A Movie Lover’s Prayer
You want better movies? Pay for better movies.
Last week Warner Bros. released Cloud Atlas, a grandly ambitious film that provides the viewers with an experience that’s almost impossible to describe. Like the symphony at the center of the film, Cloud Atlas intertwines six different stories into a seamless (and to my mind and eye beautiful) piece of music. I could have paused the movie at any moment and named the character in the screen, described his (or her) motivation and told you where in the story we were. That’s pretty amazing.
But it’s seems I’m in a lonely minority when it comes to the film. Cloud Atlas, which cost $100 million to make, has earned only $12 million at the box office so far. Just writing that made me want to cry.
To tell truth-truth, I get that Cloud Atlas isn’t for everyone. It’s long - almost 3 hours. The sheer weight of the six stories is intimidating and the connection between the stories is a bit of new age hokum about how acts of crimes or kindness reverberate in our next lives.
But you know what, the next time you complain about the crap quality of most of the films in theaters or how you just can’t stand to watch one more superhero movie full of generic action sequences, think about the fact that you didn’t buy a ticket to Cloud Atlas.
Movie studios are businesses and they want to make money. We, the movie-going public, provide them with that money. We vote for what we want to see with our dollars. If we flocked to new, original, challenging films, the studios would take more chances. If we only go to see the next adventure of The Avengers crew, that’s what we’ll get.
There’s another great, original movie that’s about to hit theaters this weekend - Wreck-It Ralph. Ralph is based on a very original idea. A bad guy in an old video game goes AWOL looking for a medal so the people in his Fix-It Felix game will respect him and invite him to their cocktail parties.
In his search for a medal Ralph travels to a scary first-person shooter game and a candy-coated racing game. Each world in distinct. The rules of the arcade are clearly spelled out and everyone sticks to them. The jokes are really funny. The relationship between Ralph and little Venellope (an outcast in her own game) is touching. I laughed. I shed a sentimental tear at the end.
Ralph, which seems like it should be a slam dunk for kids, is expected to earn only $38 million this weekend. That’s not much.
I hope hope hope it does much better than that. I hope it’s another underestimated hit like Despicable Me was. I liked it that much. And I want to see people supporting films like Ralph — because they’re really good and they’ll make you happy!
So please. If you love movies, spend your money on something that might be a little challenging. Even if you don’t like it, you’ll think about it and talk about it. I promise.