One of the things being a Dad makes me lament is the passing of those times we could go see a film whenever we wanted. Which was plenty.
However I fully intend to see Scott Pilgrim, mostly for work related reasons. This might sound daft, but I think it got things anyone involved in brand communication need to think about very hard and very quickly.
Hollywood is scared. Forget the record revenue figures and look at the actual individual sales for films and you find they are down. One theory is that people that have grown up on multi platform doodahs and video games just don't enjoy linear, one way 90 minute pieces of entertainment (and there's downloading of course).
What is Hollywood doing? Rather than embracing a bit of complexity and treating their audience as the sophisticated people they mostly they are, they trot out the same old blockbuster crap, aimed squarely at the lowest common denominator.
They turn to ever more incredible effects, refusing to accept that when people get used to the spectacle, they soon found out you've left out an actual story. I'm not a Harry Potter fan, but it's the story that people love. The Dark Knight may have been a sequel to Batman Begins, but it was the story, the depth, and the acting that made it...and it didn't even have a happy ending.
Have you seen Robert Altman's The Player? You should. It's bitingly observant - not just about Hollywood but marketing in general.
Does any of this sound familiar? It should to anyone who is still trying to make message based ads, but don't get smug digital people, you're worse. Some of you believe that people will fall in love in the coolness of your technology. when course that Wizard of Oz moment happened long ago. They're seeing behind the curtain and finding nothing but a charlatan. Even worse, some of you know this but know you can still make money selling this to clients - which, all in all, is just as bad as making Transformers 3, or other even more pertinently as far as Scott Pilgrim is concerned, Prince of Persia.
So back to Scott Pilgrim. It's not a film that blatantly rips off a video game, it's a film that IS a videogame. The plotting, editing, aesthetics have as much to do with a video game experience as a movie. It embraces the new culture, it doesn't rip it off or blatantly ignore it.
That's something marketing people really need to learn. Ignoring how people consume and enjoy culture is bad, papering over the cracks with coolness is worse, it has the opposite effect and, most of all, getting involved with stuff they love only works if you do it with 100% commitment.
Bits of Hollywood are starting to get this. The Matrix is one the first, and best examples, of a complex story told across multiple platforms - the films left much for DVD extras etc to fill in, and even more for forums and fansights.
TV is way ahead of course, with multi-layers and channels. From the depth of the Sopranos and The Wire, to the number of platforms Dr Who is now told across.
That's why I got interested in the apparent green light for film version of Stephen King's Dark Tower series. The books are not for everyone, I happen to like them. But a complex story told across 7 books, with yawning backstory for the reader to fill in (or buy the graphic novels if you're that way inclined) with strands that appear in other books, if you can be bothered to read them, just can't be adapted to cinema without losing most of what makes the books good (in some people's opinion.
So they're not. They're filming three movies with on ongoing telly series to wrap around them. Here's hoping there's a video game that complements and adds to the narrative rather than just re-works it.
Of all people, George Lucas seems to be way ahead of the curve. I could write a saga on the prequels and why they were better than received wisdom seems to think, but few would disagree they lost the charm and story of the originals. Yet Lucas has created a mammoth universe you can take as far as you want, through books and games. Some of the games are just shoot em up, but most actually add to the saga and reveal new bits and bobs, if you care about that. And you don't even had to read or play them...you just join in a forum and share with those that do.
Anyway, I'll be interested in Scott Pilgrim because it's a great example ( I hope, I haven't seen it yet but people who have seem to give it the thumbs up) treating your customers with respect and staying relevant. Marketers (and the rest of Hollywood) take note.