience has been IMAX film, but I won’t go see a Hollywood production filmed in the IMAX format or upgraded to IMAX. For me, it’s most enjoyable as a medium for space museum films or nature films. IMAX makes these films more awe-inspiring and allows viewers to experience the natural world in a whole new way. I won’t go near reboots (unless it’s something I HAVE to see, and there haven’t been any yet) because the original is all I really need and 3D movies seem extremely overdone. I’ve only seen one 3D movie in my life, and that was Avatar, at the wonderful Cinerama Dome in L.A. I did enjoy it (the experience, not the movie), and the 3D technology did enhance the film, which was good because the plot of the movie was so weak. I probably won’t go see another 3D film again because it seems like everything is in 3D now.
    I think movie studios should focus more on the quality of characters and storytelling in films. I understand that, in the end, it’s all about the bottom line, but I feel that mainstream Hollywood has lost pretty much all its originality. It’s great when a “smaller” film like Fargo or American Splendor breaks out and makes its way into the mainstream because then it injects some originality and emphasis on writing, acting, etc. into Hollywood.
    I appreciate the stylized look of 300 and movies like The Spirit, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them, showy or not. Those just aren’t the kinds of movies I’m into (the warrior/mythology/comic book-type genre). Some people will go to the theatre to see movies like 300 just because of the story, but I definitely think the aesthetics of it played a major role in its success. If it were filmed normally, it would just be another movie with swords and pectorals. The hyper-stylization played a major role in making 300 a film that would stand apart from others and that people would remember because of how it looked.

  3. Benjamin Romang

    The problem I have 3D is that it is used too much as a crutch for the film’s lack of substance. It’s a way to cover a bad story or acting while making the studios twice the amount of money from admission tickets. But my biggest issue is that 3D is hardly ever done right. I can forgive movies like Avatar and The Hobbit for using 3D, only because they were filmed 3D. The Hobbit used two cameras placed together to simulate the perception of our eyes. This is the way in which 3D works best, however a lot of movies are filmed and then processed in postproduction to achieve the 3D look. I see 3D as more of a gimmick that has no real impact on how a story is told; if anything it is more of a distraction to the story than a contribution.

    However, I loved the way in which 300 was shot. The hyper stylized effect worked because it was homage to the comic book. Zack Snyder wanted this film to look just like the comic book; his storyboard was even the comic book. So I have no problem with movies like this and others like A Scanner Darkly because the effects contribute in creating the film’s world.

    1. Kendrick Branch

      I avoided the 3D film craze because of some of the weak plots and poor acting. This is slightly different in the case of animation, but I am still put off by Hollywood’s attempt to draw me in. I would rather be drawn in by originality.

      I agree with Benjamin in that sometimes the stylization works very well for a film. 300 had an artistic and original touch to me when I saw it. It was an adaptation of something meant to be graphic and violently exaggerated. This is easily overdone by Hollywood’s ploys to sell the effect. T.V. even steals some of these effects in order to keep an audience, but to me they do not enhance experience once they aren’t original.

  4. Parrish Colbert

    I don’t really think there is a “normal” way to make movies in this day and age. East of Eden didn’t have dramatic effects but the music really pushed the intensity and emotion of each scene just as well as any effect in 300. I think since effects were more expensive back then and they had to use what they had thus better stories were created. East of Eden is more of at at the movies movie for me personally but demographically 300 is how at the movies usually is now days.

  5. Renee Schuyten

    Absolutely Hollywood, and everyone, should keep trying new things. Maybe we’ll hit on something fantastic and new, like smellacinema. But better. I’ve not cared for anything 3d so far, and only mostly because I refuse to part with the extra $4. I find it distracting from the story and the glasses uncomfortable. (Avatar — oh look a space flower reaching out to me, what did he say?) I haven’t seen the Hobbit, however – and now knowing it was shot with two cameras I wish I had seen it in the theatre.

    My favorite thing about going to the movies, and spending the $24 more dollars than it cost me to pick up something at Redbox, is the wide huge picture, the vibrating sound. I won’t go to a movie at a little theatre, drives my friends nuts. If I’m going to pay up, I want the big new fancy theatre downtown with the leather reclining seats and the top of the line technology. I’m also the person 5 years ago that you’d see get up 4 minutes into the film, come back, and the next thing you know the projectionist is fixing the focus because Lord forgive me if I watch a film in a theatre out of focus!! If something is in focus, just not the actor, it’s the 1st AC. If everything is out of focus, it’s the projector. Going to the theatre I do expect more, better, professional.

    Reading about Cinerama, it made me wish for it, though. I think that it would be fun, but definitely not something you (you the studio) can maintain as a profit center for presenting narrative stories.

    Will we ever see movies in a virtual reality? Would we want to? There basically needs to be some separation in order to maintain that suspension of disbelief.

    1. Parrish Colbert

      To quote you on the comment about the 3D movies I totally agree, the eyewear is a little distracting especially when you wear prescription glasses. Sometimes the 3D can be a little overkill with certain films such as “Clash Of The Titans”, at the same time I see that movie as a gimmick all together.

  6. Renee Schuyten

    As far as reboots, I’ve probably seen 50 films that were made before but which original I’ve never seen, so they’re new to me. Or the new one is better. That’s really what’s important, in the end.

    300 is too violent for me. I’m a breastfeeding mother totally hormonal and watching that style of cinema actually shuts me down. Even without the hormones that kind of violence would shut me down, close me off. I’m not the target audience. I stopped recording CSI and started recording Americas Funnies Videos and as the violence gets more graphic in films you will have more separation of your audience. As to the comic book style, with the deep color saturation and an image that doesn’t relate to the everyday real world, I think that speaks again to your target audience. I don’t care for it, I find it distracting. I find it distracting, though, because I’m already a bit closed off from the experience by the violence and am unable to suspend my disbelief.

    If you use the film, Across the Universe, as an example, it had a lot of “stylized” (or LSD trippin!) imagery. I enjoyed that a lot. It was also a musical EXTRAVAGANZA with SPECTACLE, though! And as we’ve learned the music let’s us make that jump between worlds.

  7. Steven Colonero

    I agree with everything that has been said so far, I think that we are seeing this rise in 3D not only because of the technology that is available but also because studios know that these tickets are more expensive and therefore they will get more money in its box office run. Personally, I dont like 3D films they hurt my eyes and while sometimes it is used in a way to engage me more into the story such as Avatar, other films I felt over used it and took me away from the story, such as this summer’s Superman film. I felt the 3D effects to be to cartoonish and looked as if it were from a video game. However, I do think IMAX is really a different movie going experience. I personally have never seen a theatrical film in IMAX I have seen films that are something you would view on the discovery channel such as sweeping shots of deserts and landscapes that makes the viewer feel as though they are a bird. This is something I do enjoy as a viewer because we dont see these kind of shots in theatrical films.

    I think it will be interesting to see if this trend in 3D continues and how it would change. I read an article somewhere that they are trying to make 3D so you do not have to wear the glasses, I dont really know if that is possible but if that is so it would make the experience interesting to view.

    1. Evan Halleck

      I agree with what you just stated. I do think that Imax and 3d are completely different strategies. Imax was made to truly show the highest quality possible (4k, etc….) and 3d was made to really attempt to add something new to the film. Although I am not really a 3d fan at all I do appreciate Imax because I am not going to complain when I am watching a movie in one of the highest qualities possible : p

      1. Parrish Colbert

        Yeah I agree Imax is definitely another experience vs. the normal “going to the movies”. If a movie makes it to Imax you can pretty much be assured it’s a good film, it’s like a certification to me if a film makes it to Imax.

      2. Chris O'Malley

        I also prefer the Imax experience over 3D. The last film I saw in Imax was Mission Impossible 4. I had already seen the film at another theater but watching it in Imax was a completely different experience. The size of the screen helped add an intense feeling of vertigo to the Burj Khalifa sequence of the film. 3D simply isn’t able to immerse the audience to the same extent as Imax.

  8. David Martin

    Like someone mentioned, it’s funny to see the quality of films dropping as they embrace the advent of new technology. This is something detrimental to cinema in that we are now seeing the art form sacrificed for money and greed. And i believe(want to believe) that the public is noticing this to a lesser extent…(The Lone Ranger). Obviously film making has always had a bottom line, but that bottom line rarely interfered with plot, acting, and direction to the point that the audience could sense a disconnect in the films artistic vision versus the marketability and franchise potential. With more studios using 3D technology to help jump start tent pole franchises like Transformers and GI Joe, we’re beginning to see these “films” for what they are, gimmicks. I went to see Man of Steel a few weeks ago and as much as I wish they would have accomplished a smart, emotional film, it turned out to be a 2 hour advert for Sears, Nokia and IHOP. As sad as it is to see a film completely tank at the box office, it still shows that the public just wants well made films. As many movie lovers shift away from their dependence on movie theaters and transition to a cinematic experience in their own home i can only hope people will sit out these over-budgeted mindless indulgent films for something even a little more intelligent.

    1. Renee Schuyten

      I’m sure bad movies are not something new to viewers, even from the beginning of the century. They just get forgotten, left behind, discarded. It’s easy for us to sit today and blame technology or the greed of the “studios” for the bad films, but that greed and those bad films have been around since Edison.

    2. Chris O'Malley

      I definitely agree that most of the 3D films that have been released in the last few years are poorly made and conceived. I don’t place the blame on the new technology involved but rather the filmmakers themselves. Each new technology poses new challenges and many filmmakers are clearly not able to overcome the challenges of 3D filmmaking. I believe Hugo is a great example of a 3D film that makes use of the new technology without suffering in quality. Scorsese and his crew were able to craft a film that worked on many levels and the use of 3D only helped to support the story. Therefore the poor quality of most 3D films in the last few years is likely due to the incompetence of filmmakers and poor decisions made by studio executives.

      1. Kendrick Branch

        I was going to say the same thing Chris. I lose interest when technology is a ploy rather than a viable part of the film. Hugo seemed to be well thought out, and the quality of the film and visual effects greatly influence the movie-going experience. It also happened to be about the magic behind film production, which makes a great point in the struggle for T.V. viewers’ attention.

  9. Shenese Doll

    When it comes to remastered films, I am so-so on that. Some movies I think I am okay with, but mostly I prefer however the film was originally released. I refused to partake in going to see Titanic again. I enjoyed it when I first watched it, on VHS and I plan to only see it that way. I guess I don’t want to change the way I see movies, if I had already seen the movie. New movies, I am down for however they are released, but let the old movies. Everything does not have to be remastered just because a new technology was developed.

    1. Christophe Freeman

      I agree I love original versions of films and don’t like how remastered versions change your view of the film you’ve already seen. I also have to say that I have seen a few by accident that actually did the films justice, mostly disney films. But I love that you said that the new technology should be used for new films only. It takes away from the progress of filmmaking if every film of all ages have the same technology available to them.

      1. Renee Schuyten

        I’ll admit I’m confused about some terminology – reboots, remastered… I guess I thought a reboot was a remake of a previous film (True Grit 1969 vs True Grit 2010). Now I understand remastered is the same film with upgraded sound or digital editing. As to a remastered film, if it’s a great film it can be nice to have a chance to see it in large screen glory. See, when I originally saw Titanic it was in the theatre, and it was spectacular!

  10. Christophe Freeman

    I agree that 300 is great example of the new dolby digital sound system. It enhances the cinematic experience for newer action movies. It makes the audience feel the action is more realistic. The latest Batman film is also a good example of the dolby system. It surrounds the viewer and has them feel closer to the action.

    I tend to steer clear of 3D movies and Imax movies. I never enjoyed wearing the glasses when I would go to see 3D movies. The enhanced graphics and other details never excited me and I was thought it took away from the film instead of aiding the experience.

    1. Steven Colonero

      At my local theater we have a specific screen that has the new dolby sound system and a IMAX like screen although it is not as big, and I agree with you that is enhances the film you are seeing. I went to see Super 8 at the theater and the train crash seen was as if I in a Disney world ride. It was by far the most intense theater experience I can remember having in recent years.

  11. Allison Hudson

    There is one film that I saw in 3D IMAX that I find memorable. It was Beowulf. I remember a scene with arrows flying through the air and I actually felt like they were coming at me. That is really the only time a 3D film has done anything other than disappoint me. I hate all the tricks studios are pulling to rake in audiences, and they aren’t even working that well. When I was working at the theater, people always asked whether the 3D was worth it (I hadn’t seen it 99% of the time) but I would tell them no. It’s overpriced, stupid entertainment for people who think they will get more out of the movie somehow. Even though there are more mature films being shot in 3D, kids movies always seem to come out in 3D. Filmmakers know kids will drag their parents to 3D because they are young and have this idea that the film will be “cooler” in 3D. 3D really ruins some of the cinematography in films for me. I know Titanic is definitely better in its original format. I agree that somehow 3D is better for animated films. I think because they are already being made with computers, altering their final format to 3D is more acceptable than with live action. It’s just different, but still not worth it.
    Now that digital cinema is the norm in most movie theaters, digital effects are taking over as well and I think that is reducing quality of cinema. I don’t like that I can tell when things are computer generated. It looks fake and takes me out of the story, which is why I hated The Hobbit so much. I think some stories that use effects to stylize, such as 300, are fine because they have a look they are going for. This is the filmmaker’s choice, so it is a creative representation. I guess I think it would be interesting to compare a 300 that is “normal” to the stylized version just because I would like to see how I feel after watching it. Maybe I would like a more realistic version, but the stylized, dramatic version of it does add a tone to the entire film that may not be there otherwise. If it was normal, maybe it would seem more like a historical documentary or be just plain boring.

  12. Alexandra Freda

    There certainly is something to be said about watching a film at the movie theater, between the picture quality, the screen size, the sound quality, etc it is an experience that cannot be replaced by a television in your living room. David Lynch has always said going to see a movie should be an experience, not just watching a film but an immersive experience for the audience to be enraptured in. Actually here is a fairly humorous link to what he thinks about watching movies on your phone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcNLEwf2pOw

    No one really addressed the drive-in, or if they did I did not catch it. In our chapter it discusses the cheaper easier solution to theater construction being that of the drive-in, and I am curious as to why there has been a decline in watching films this way. Any personal opinions?

    The 3D assault has been going on far before the popularity of films like Avatar as early as the 1950’s, and honestly whether it is popular with cinemaphiles everywhere or not doesn’t seem to matter, it isn’t going anywhere and if anything will begin (if it hasn’t already) to replace watching the standard film. I’m not saying that this is what I prefer, personally I think there is something stunning about the quality of film movies as opposed to digital for that matter. Movie producers, executives, and creative geniuses of all types (directors, actors, screen writers, etc) should always be looking for new and revolutionary techniques in cinema. Some work better than others, some become fads (slow motion action sequences, etc), but regardless if we do not continue to seek and explore the medium to its greatest capacity then we are doing the industry a disservice.

    300 in particular was a feat in visual effects, now one could certainly debate the screenplay, acting, and many other facets of the film, but I know that when 300 and Sin City came out not only was I drawn in to see both films for their ground breaking visuals and special effects, but also because they were attempting to bring to life two of Frank Millers great graphic novel classics, and in itself the fact that Zac Snyder was attempting to make the films LOOK like the comic books, almost literally page by page is an accomplishment and something that I know a lot of fans of the graphic novels themselves were impressed with. It is of course to a degree a ploy to get people to see films in the theater, but in a way it is the same idea of the immersive experience David Lynch and many other directors insist upon, using various different tactics and motifs.

    1. Renee Schuyten

      Ha ha I saw the original Star Wars at a drive in, with a little box for the sound that you clip on the window of your car. 1977 baby!

      The picture quality sucked, you had no clear view of the screen, the sound was worse, people walked around the parking area in front of you, hollering, smoking weed (not that I was old enough to appreciate that. Um… weed robs you of ambition, kids). Perhaps that’s why the drive ins went away.

  13. Landon Getz

    In the not so distant past, 3D was a gimmick that films brought to the theaters that I fell victim to. Recently, however, I have drifted apart of the gimmick. To this day, there are only a few films I enjoyed more in 3D than in 2D (Avatar). In Avatar, it added to the moviegoing experience for me. It was one of the few 3D films I have seen that displays clever and innovative effects. In most other 3D films, I feel that this aspect detracted from the experience. Not only are the effects lackluster, I’m annoyed by the glasses I have to wear for two hours.

    This aspect of film has also in some scenarios made its way to television and home entertainment. A few years ago, the TV series “Chuck” released a “3D episode event” where viewers picked up 3D glasses at their local Wal-Mart and viewed the episode with glasses. This proved to be a flop and never happened again. Some films that were released in the theaters in 3D bring a “3D verision” to home DVD entertainment and include a few pairs of glasses. This is also a failed attempt at bringing the theater gimmick to your home.

  14. Clark Faust

    I am not a fan of the whole 3D kick. I believe it is a gimmick to get people to the theaters. I avoid 3D movies almost entirely. The only time a 3D film has good is when a true artist is using the medium such as Scorsese with Hugo.

    The most annoying thing is when movies get re-released as 3D movies. It basically ruins certain films for me.

  15. Angelo Lima

    Even though both movies had great landscapes to add with the potential of their film for the time, East of Eden had a great landscape which portrayed the time of World War I very well. This film also intrigued its audiences by the marvelous acting that was shown throughout the film such as the famous James Dean.

  16. Angelo Lima

    Even though the acting for 300 was not at its best compared to a classic like East of Eden, it still pulled audiences in with it’s landscapes and battles more than East Eden could at the time because of special effects. The director of 300, Zack Synder evoked a great focus on close up and in the moment battle sequences which I think as a viewer and criticizer of films that is what people want to see more of today.

    1. Steven Colonero

      Agreed, he definitely has a way of captivating an audience into this films. His remake of Dawn of the Dead is probably one of the best horror remakes out there and that is directly related to his style of directing he has a great ability to use the landscape, whether that be the digital rending of 300 to the average American mall, he uses this to bring the audience into the film and it really works to his advantage. However, I felt that his latest film superman, focused to much on the action aspect of the film and relied to much on the digital landscape then the story of the film. It really took me out of the movie however, the action scenes were well done.

  17. Savannah Steiner

    3D has actually grown on me with its advancements, especially when the film shoots for them. Awful 3D post-editing can definitely ruin the picture and experience, like Alice in Wonderland, but films like Avatar which shoot for 3D present a visual wonder that really brings audience into the experience. IMAX is amazing as well and presents viewers with a bigger and better looking picture. I was never much a fan of films being remastered though, unless they were cartoons.

    Marketing tactics that really stray me from films are those which heavily market the stars more than the content of the film. Example: The Tourist marketing focusing on a movie with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. East of Eden is an example of films which promote the film as a star driven spectacle more than the film itself. I think studios should focus on the quality of films and cast actors who will do the content justice– not picking actors who’ll bring the most money.

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