Cinema is a pastime that people have loved for decades. No matter the film, there always seems to be an audience for it. When examining classic films, it seems that they are always more revered and beloved than most modern movies.
There are undeniably more movies that would be considered “must-see” or “classic” films for movie buffs from the 1960s than there are from the 2000s. Movies had a different magic about them earlier on. They were made differently, thought about differently and even marketed differently. There are good reasons that the films of earlier decades are considered classics.
7 Films Had Better Pacing
There is rarely a film made today that runs for less than two hours, with many of the even coming closer to three. The pacing of the films tends to be slower, even dragging at some points, almost as if they are drawn out to suit an industry-standard runtime.
Now this isn’t to say some movies don’t need a longer runtime. Lord Of The Rings deserved its length, as did Spider-Man: No Way Home, and No Time To Die. These ran at two hours 58 minutes, two hours 28 minutes and two hours 43 minutes respectively. Classic films tend to be shorter and make better use of their on-screen minutes. They progress the story at a quicker pace, but still manage to engage the audience and build tension.
6 There Were Simpler Storylines
Most of the storylines of classic films are incredibly straightforward, but they don’t neglect tension or intrigue. Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope was shot on a single set. Rope focused on a dinner party where two people had just pulled off, in their opinion, the perfect murder. Rope was engaging and incredibly tense, but a very simple concept.
It’s A Wonderful Life is another simple yet extremely compelling movie. It’s A Wonderful Life focuses on the life of one man and the impact he had on his community. It doesn’t try to be more than what it is, simply letting the actors and the script speak for itself.
5 There Was Less Filler
Many films today have a tremendous amount of filler. There is a countless amount of screen time that could be cut from many movies. The Transformers movie franchise is a great example of a strong IP that has so much filler, it is hard to tell what the story is. Even the controversial Zack Synder’s Justice League has an unnecessary four hour runtime.
Large budgets and a desire to create longer movies has become a trend, so many major blockbusters feel bloated and much of their movie isn’t essential to the plot. Classic films tend to be shorter and therefore get to their point much quicker.
4 Took Bigger Story Risks
Earlier films took incredibly big risks. Charlton Heston’s Planet Of The Apes is an amazing example of this. Planet Of The Apes was made in 1968, and it was an outrageous and incredibly ambitious movie. The ape costumes hold up incredible well, and stand to let the audience believe the presence of apes on screen.
Planet Of The Apes did so well that there were four sequels made, an almost unprecedented number for that time. Planet Of The Apes must have been a big risk, a risk that Hollywood doesn’t seem to take as frequently anymore. Remakes and reboots are very on-trend, so anything risky and original tends to be drowned out at the box office. Classic films were far more risky, which benefited the audience in a big way.
3 Less Focus On Building Franchises
Many film producers today are looking to build their own movie franchise, the latest MCU or Star Wars saga. This has lead to a desperate grab for any well-known IP to rush to turn it into a major blockbuster franchise. Classic films were focused on just making a great movie, and less focused on how many sequels they could develop.
The classic monster movies of the 1930s are an excellent example. Each one stands on its own as a masterclass in costume design and storytelling. But, there was no thought to develop a shared universe or create a never-ending franchises of films, even if many people consider the movies to be connected. The desire to create and entertain was the overriding drive of the films.
2 More Focus On Good Stories Rather Than Large Spectacles
Movies today are all about spectacle and excitement. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing sometimes, every audience wants a high octane action movie, or a fun and adventurous superhero film. But those movies don’t always stand out as classics, even if they are fantastic movies. Spectacle can be used correctly for sure, Avengers: Infinity War proves that spectacle can be paired amazingly with storytelling.
Not even giant robots can help to save the plot of any Transformer film, but the action sequences are enough to keep the audience engaged. Classic films tended to build tension and excitement through storytelling, rather than large scale special effects.
1 Little To No CGI Used
For some classic movies, CGI wasn’t yet invented. Frankly, this worked in their favor. CGI can either be the biggest help to a movie, or its absolute downfall. Star Wars and Avatar mostly used CGI and practical effects to create a more authentic experience. This allows the movie to be appreciated for longer, since special effects tend to look better for longer than CGI does.
Bad CGI can ruin the experience of a film and remove the viewer from the immersion. Classic films have some of the best practical effects, because they either didn’t have CGI to fall back on, or they simply knew how to utilize it better. The lack of CGI may seem dated, but shows truer creativity.
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