I Was a Teenage Herd Mentality.
Is it just me, or do often critique from fanboys and fangirls often seem like the simplest, most primitive form of herd mentality? They have such a hard time thinking outside the box, feeling safer in the collective hate (or love) of a film etc. It’s like a hive mind, where everyone is controlled by some abstract central idea what’s good or bad, maybe a result of fear from being who you are, a fear of feeling alive.
I really don’t mind the love part of this, as long as one allows people to be critical. But hate seldom leaves space for constructive thinking. I see every film as a creation taken from someone’s Ideaspace, and it always deserves to be judged by its own merits - without comparing it to someone else’s vision of storytelling or quality level.
I often think of Jupiter Ascending, the 2015 science fiction adventure (or “space opera”, which is a fitting term for this particularly form of over the top sci-fi, other’s in the genre is Luigi Cozzi’s Star Crash, Kinji Fukasaku’s Message from Space and to a certain degree films like Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2 and Thor Ragnarök) and it’s reputation in the geek community, which is generally pretty bad. Why? Because Jupiter Ascending is clearly, very clearly, thinking outside the box. It dares to be cheesy, but in a very thoughtful way. The Wachowski siblings takes some truly fringe ideas, merge them into a very mainstream looking production and have the courage to make it a non-ironic form of art.
It would have been SO easy for them to make everything tongue in cheek, but while the movie itself is fun, crazy and creative, they keep the characters well written and with their own serious agendas. Just by giving Channing Tatum pointy ears is a statement that they knew what they were doing, because why can’t a serious science fiction film have a character with pointy ears? Why would that be considered out of date and cheesy? So they did it, without any ironic comments. In this day and age, and with that budget level, it’s very brave.
A majority in the geek community loves to whine and hate about Jupiter Ascending, without realizing it’s the exact form of big budget mainstream film they always crave for. But when something like it arrives (another example is John Carter) they can’t stand it because they’re so brainwashed into thinking what serious, well made science fiction must be. It’s like they feel ashamed of having fun. Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor Ragnarök still have a self-distance to their subjects and styles and deliberately makes jokes at themselves, which is fine and alright, but it also allows the audience to laugh with them and feel more at home in enjoying something that’s so insane and far out it borders to what the society around them considers so be childish and immature. Another time when it’s okay to watch films of this kind is when they’re vintage, and therefore naturally more cheesy and also in those cases more respectable.
I have a sense that more movie geeks out there would feel a lot more free and happy if they let go of these preconceived notions of what’s good or bad or childish or mature or silly or fun. It’s an important insight that will save a lot of them from being bitter old geeks, constantly looking backwards instead of embracing what comes next.
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