It’s just beginning – the season of the movie blockbuster. As summer nears, I start seeing the full page newspaper ads and movie trailers for the upcoming crop of high budget, low brow entertainment. Already, the talk of the town is yet another remake of “Godzilla.” In fact, the plethora of sequels during the summer boggles my mind. Does the world really need yet another “Transformers,” X-Men,” or “Planet of the Apes” movie?
I have hard time sitting through such movies with their emphasis on action and special effects. Though I would hardly expect a science fiction, fantasy or espionage thriller to mimic real life, I find the unbelievable death-defying sequences to be, at times, ridiculous. Recently I was watching an action movie that featured a high speed chase with the hero on a motorcycle. The preposterous acrobatics performed by this motorcyclist, all the while dodging bullets and rush hour traffic, were apparently supposed to have me on the edge of my seat. Instead, I couldn’t help but laugh. No amount of suspending disbelief could convince me anyone would ever survive such an ordeal.
Modern day action movies have mind-numbing amounts of violence, destruction, and chase scenes. And the body counts in them are ludicrous. I try to picture a city enduring one of these onslaughts and then going about its business the very next day. Years ago, watching a film called “Ronin,” I began to sigh, “Another chase scene?” about two thirds of the way through.
My biggest problem with these escapist entertainments is that they often lack much of a story. If I can’t get to know the characters and their motivations in any meaningful way, I have a hard time caring if they make it or not. Even when the movie does have an interesting story, such as in the “Batman” series, it gets overshadowed by so much loud, over the top action.
It’s a shame because I really do love going to the movies. I enjoy settling into a stadium seat with my popcorn and immersing myself in the world portrayed on the big screen. I revel in the big emotions of love, hate, fear, exhilaration, sorrow and hope that are depicted in good movies. For me, the summer is a desert time of waiting until the really juicy dramas and heartwarming romantic comedies return in the fall.
So instead of checking the theater listings this summer, I’ll head to the library and pick up some good beach reads.