Movies improving: Objective of Subjective?

Movies Aren’t Improving, Your Attention Span Is Just Waning

Are films objectively or subjectively improving over time?

Quinn White

Since the 1920s, film has been a prominent source of entertainment for the public. Starting with the intrigue of the silent film style, films objectively improved when sound began to be incorporated into the creation of films – and here's why.

Silent films can only tell the viewer so much! With the incorporation of sound, the central concept of films is better understood, lessons are more easily portrayed, and overall richness in terms of both story and character development is greatly aided by the incorporation of spoken dialogue. It is because of these reasons that one can say the incorporation of sound objectively increased the quality of films.

On the contrary, in more recent years, with the creation of films that incorporated sound being produced for decades on decades already, movies are pushed out of Hollywood each year with the goal of profitability. With high-quality animation, 3-D vision, and other experimental forms of cinema development, is it safe to say that film has objectively improved or is Hollywood attempting to appeal to the waning attention spans of more recent generations?

Living in a time where media consumption is the highest it's ever been, it's safe to say that attention spans – especially in terms of the media we choose to consume – have waned and demanded a greater number of stimuli to keep us intrigued. While the spectacle of "new" makes everything seem as though it's improved, that's not always the case.

As Hollywood films have begun to incorporate more impressive forms of animation in movies, society seems to think that this is an indication of films improving alongside the adaptation of new technologies.

In my own experience, the quality of a film isn't based on the spectacle it can provide or the amount of "oohs" and "ahhs" I hear in the audience. Rather, the quality of a film is about the richness of the storyline, what lessons we can learn from the characters and their experiences, and the stylistic beauty of the writing behind the dialogue spoken in each scene.

Next time you view a movie and feel as though it's the gateway to the next big, objective improvement in the cinema realm, ask yourself, is it really an improvement or does it better cater to your waned attention span?

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