Chapter

Post-classical Style?

Barry Langford

in Post-Classical Hollywood

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780748638574
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671076 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638574.003.0012
Post-classical Style?

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Scott Bukatman argues that the special effects-driven science fiction films of contemporary Hollywood are the leading edge of a shift away from the traditionally narrative-focused models of classic Hollywood and towards an immersive hyper-textuality in which the film as such is merely one part of a seamless mesh of ‘collective, immersive experiences’ including theme park rides and virtual reality programmes. Debates around ‘post-classical style’ in contemporary Hollywood have two principal axes. The first concerns the emergence of forms of visual spectacle that appear to mark a pronounced shift away from character-centred linear narrative; in their most extreme forms, offering audiences a disconnected series of ever more massively scaled set pieces which are autonomous, modular and exchangeable elements with little or no relation to plot or character. The second addresses aspects of the heightened, sometimes frenetic — but also extremely diverse — visual style that David Bordwell calls ‘intensified continuity’. A major influence on Hollywood style since the 1980s has been music video.

Keywords: Scott Bukatman; science fiction films; Hollywood; narrative; hyper-textuality; post-classical style; visual spectacle; visual style; intensified continuity; music video

Chapter.  10457 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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