New Narrative Depths? Spectacle and Narrative in Blockbuster Cinema Revisited
The article aims to tease out an implicit, possibly even instinctive, assumption about why big-budget blockbuster storylines come up short compared to other kinds of culturally sanctioned narratives. Briefly, the assumption is that there is a distinct difference between stories that are simply a pretext for a series of isolated attractions and stories that are guided by some greater predefined purpose or guiding idea. If we look more closely at it, this presumption throws up some surprising and paradoxical findings. My hypothesis is that this line of reasoning has tended to seep into the debate about classical and postclassical Hollywood cinema. The article argues that we should not take this assumption for granted, and that it has confused the debate about historical changes in Hollywood films. However, by restating the opposition between blockbuster narratives and more prestigious story-types in different terms, we can study blockbuster cinema from a more productive perspective than has been the case so far.
Nordic Council of Ministers, Nordicom
Nordicom Review 30 (2009) 2, pp. 141-157