An observation: It’s a striking coincidence that next year, 2015, a year which is already being pre-emptively celebrated/maligned for being the biggest one ever for commercial American cinema, falls on the centenary of the movie that started it all.
D.W. Griffith’s The Birth Of A Nation came to life in 1915, and with it so did the concept of a long-form, successful (both from a commercial and creative perspective) cinema. While spectacle and the cinema had existed for almost 20 years prior to this, it was forever changed by the gumption of Griffith and co. who pushed for movies that more closely temporally resemble the films we’re familiar with today, and sought to expand the canvas internally too, developing cinematic language and honing technique beyond all relative semblance. It’s apt then, that we’re already being being promised a vintage year of similar sea change 100 years on, next year in 2015.
Star Wars returns, as does Jurassic Park, but it’s the next iteration of the comic-book movie, in films like Batman Vs. Superman/Superman Vs. Batman and The Avengers sequel Age Of Ultron that the overt showmanship of old is most clearly present. It was Christopher Nolan, the producer of Man Of Steel, the predecessor to next Summer’s Superman movie who referred to his own The Dark Knight Rises as “the biggest production since the silent era”, reinforcing this notion that the technique of old is firmly in the mind of some of the current generation of architects behind the current era of mass-scale entertainment.
It’s nothing more than a coincidence, but a neat one at that, that the spectacle and scale of the cinema of the first chapter of the movies remains so firmly attached to the wonder of now.