Movies: Has the modern instant gratification culture and special effects in movies undervalued the importance of story telling, character development and characterization? Why? Why not?3Adira Rotstein2 votes by Ariel Williams and Diana Cretu
As a screenwriter I agree with you wholeheartedly. Many of the movies you see today are overly long, due to lots of time spent on big special effects set pieces and the fact that with shooting on digital, it no longer costs much more to film a long movie. As a consequence they scrimp on the screenplays. It is a very frustrating time for any writer trying to flog original material. There is far less dialogue in modern movies than in movies from the 1940s for example and more importance placed on imagery nowadays.
I find we are in a similar historical moment to the time when cinema was first invented, in that spectacle trumped story and characterization. It was more about wowing the eyes. When sound was introduced, because of the cumberson sound equipment studio shooting was required and so what you could show in the picture became limited to what could fit in the carefully controlled environs of the studio. With CGI anything can depicted and at the moment people are a bit drunk on all the new possibilities. If George Lucas's revisions to the original Star Wars films are any indication though, just because a certain effect is possible, doesn't mean it is necessary to the advancement of story or character. Often it just distracts from the story. That is why television shows seem much more intelligently written than movies now. The smaller budgets and smaller screen, mean more time spent on dialogue and character development. With hundreds of millions of dollars spent on individual movies there is less risk taking on unproven comidities that don't already have a popular video game or comic book following, because there is far more at stake. As a result in cinema there are only ultra-low budget films and mega-budget films. There are fewer mid-budget adult dramas of the kind that would win Oscars in the 1970s and 1980s on screen today. This type of character driven story-telling is more present in HBO TV shows like "Breaking Bad" "Downton Abbey" and "The Wire." At the moment I notice episodic one hour dramas on specialty TV networks are having a serious renaissance. I feel more anticipation for new episodes of certain well-written tv shows than I do for any upcoming movies.