Paramount Pictures to reveal secrets of Oren Peli's Area 51

Area 51After reading the news from Variety that Paramount Pictures has secured the U.S. distribution rights to Area 51the directorial follow-up by Oren Peli to this year’s surprise hit Paranormal Activity which Paramount will release sometime next year—I can’t help but wonder how Peli’s reinvention of the “found footage” narrative structure that worked so well for Cannibal Holocaust and The Blair Witch Project could work for some of the other movies coming out in 2010:

February 5, 2010: Dear John – The love letters detailing the tumultuous relationship between main characters John Tyree (Channing Tatum) and Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfrieid) are replaced by “recovered” .mov files of their iChat conversations, complete with chat and text messages where John lovingly says to Savannah: “Wanna cyber? lol”

March 19, 2010: Season of the Witch – The tale of a medieval knight (Nicolas Cage) whose mission is to deliver a witch to her ultimate doom would be told entirely through tapestries. Movie tie-in merchandise would include a “do it yourself” shuttle and loom.

May 7, 2010: Iron Man 2 – Played by Robert Downey, Jr., Tony Stark’s vlog would contain lots of references to starlets he dated while he also pouts about that upstart Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) stealing his schtick.

Honestly, the bloom is starting to fall a little bit off of Peli’s rose for me. I thought it was so cool that he reinvigorated that kind of narrative structure for the 21st century (and no, I don’t think Cloverfield counts); however, upon hearing that the second movie he’s making is utilizing the same technique (but was made for more money) I’m starting to wonder if he’s a one-trick pony.

Not to say that one can’t make a perfectly good career out of making the same kind of movie over and over again. Look at Alfred Hitchcock or Billy Wilder, for goodness’ sake. But I think that the forgiveness I extend to Messrs. Hitchcock and Wilder is due to the fact that there’s a huge body of work to examine rather than just two movies.

I guess I’m just going to have to give Peli one more chance, right?

Posted on November 30, 2009 at 06:31 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: News

4 Responses

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  1. Written by Bobcat2022
    on 2009-11-30 at 22:40
    Permalink

    Well blogged. I'm curious, however, what has you say that while Paranormal Activity “reinvigorated that [“found footage”] kind of narrative structure for the 21st century”, Cloverfield didn't even qualify as an entry in the field . Love to hear more from you on that subject!

  2. Written by arkonbey
    on 2009-12-01 at 10:22
    Permalink

    The whole 'found footage' thing, I think has moved from 'style' to 'schtick'. With Blair Witch, it was groundbreaking, but now it just feels like lazy filmmaking to me. Found footage can work in small doses very well; but, like salt in food or bass in music too much is annoying.

    And Cloverfield left me wanting to watch Derzu Uzala again just to enjoy a camera that doesn't move for minutes at a time.

    You might be onto something with the tapestry film, though…

  3. Written by TrishaLynn77
    on 2009-12-02 at 00:42
    Permalink

    For me, the appeal of the “found footage” films is the blurring of the line between reality and fiction. You're not supposed to see the edits, the continuity has to be spot-on, etc. Most of all, it has to be really, really believable.

    Before I saw The Blair Witch Project, my then-boyfriend and I saw the Sci-Fi “documentary” and as a result, I completely believed that the whole thing was real, and the ending of the movie almost made me wet my pants it was so good. That's also why when I was working at a media database company and the anniversary release of Cannibal Holocaust fell onto my desk for processing, I worked as fast as I could and read as much about the history of the film as I could so that I wouldn't be tempted to watch it and believe.

    A movie which features a scene where the head of the Statue of Liberty goes bouncing through the streets that I'm supposed to take seriously when I can hop onto a subway and in 30 minutes be looking right at the intact statue? As the French say, “Pfuit.”

  4. Written by TrishaLynn77
    on 2009-12-02 at 05:42
    Permalink

    For me, the appeal of the “found footage” films is the blurring of the line between reality and fiction. You're not supposed to see the edits, the continuity has to be spot-on, etc. Most of all, it has to be really, really believable.

    Before I saw The Blair Witch Project, my then-boyfriend and I saw the Sci-Fi “documentary” and as a result, I completely believed that the whole thing was real, and the ending of the movie almost made me wet my pants it was so good. That's also why when I was working at a media database company and the anniversary release of Cannibal Holocaust fell onto my desk for processing, I worked as fast as I could and read as much about the history of the film as I could so that I wouldn't be tempted to watch it and believe.

    A movie which features a scene where the head of the Statue of Liberty goes bouncing through the streets that I'm supposed to take seriously when I can hop onto a subway and in 30 minutes be looking right at the intact statue? As the French say, “Pfuit.”

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