Infinimata Press: Projects: Blowed Up Real Good Dept.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2014-01-19 10:00:00-05:00 No comments

Child's Play: The Degeneration of Blockbusters | Balder and Dash | Roger Ebert

Artists certainly are allowed to make films that only satisfy their own creative pursuits. But blockbusters—more than any other kind of film—are conceived of as a way to entertain and satisfy audiences (so they can make money). Modern spectacles feel like they're built to entertain and satisfy their filmmakers instead. They're not considering who their destruction is actually for anymore. They're just doing it. Or, as Vulture wrote, when it comes to destruction porn, "No one necessarily asks for it; it just kind of happens."

My own reservations about how this unfolded in Man of Steel are actually not what's most on my mind when I think about this.

Right before Flight of the Vajra went to press, I'd gotten feedback from a friend I trusted about the climax of the book, which if filmed might well classify as this kind of blockbuster destruction porn. It bothered me, the more I thought about it, how easily I'd slipped into that mold, and also how easily I'd justified it. This was, I had told myself, the bonbon I was throwing to the people who made it this far and wanted some action. Maybe other people won't be as irritated by it because I attempted to make it a character-centric and not destruction-centric sequence, but I suspect in the end the destruction always wins by default.

A lot of what went into the book was unfortunately built along those lines. I had to find a spot between what I thought was interesting and what I thought your average SF-consuming audience would find interesting. I'm not sure I succeeded. The way to offer people the best of both worlds is not something approximate to the Solomonic solution, where you cut the baby in half; it's a syncretic one, and I've yet to figure out how to do that.

I tell myself the next book will do a better job of spanning both worlds, but again, is it ever really up to me to say that it will work like that? Perhaps the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that will have a finer-grained understanding of how to appeal to both an audience's hunger for adventure and its thirst for something a little deeper, too. But it won't be for me to say. It'll be you.

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