The Helvetica Blockbuster

The Arts

Interesting article in the Guardian today reminds us that movies reflect the times in which they are made, and how we’ve arrived at imagination-free clones…

‘The key point about the ‘Helvetica Blockbuster’ (after the standard typeface used on all of them) is that it’s a decadent style, for the twilight of US empire. The subtle fascism and the hollow heroics belong to the decade of botched interventions and disingenuous democracy; they cloak a creeping desperation. Helvetica Blockbuster isn’t rooted in anything real, just faint reverb of mid-20th-century optimism. I’m impatient for China and India’s growing presence on the mainstream film scene: perhaps the collectivism of Chinese culture, or the genre-mashing Bollywood energy can give us a new, dissonant, relevant kind of entertainment.’

That’s perhaps extreme, but clearly Hollywood is in deep trouble when the top film for a month is a reissue of ‘The Lion King’. Autumn, usually a time of thought-provoking adult fare, seems to be offering slim picking indeed this year. We have films about dolphins, the happy side of cancer, baseball, nostalgia for happier times, and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Nemo’ are coming back…

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