December 16, 2012

Is Violence The Reason We Watch Movies?

It seemed a while ago that cinema was in its golden age, full of wonderment and imaginary magic. Where did our interests go since that time?

I’m somewhat of an enthusiast regarding the demographics of people that watch movies. I take comfort and interest in the observation of different aged people that go to see 3-D heavy weights like Wreck it Ralph and Brave. It also is a point of interest of mine to see children and fathers line up for tickets to see The Avengers and Total Rekall. The people always change, but they never really change.

The same individuals that made Titanic the most viewed movie of the 90’s were also the same demographic that made the Twilight series exponentially popular both in books and in movies in the first decade of the 21st century. The people have always changed, but the demographic of interests is still the same no matter who views the movie. How do we attach categories and motifs to everyday people who differ so much in experience and brand of shoes? I believe that our method of categorizing isn’t a subtle trait of analysts, and that it takes years of practice and Red Bull to put confidence in.

We then began to ask what motive there is for the demographic of people who continuously popularize gore and violence in video games. Take Skyfall, for example. Bond movies have been known for almost 50 years for their charm and wit, not to mention the challenge of intellect and dazzling technology that sparks our imagination. But the same Bond that existed in the 60’s doesn’t exactly strike the same cord as the Bond of 2012.

Why is this?

Let’s take a look. The original James Bond was portrayed by Sean Connery in 1962, and his infinite wit and meticulous charm was the selling point for that society’s idea of who James Bond was at that point in time. Movies weren’t intensely drenched in Special Effects and CGI, and ultimately whatever dazzle factor that we could offer audiences at that given point in time was with the character that was portrayed.

Sean Connery did it well. Bond was whom the women wanted in bed, and who the men wanted to be in bed. He was what the teenagers wanted to be in their everyday lives, and what the children looked up to as an inspirational icon for their future endeavors. In the sense of proportion, James Bond fulfilled the roles to people in the 60’s the same way contemporary James Bond fills the roles that are so desired. As long as society doesn’t change, then society won’t notice the change in the character.

And for a recurring character like James Bond, it’s completely expected that no matter the movie or version of Bond is shown, people will always come back to see it. What bothers analysts about the new Bond movie entitled “Skyfall” is that it’s so heavily, heavily drowned in violence and special effects. What could that mean about the style of the film?

Too many explosions and not enough wit, maybe?

The latest iteration of James Bond is still a witty, sexy killing machine. But his actions on screen appeal differently as an action star than previous Bonds. He resorts to excess violence and action rather than the smart choices that you often see in the video games of agent 007.

Could that mean that video games are better at conveying Bond as a silent spy than film? A possible topic up for debate for 007 enthusiasts, I’m sure!

Image Credit: ostill / Shutterstock

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