Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Message to Hollywood: no FX here please, we're grown-ups

Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling

News that there are fewer sex scenes in big Hollywood films shouldn't be greeted with unalloyed joy – even by those of us weary at the relentless modern-day sleaze-fest.

Because the steamy scenes are being replaced by the most boring thing in cinema: the FX.

I could never understand the attraction of special effects. It's just a souped-up version of Paul Daniels. Like any form of magic, once you accept that we are not literally talking about suspension of the physical laws of the universe, the only vaguely interesting question is 'How is it done?' which to a technophobe like me isn't at all interesting.

And when you add the dreaded initials 'CGI' then you are in danger of adding infinite levels of tedium. Cinema shouldn't be like reading Your PC magazine.

What the survey really means is that the idiotisation of Hollywood continues apace. The truth is that Hollywood plays to a younger and younger demographic – both literally and metaphorically. Transformers, Spiderman, Batman, The Green Hornet, The Green Lantern, Iron Man – all kids' stuff, or bigger kids' stuff for those desperate to relive their childhoods, despite the intellectual trimmings served up by critics to take the bad look off things.

In other words, franchises – and like any franchise there's money in being completely predictable and inoffensive. Hence, San Francisco being obliterated or hundreds of faceless henchmen, fine; Ryan Gosling's glutes, no way.

Reboot, re-imagine, re-configure, repackage. Or if you want originality you can suffer Die Hard 23 or a bunch of US comedians being gross. (If you like to support indigenous product you can enjoy Diamond Geezers pulling heists or jazzed up period dramas).

No wonder we fall like ravenous wolves upon anything that remotely falls outside the usual such as The Artist and Amour to name just two. So, while having less boobs and bums on the screen is, when you get down to it, a good thing, it would be even better if all those freed up frames were filled up with witty banter, ideas and (yes) proper human relationships.

When you've seen one earth-shattering special effect, you've seen 'em all ...

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