British born actor, producer and writer Simon Pegg, who is known for roles in comedies such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and is now working on the latest Star Trek film, recently made some interesting statements about what we are attracted to in the world of cinema.
As noted in a a recent interview with The Guardian, Pegg noted that he finds Cinema has become “dumbed down” and that we have taken a turn for the worst, devolving from intellectually challenging films and receded back to a more basic level of film consumption.It appears as though Pegg believes we are so hungry for the immediate gratification that summer blockbuster style movies and ultra-geeky film giants provide that we are ignoring the opportunity to use films to explore our lives or to gain insight into the plight of others.
While I do agree that Hollywood loves to capitalize on what will make the most money (it is a business after all), and that there are plenty of films that are created for the sole purpose of mindless consumption, I don’t know if I agree with Pegg’s observations about popular cinema and intelligence.
Geeky as the Avengers films and other comic book based stories may be, there is a world of depth that these characters bring to the table. While mainstream moviegoers may not be as aware of the backstories and circumstances that bring popular comic book and superhero characters to the big screen, the masses that have been reading about and studding these characters since their childhoods do know the wide range of emotions and challenges these heroes and villains face.
While there is a need for balance in film, for constructive art and pure entertainment to exist within the same realm, I feel that one of the major draws with superhero (or otherwise fantastic film themes) is that we can more easily explore our own struggles and strengths through the lives of those heroes. We see their circumstances and consider how we feel about their actions.
Perhaps Pegg wants a shift in focus so that we can have a more close, immediate and intimate connection to these issues? Are superheroes and mythical worlds too far removed from our own reality to allow us to create parallels between the wars and triumphs of these heroes and those of our own world? I wonder if Pegg feels we are too invested in the mythological worlds. If our gratification in watching these worlds unfold helps us to further disconnect from one another instead of bringing us together?
I’m certainly intrigued by Pegg’s comments and look forward to see what roles he will choose to take after he’s done working on the latest Star Trek film.