25 February 2011

Stop trying to shock me

I've never appreciated the media's attempts to shock me into liking things. I find the constant bombardment of extreme scenarios annoying, and I tend to avoid ostentatious ceremonies and performances (see award shows). Also, I find horror films laughable, Reality TV makes me want to shrug my shoulders and say "eh," and commercials warning of impending heart attacks or plaque build-up rarely impact my thoughts. I do, however, love suspense, but I prefer the kind with substance rather than eerie music interrupted by a bursts of sound.

Why am I talking about this now?

I watched Dorian Gray.

I'm a little behind on this one, but that seems to be a trend for me right now. Anyway, I liked the book quite a bit. Oscar Wilde's portrayal of Victorian duplicity is admirable. And even though I was a bit bored during the ridiculously long inventory of all of Dorian's extravagance, the payoff at the end was more than enough.

Wilde's novel was intended to shock people (and it succeeded), so I even began the movie intending to be shocked. The first few moments were excellent. They were shocking, but promised explanation, and (knowing the book) I recognized it as a great place to start. It set the tone and the mood perfectly, and I settled in for a good movie. For the next half hour I admired the sets, costumes, dialogue, and even the acting.

But once they were through with the novel's substance they began their self-indulgent portrayal of Dorian's moral demise. Nothing beyond what Wilde alluded to, but annoying to have to sit through. For the next half hour, you don't see hedonism in any form other than sexual immorality, which might be the reason some people will watch the film.

The rest of the movie wasn't too awful, but the mood was ruined. Why did they have to take a half a chapter's worth of material and balloon it into 30 minutes? I realized that error meant they didn't have the proper time to do the characters of Sybil and Basil justice. They were created for balance, and without them, the movie lacked . . . substance. It became a cliche and a disappointment.

I'm not the only one annoyed by this, am I?