It’s not a
blazingly original observation, but that doesn’t make it any less true: good
presentation covers a multitude of sins, and the slickness of modern films
lulls audiences into accepting movies where there’s less going on than meets
better now than ever, with sprocket holes, drooping mikes and other
imperfections a thing of the past. Modern pictures have a level of technical
polish that 70s filmmakers would’ve killed for, but that doesn’t necessarily
mean they’re any better.
Harbor, a three-hour recreation of the events of December 7 1941 as told by the
director of Armageddon. It’s a coarse, empty movie, but it was sold as
spectacle and spectacle is what it delivered, prompting the Washington Post to
call it “the best piece of popular entertainment to come along in years” (which
must’ve surprised fans of Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rings,
released the same year).
created spectacle is all very well, but in an overcrowded marketplace where
every blockbuster includes umpteen sequences of epic destruction, there has to
be something more to retain our interest. The following films didn’t have it,
but they won over critics who were content to worship the surface.