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What is Popular Culture? And how are ‘alternate reality’ films are an example of this. By Ryan Geoghegan
What am I going to talk about? In this presentation, I want to show the reasons, as to why I believe ‘alternate reality’ films are an example of popular culture. I also want to discuss why I believe that the ‘alternate reality’ film genre has become an example of ‘Mass Media’. I also want to discuss the topic of popular culture briefly, and give my definition of this. I will be looking at several different examples. These examples are all films from this specific film genre. These examples include... The Hunger games (2012) Divergent (2014) Avatar (2009) The Host (2013)
My definition of Popular Culture I believe Popular culture to be a collection of views, trends, and ideas in today's society; I also believe that the media world we live in is versatile in a way, which means that popular culture is constantly changing and reshaping in order to suit the Mass audience. In 2014 we live in a world where technology rules the world. The improvement in internet speed means that we as consumers, can now connect to other media consumers from around the globe. So what does this mean to us? This means that British popular culture is now a lot more influenced by global surroundings (Americanization), and that genre's such as 'alternate reality' are part of a trend that will only continue to grow.
So why have ‘alternative reality’ film’s became so popular, so sudden? Technology? I believe the advancement in technology, to be the main reason why ‘alternate reality’ films have became so popular. If you look back to 1977, George Lucas decided to reshape the order of the Star Wars trilogies, so that he could continue to develop his films, whilst also waiting for the required technology. In 1999, he got his wish and the technology was available to create Star Wars – The Phantom menace. I believe this to be the case now with producers, as I do not believe the technology for ‘alternate reality’ film’s was fully available until the start of the 21st Century.
In 2009, advancement’s in technology enabled film producer James Cameron, to create Avatar. Avatar is an modern example of the ‘alternate reality’ genre’. Avatar was the top grossing film in 2009, raking in over $749,000,000, almost double it’s biggest competitor, Transformers : Revenge of the fallen. I believe that the success of this film, inspired film producers and directors to become more aware of the ‘alternate reality’ genre. Since the release of Avatar, we have seen films such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Host become big hitters at the box office. Avatar
How is the ‘alternate reality’ genre an example of Popular Culture? To framework my argument here I will look at the theorist John Storey. John Storey broke down the idea of Popular culture into six different categories. He did this so that people would be able to gain a better understanding of what makes something part of popular culture, instead of just looking at popular culture as one separate meanings. Storey’s six definitions of Popular culture were... Quantitative Inferiority Mass culture From the people Hegemony Post modernism.
Mass Culture Mass culture refers to a culture that is widely spread through the mainstream media. In today's society this means platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, national radio and national television. Storey defines popular culture as “well liked and favored by many” (Storey , pg 6). An example of an ‘alternative reality’ film being “well liked and favored by many, is The Hunger games. The hunger games has gained a rating of 7.3 on IMDB, and was also the third biggest grossing film of 2012. The Hunger Games, has actors such as Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence. These actors are known for roles in other mainstream films, such as films in the comedy genre. The films in this genre are clearly unisex. Producers do this in order to connect with a bigger target audience.
Quantitative an ‘alternative reality’ film that can be seen as quantitative, is The Host. The Host was a book before the film, and is part of a book and film trilogy. The Host has a film rating of 5.2 on IMDB, and the book version has a rating of 8/10 + on various reviewing websites. Many critics have said that the book version of the host is a lot better than its film counterpart. The Host film has made more money than the book version, even though the ratings are significantly lower. This is an example of Quantitative as, although the film gained a bigger audience and income, ratings of the book were far better than the film. This film is therefore an example of ‘quantity over quality’.
Post Modernism is the sixth of six definitions of popular culture I believe ‘alternative reality’ films to be an adaptation of a previously popular genre ‘disaster movies’ Disaster movies and alternate reality movies, have several similarities. These similarities include, a disastrous storyline, a boy and girl romance and a high use of technology. I believe that disaster movies have become tired and outdated, enabling alternative reality films to become more popular. Postmodernism
Conclusion. In conclusion, I believe firmly that ‘alternative reality’ films are a firm example of popular culture. I have also learnt that some films are difficult to categorise, and can have more than one genre. For example the Ricky Gervais Film – The invention of lying, contains elements of alternative reality, but also elements in comedy. I believe that by completing this assignment, I have gained a stronger idea on what popular culture actually is. I believe I now have a much better understanding of theories and ideas presented by many theorist’s such as , Albert Gramsci, Raymond William’s and John Storey. It is also my firm belief that if it wasn’t for the delay in technological advancements, we would have seen films such as Avatar, and The Hunger Games much earlier than we have done.
References. http://wallbest.info/the-hunger-games-hd-widescreen/ http://www.rakyatnews.my/index.php/20131120110512/analysis/mass-media-plays-vital-role-in-inter-ethnic-relations https://www.itournewyorkcity.com/shop/new-york-cruise-celebrity-pop-culture-bus-tour/
Thanks for watching!