Saturday, May 23, 2015
May 23-24, 2015: Crowd-sourced BlockbusterStudying
[A couple years ago, I spent a fun week AmericanStudying summer blockbusters—this year, it was time for the sequel! This crowd-sourced smash is drawn from the responses of fellow BlockbusterStudiers—add your thoughts in comments, please!]
On Facebook, a good conversation followed up my Jurassic Park post. Michelle Proctor writes, “Love any and all Crichton—I think the movie missed too much of Malcolm’s ‘People will not destroy the world, but the world will wipe out people that trash it’ message.” And Tim McCaffrey adds, “I enjoyed the book and was initially disappointed in the movie for all the reasons you mention (also, the switching of the sibling genders, if I remember correctly). But over time I have come to enjoy the movie as a separate entity. Agree with you on Jaws. Very rare case of movie > book.”
Chance Lee also follows up that post, commenting, “I rewatched Jurassic Park recently! You mention how ‘the film turns Hammond from a dark, pointed commentary on capitalism and the modern corporate world into more of a naïve but good-hearted teddy bear, played with silly charm by Richard Attenborough.’ What I realized on my recent viewing was that Hammond is /still/ a commentary on capitalism and the modern corporate world. Even though he's *played* as a goofy harmless old man, the disaster of the park is still mostly the result of his hubris. By *not* punishing him in the end, as Crichton does, Spielberg shows that evil corporations can kill people, get away with it, and still be viewed as likable.”
For other blockbusters, Paige Swarbrick highlights The Shining (1980), noting the important “Lesson learned: don’t lock your family away in a remote hotel in the snowy mountains because you just might lose it.”
Jason Flinkstrom goes with ID4 (1996), for which Jeff Renye adds this video that is an analysis of the film in its own right.
Andrew DaSilva writes about Jaws (1975), noting, “Being that I live on the Cape, would have to say Jaws being that it takes place right off the coast … Plus the music keeps ya at the edge of your seat the whole movie without seeing any shark. Goes to show ya don’t need any special effects to wet yourself with fright.”
Nancy Caronia focuses on Die Hard (1988), for which she’d analyze “images of white American masculinity through Bruce Willis' character, the changing American domestic landscape through the relationship between John McClane and his wife, images of globalization through both Hans Gruber and the Nakotomi building itself—those are just starters.”
Next series starts Monday,
PS. What do you think? Other summer blockbusters you’d analyze?