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Bringing People Together

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Movies, Music Nov 15 2012 · 346 views

:kaukau: I'm listening to the soundtrack to Star Trek: First Contact, and something strikes me about the music. There's something iconic about it, but more than that, it essentially goes through a medley of familiar themes, each a tribute to all that Star Trek ever was up to that point. Each was beautiful in its own way, but what was especially surprising was how each theme seemed to belong with all the rest, how overall this music formed one giant family.

Then I began thinking about what music means to me, especially within the context of movies. Jerry Goldsmith is dead and gone now, and it won't be long before an era ends with John Williams. Looking into the future, what will music be like. Have these icons truly changed music and left their impact, or does their era die with them? From the way things are looking, I would guess on the latter. Names such as Hans Zimmer and others are on the rise, creating a new contemporary style with a heavy emphasis on creativity and atmosphere. The philosophy seems to be that if the notes go together well, then the music is good. Indeed, I love these scores as quality study music when I'm not listening to Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and the other classic named from over a hundred years ago.

Yet, what is good music, and what is a good movie? Not too long ago, I wrote a list of absolute recommendations for ten movies that would be most beneficial to an individual, and although most of them were for the insights into humanity they provided, I tacked onto the number ten position The Princess Bride for completely different reasons, because even though it didn't bring any special insight, it brought out humanity in its viewers. It brings people together.

So that's it. That's my important philosophy and what I really want to keep in mind if I ever go into film making. There are plenty of acclaimed movies and soundtracks out there, but the ones that I think deserve it are a select few. Imagine the power that music wields over people, and imagine if it can be played for the purpose of bringing people together. That's what I think Star Trek does, from its original sci-fi space music to its grand anthem to the lesser known pieces that to me speak of friendship and love. There's something very soulful and constructive about it. It builds people up. I would say the same for films such as The Wizard of Oz, M*A*S*H, Superman, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Toy Story, and animated Disney films. Beyond music, there's the style to the cinematography and the way scenes are presented, which need an atmosphere that helps to bring about that humanity in the audience and that sense of communion with each other so that when they walk out of the theatre they feel right with the world and right with their friends and/or, presuming that they watch movies with friends and/or family. I believe in the power of music and the power of story to move people and bring about the best in them.

There were times in cinematic history when people went to movies just as a recreational thing, as something that would of course entertain them, but also affect them. Perhaps it would serve the purpose of enhancing a first date, or just creating a good date in general. It wasn't all about what was on the screen. There were a lot of things going on in the seats and back at home. Nowadays the new expectation is to be awed. I wonder, "Why can't we have both?" Which is where movies like Star Wars come in, because they fill people with wonder but also create a community. I have very high prospects for the upcoming Les Miserables for this reason.

There are also types of cinema I would try to avoid as a writer or, should fate have room for it, a director. There are popular films now that do not bring people together. They inspire awe, but what value are they if people isolate their hearts in their enjoyment? If they don't create families, how fond of memories do they create? I think of The Dark Knight and Prometheus, both of which are awesome in their own right, but could they have done better? Batman is about isolation, and when people speak of him representing the best of humanity and using him as their role model, there's just a tint of selfishness in there, like they've actually isolated themselves. Then there's Prometheus, which I absolutely love for it's Space Odyssey feel, sense of cinema, knowledge of its genre, and its large questions, which certainly put it in the spotlight of relevance. There's actually no reason why it shouldn't bring people together, because back in the day watching horror films was another form of recreation, but people aren't looking for that anymore. People want the movie to entertain them and they want the movie to be good, and it's great that they get immersed in a movie and wish for it to do itself justice, but there's less thought about how well we are with our friends. In spite of their large themes, I think The Dark Knight trilogy and Prometheus could have done better in building up communities within the theatre-going audience, but they get caught up in what's happening on the screen.

So what do I think now? I said it before and I'll say it again. Movies and music should bring people together. This still shows up, but in the current climate of the cinematic culture, directors are getting caught up in all the other exhausting prerequisites for making a good movie. It shows up less often. That sense of artistic vision is replaced by hundreds of other bits of movie-making philosophy that's true but not the main point. I'm not sure if bringing people together is the main point, but it sure is important. I think it's one of those things that a director needs to consider if he's to truly have vision. People throw that word around a lot, but I think a director has to have an idea for what the movie means beyond just the screen in order for me to give them that compliment, because being a visionary is about more than just being a filmmaker. It applies everywhere in life and to all society. I want to be a visionary. I want to change the world, and not just the style of a generation of movies. So I put myself in the shoes of a director and imagine a hypothetical future where I'm calling the shots and I'm required to have vision. What sort of movies do I choose to make? What sort of composer will I hire, and what sort of muse do I want him to be? How to I marry image and sound and the audience all together to create something altogether not just cool, but beautiful?

Food for thought. Well, I guess I'll have to discover that as I go along and just put my heart into it. Presuming, of course, that I ever direct a movie. Presuming that I do not, then I at least wish this voiced opinion to be heart by someone who does make a difference.


P.S. On a tangent, I will also take this opportunity to advertise to the people of this Bionicle community my upcoming web serial, The Adventures of Mary, which I will be updatig regularly all throughout 2013. It is my sincerest hopes that I can entertain you and, true to my philosophy, bring people together through the joys of science fiction.

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Username: Jean Valjean
Real name: People literally don't have names in my family
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Heritage: Half Dutch, Quarter Hungarian, Eighth Swedish, Sixteenth German and Irish
Physical description: Looks like the eleventh Doctor
Favorite food: Chicken, turkey, and beef.
Least favorite food: Vegetables of any kind
Favorite band: Queen
Favorite singer: Billy Joel
Favorite song: American Pie
Favorite movie: Schindler's List
Favorite TV show: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Favorite play: Les Miserables
Favorite color: Silver
Second favorite color: Brown
Favorite board game: Risk
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps
Lucky Number: 53
Past-times: Writing, reading, drawing
Political Caucus: Iowa Republicans
Religion: Christian
Language: Iowegian

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