And they’re not the only ones; modern films may be more replete with digital jiggery-pokery than ever before but, content-wise, it’s generally just more of the same old crapola, and the so-called “language of cinema” has barely advanced a frame since Tarantino’s heyday. You can watch five minutes of almost any pre-millennial film and know, with a reasonable degree of certainty, what decade it was made in just from things like the costumes, sets, soundtrack and editing – but how easy is it to spot any marked stylistic differences between, say, The Bourne Identity (2002) and The Bourne Legacy (2012)?
It’s as if we’re experiencing a sort of (Dare I say it) Cultural Statis (There I said it)This isn’t just Hollywood’s problem, though. When you look back at the 20th century, it’s staggering how quickly and radically tastes in music, art and fashion were apt to change from one decade to the next. One of the reasons it’s hard to mistake a film from 1985 for one from 1975 is that the ways people spoke, dressed and styled their hair changed such an awful lot in those 10 years. That’s not something you could really say about the last 10 years; we may have picked up a few new buzzwords off the internet but otherwise there’s not much about our aesthetic landscape in 2015 which would particularly surprise someone from 2005. And isn’t that just a bit, I don’t know… disappointing?
It’s as if we’re experiencing a sort of (dare I say it?) cultural stasis (there, I said it), a stalling of the engine which once drove us to keep thinking up new fun stuff to do. I’m of an age now where contemporary pop music should, by rights, make me want to run for the hills while writing to my MP, but I listened to the dance chart on Radio 1 the other night and actually recognised half of it, so indebted are the tunes of today to the noble “choons” of my own glory days 20-odd years ago. And need I even point out that every single band which has ever broken up is now back together?
It is, of course, all too easy to blame this sort of thing on the rise of the internet, so that’s exactly what I am now going to do. But really, can it be coincidence that this period of stasis appeared to start at around the same time we all started checking our screens instead of staring out of windows? Sitting on a bus or in a doctor’s reception area, waiting for a shop to open, mooching around while your significant other faffs – these are precisely the sort of moments when the inspiration for an entirely new way of writing/performing/dressing traditionally strikes. How many new movements in art, music or fashion might we already have lost because someone was too busy matching up bits of fruit or “controlling their home from their phone” to heed its call?
So the next time you have a spare moment, let it stay spare instead of trying to fill it up with digital guffquackery. You might just find yourself coming up with something amazing – and, if so, why not send it in to Disney? It really does sound like they need all the help they can get…