In favor of platform cinema, by Elena Neira

Infumable. Bodrio. Showy trash. Pure ‘copy paste’. Tedious and silly. A rehash of things already seen. Did they really spend the money on this? This is a very small selection of the comments that reached my ‘feed’ of Twitter the opening weekend of ‘Tomorrow’s War’, an Amazon Prime Video production starring Chris Pratt. The film narrates the journey to future of a high school teacher to prevent an alien invasion from wiping out humanity. When I finished it, I thought that I could have found it perfectly in the billboard from the cinemas of any shopping center. That was, at least, the usual destination of this type of ‘popcorn’ productions and entertainment easy. But it was not the case. It’s a platform movie. And this circumstance has faced a standard from which few films come out well. The same type of messages, or others of the same tone, usually appear every time a platform activates its promotional machinery with his latest film bet.

With the T.V. series the platforms seem to have hit the right key. But things change when it comes to films. Just take a walk through Filmaffinity or Rotten Tomatoes to see that there is a certain predisposition of criticism to consider bad any film released on the platform. Direct-to-streaming cinema does not seem to have the brilliance, art, or grace of a film released in large screen. That perception is heir to the ‘direct to DVD’, the fate reserved in the past for those films that sacrificed theatrical release because their quality It did not seem to augur that they could come out of that circuit well. The fact of releasing it directly in the homes made the film have one more journey worthy and, above all, less expensive.

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In many of the reviews I’ve been reading the last few weeks there is an assessment common. Most highlight that the platforms have a kitchen problem, derived from their obsession with please to the audience, limiting in many cases the Liberty from the creators. That production is driven by a service that knows perfectly what we like and what we do not like, they say, gives rise to monstrosities born by the malevolent algorithm. In their heads the creative process is the result of putting in a blender an endless number of elements already seen that, at the time, worked. As if changing the actor, the setting, the time or the obstacle were enough to cheat to those who know about this. Following the path of what you have liked has always been seen as something natural in the movie industry. Sequels, prequels, ‘spin off’, sagas, the fashion of certain actors, roles or genres & mldr; to Hollywood he has always been good at capitalizing on a good I remember to make more money. Platforms, however, seem to lack trade and technique. They have money, but they lack talent. And, above all, they lack the essential element assigned to them by the cinema screen: the incalculable value of the experience. Cinema really challenges. The platform is pleased. Criticism, with its severity, does nothing but put a novice with pretenses. And when they come across a good platform movie, which there are, they cry because it has not been seen in large screen.

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«When you adapt to television format, you become a tv movie. And really, if you’re a good movie, you deserve an Emmy, but not a Oscar». That was how resounding it was Steven Spielberg four years ago when he was asked how he thought Netflix could win an Academy Award. Earlier this year their production company closed a deal to produce films for them. The speech of the industry is changing because it needs to change.

I don’t think all the criticisms of platform movies are undeserved. Many of his premieres do not give for more than a good siesta. Exactly the same as so many other titles that have reached theaters surrounded by massive campaigns and spectacular, the same ones that generate a resounding anger when what you are in front of is a sovereign penny. And those that, many times, have not been criticized so much.

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