Thursday, 19 January 2012

What's The Story?

The lights go down. The screen extended. Voices hushed, conversations ended. Silence... Huge speakers amplify the sound. The picture flickers into action. Ads and trailers blasted out. Please turn mobile phones off. The main feature is about to start. Ssh, ssh. Twitter. Giggles stifled. Popcorn munched, drinks slurped throughout 90 minutes. Paid to be entertained in this rustle-disturbed environment.

At the flicks. Going to the movies, the cinema. Films projected on a big screen. Black and white, colour, 3D. Animated, silent, talkies. An adaptation from a book. Dramas based on true life experiences. Like everything else, our hunger voyeuristic. From books to stage to film. Originality lost as more scripts are adapted. A book cannot just be a book. It has to be a film, a musical, a game. Get your posters, sweat shirts, and sound track. Own the film on DVD. Copyright sold to meet all niches. Is this marketing madness or creativity at its best? Perhaps a bit of both? What's wrong with milking success? People keen to buy the merchandise; click “Like” on Facebook. I take note of public interest, but don't attempt to follow this insaneness. Wary this gap is being filled up in the market. Are we entering an abyss of no imagination? A bottomless black pit where if a book's not turned into a film we can't imagine it?

A film brings a novel to life doesn't it? No need to read words when you can watch the scenes played out in front of you. The characters fleshed out by actors. If the script is true to the book, I applaud it, but if not I'm left feeling disappointed. Angry that corners were cut. The sequence of events out of order. Some didn't occur. Some have been invented. The interpretation was too bleak or light-hearted. The beauty of the book has not transferred to the screen. Who cares when it's been rated as a box office smash? Nominated for awards; touted as a blockbuster.

I care. Probably a bit too much. Are movie or stage adaptations really necessary? Why this sudden phenomenon where every book or real-life event is ripe for production? A biopic of J K Rowling, last year's riots filmed as a drama, Austen and Dickens adapted to screen many times over... Are we choosing to live voraciously through the camera? Witnessing events or living our own day-to-day life not deemed exciting enough activities. The question on a lot of people's lips: Who would play me in a film version of my life? Does this way of thinking affect our creativity?

I think it does. Our imagination stunted by too many images. Our original thoughts eroded. The story's already been figured out. Beamed directly ahead, projected straight in front of us.