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Visions of the Apocalypse: Spectacles of Destruction in American Cinema [Hardcover]

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Item description for Visions of the Apocalypse: Spectacles of Destruction in American Cinema by Wheeler Winston Dixon...

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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.68" Width: 6.08" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   1.1 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 27, 2003
Publisher   Wallflower Press
ISBN  1903364388  
ISBN13  9781903364383  

Availability  0 units.

More About Wheeler Winston Dixon

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Wheeler Winston Dixon is the James Ryan Endowed Professor of Film Studies, Chair of the Film Studies Program, and professor of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, as well as Editor-in-Chief of the "Quarterly Review of Film and Video." He has published numerous books on the subject of cinema.

Wheeler Winston Dixon currently resides in Lincoln, in the state of Nebraska. Wheeler Winston Dixon was born in 1950.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Movies > General
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Movies > History & Criticism

Reviews - What do customers think about Visions of the Apocalypse: Spectacles of Destruction in American Cinema?

Certainly a great book by a top mind... with one single flaw.  Mar 16, 2008
I always found it fascinating how American audiences (and film makers) love the cinematic spectacles of self destruction. From the great San Francisco to the discreet On the Beach all the way to the more recent Deep Impact (Special Collector's Edition), The Day After Tomorrow (Two-Disc All-Access Collector's Edition), Cloverfield [Theatrical Release] and I Am Legend (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition) (not forgetting the once-controversial The Day After, naturally).

I, for example, freely admit that I love those films. And I love them perhaps because of my personal taste for (among many other things) the radically different premise they put in front of us: the vision of a world you dot see every day. And more important: it's not for real... no strings attached.

And if we decide to focus our study just on that angle alone, I am sure we can identify many trends going on today. And they all represent big meals for those who care to dine. They would all make great subjects for serious study.

That was exactly what I was expecting when I bought this great book.

Mr. Dixon has a great knowledge of films, meaning that he is an experienced viewer... and he backs everything he says with the right data and the actual numbers. I will not try to summarize the book... but basically, what he offers is a long and valid (but somehow debatable - that's what I think) reflection on how the Hollywood film industry in particular (and all the other cultural industries in general) function today AND they way they drive (and shape) its audience towards certain... let's say "tastes".

And Mr Dixon does that very well.

The big major flaw, in my modest opinion, is that... from page one all the way to the end, Mr Dixon's very precise analysis left a bitter taste of prejudice and discrimination under my tongue against commercial Cinema. Maybe that's because I myself teach Film Production (and work in that area) and therefore (maybe), have a different view on the matter. What I feel is that Mr. Dixon violently criticizes an Industry (and a system of things) he clearly dislikes without taking some time and distance to see a bigger, broader picture.

And that analysis make up for 90% of the book. It IS a great analysis... but it comes from someone who seems to have picked just one side. I agree with him on most everything. But I miss the other side. I believe the things Mr. Dixon criticizes have their own reason of existing. They do fill some void. He and I may not like them (it may not be our personal taste). But we have to understand why they are there.

Sometimes, the great scholar becomes a (I wish I wouldn't have to use the word) snob critic when he starts throwing adjectives like "awful" to films that are much more than JUST that. At a certain point, several films and people get classified upon adjectives and terms that seems prejudicial. I'm not saying one cannot express his own feelings. But hardly that easily in the middle of such a great analysis.

I was expecting a different book... specially because the analysis of today's big self destruction spectacles was not fully accomplished.

BUT I still strongly recommend this book because (even after all I've pointed) Mr. Dixon DOES give us an astounding job. Really. It's a great book. His reflections on 9/11, its media coverage and the impact it had on American Cinema is top notch. His views on War Cinema are quite excellent.

Again: a great book.

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