Cover image for Spectacular narratives : Hollywood in the age of the blockbuster
Title:
Spectacular narratives : Hollywood in the age of the blockbuster
Author:
King, Geoff.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : I.B. Tauris Publishers, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
213 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781860645730

9781860645723
Format :
Book

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Status
Central Library TR858 .K6 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

What makes today's Hollywood films so successful? Is it the sheer scale of special effects that gives films like ""Jurassic Park"" or ""The Matrix"" their mass audience appeal? Geoff King looks at the underexplored dynamic relationship between narrative and spectacle in contemporary Hollywood cinema. He uses the myth of the American frontier against a range of Hollywood filmsand drawes examples from the digital-effects-based and virtual-reality spectacles, space fictions, action films, war epics and disaster films that now dominate cinema.


Author Notes

Geoff King is Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Brunel University.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Are blockbusters all glory and no guts? On the contrary, claims Geoff King, lecturer in film and television studies at Brunel University and author of Spectacular Narratives: Hollywood in the Age of the Blockbuster. In a series of cogent and thoughtful essays, King examines many of the movies of the past few decades that have featured stunning special effects, including the Star Wars films, Twister, Jurassic Park and The Matrix, and demonstrates how plot, character development and story do not suffer in the face of spectacle. He has high hopes for the future of big-budget films. ( Feb. 19) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

How do the creators of big-budget Hollywood blockbuster films like Titanic and Armageddon maintain the balance of narrative and spectacle in their films? What happens when one aspect overwhelms the other? Do more successful films maintain both equally? King (film and TV studies, Brunel Univ., U.K.; Mapping Reality: An Exploration of Cultural Cartographies) considers these questions in his curiously complex examination of what makes the current crop of epic films work. At the same time, he takes into account the effect of frontier mythology on the most triumphant of these films. His argument here is sketchy at best but still has merit, implying, for example, that Westerns worked with American moviegoers because they traditionally identified with films that pitted an idealistic, questing hero against a villain who attempted to thwart him. King admits that the spectacle/frontier mythology connection is "slippery," yet he must be commended for blazing a trail into largely unexplored film theory. Recommended for academic library film and media collections.DDavid M. Lisa, Wayne P.L., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

King (Brunel Univ., UK) finds significant "thematic structures . . . amid the extravagances of contemporary Hollywood"--i.e., the mindless special-effects film. Twister and Independence Day draw on the American frontier mythology, where an elemental force operates as "both lethal danger and potential source of redemption." In Jurassic Park and Titanic the "natural" realm is juxtaposed to the negative complex of artifice and technology, threatening the values of the nuclear family and a fluid, classless society, respectively. In the space version of the frontier, machine eclipses humanity in 2001, but brash heroics return in the Star Wars cycle, between which poles The Right Stuff (1983) strikes its noncommercial balance. Explosion-happy films (The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Rock) provide "a measured and enjoyable game of knowing and not knowing, concealment and revelation." Spectacle reinforces narrative dynamics. Apocalypse Now and Saving Private Ryan visit the war frontier with aspirations to "artistic imagination" and "authenticity" but still valorize the maverick hero who transcends the institution. Terminator 2 typifies the "millennium dread" imaged in films featuring major destruction and the threat of total destruction. King concludes by extending his analysis to the visceral context of theme parks and video games. King's insightful, close reading of the subject films leavens his academic tone. Graduates through professionals. M. Yacowar University of Calgary


Table of Contents

"Frontier" Narrative and Spectacle in Twisterand
Independence Day
Digital Dinosaurs: From T-Rex to Titanic
The Final Frontier: Space Fictions
Maximum Impact: Action Films
Seriously Spectacular: "Authenticity" and "Art" in the War Epic
Apocalypse, Maybe: Pre-Millennial Disaster Movies
"Frontier" Narrative and Spectacle in Twisterand Independence Day
Digital Dinosaurs: From T-Rex to Titanic
The Final Frontier: Space Fictions
Maximum Impact: Action Films
Seriously Spectacular: "Authenticity" and "Art" in the War Epic
Apocalypse, Maybe: Pre-Millennial Disaster Movies

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