So for some context before the discussion begins; Apple TV+ is the company’s latest leap into the video streaming service market. It was announced at the “It’s Showtime” event on March 25 at the Steve Jobs theatre in Cupertino, California. As predicted, Apple had an array of celebrity appearances at the event from Jennifer Anniston and Sara Bareilles to J.J. Abrams and the living awesomeness that is none other than queen Oprah Winfrey.
Now that’s all well and good, but one of the main celebrities that’s planning to contribute to Apple’s enticing library of original content is director Steven Spielberg. Though rumours were circulating, Spielberg’s appearance at the Apple event in March came as a surprise to many as he notoriously commented on the fact that Roma (Netflix’s critically acclaimed original movie) should not be eligible for the Best Picture nomination at this year’s Academy Awards. Fortunately – for him, maybe – Green Book controversially took home the gong for Best Picture that evening, probably leaving Mr. Spielberg with a smug and rather proud look on his face. “Once you commit to a television format, you’re a TV movie” he said and that “movie theaters need to be around forever.” Now, I don’t think anyone would disagree with him on the latter basis, but Roma – of which I personally though was a masterpiece in film-making and did have a movie theater release also – is most definitely a cinematic movie. The cinematography, sound and lighting design and even the performances themselves are all like a homage to a classic 1970s Mexican-based and made movie. Though it’s a very exciting time for television at the moment, having the skill of transporting the viewer to the story’s era through the filming mediums as well as contextual plot is something very hard to achieve on the small screen.
Now when we all think of Steven Spielberg, we think about all these huge cinematic classics from the likes of Jaws, Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones so I think it’s going to be interesting to see what he’s going to bring to Apple TV+ after his previous statements about the likes of Roma. Will he stick to those types of movies that everyone remembers or go for a more humanistic project that might be more suitable for television?
Like Ashton Kutcher said in the more disliked Steve Jobs biopic (Jobs) “this is for some grandma out in Nebraska.” That’s who Apple TV+ is for. It’s a service where people can see quality entertainment all from the comfort of their homes. The accessibility of a computer is much quainter for some people than a 50 mile drive to the nearest movie theater. And the addition of Apple TV+ on Samsung Smart TVs, Fire TV sticks and more makes it all-the-more accessible for users living in remote areas.
Something that really got me irritated at the Apple event for this new service was the USP for this streaming service is storytelling of quality. I absolutely love Apple and everything the company stands for, but this really got me mad. It’s as if Apple unbeknownst was demeaning the works of other extraordinary artists and up-and-coming talents on other streaming platforms. Fun fact, this is actually the industry that I work in and the exclusivity and elitism that Apple portrayed here could (but hopefully not) deflate the hopes, dreams and creative needs of actors, directors and writers if they continue to market Apple TV+ so harshly like so.
So we see that with the good comes the bad and though we don’t exactly know for sure what Apple TV+ could mean for the movie industry. Will its accessibility and most likely friendly UI appeal to the most average Joe around? Will the service’s elitism demean the works of other artists trying to get their work out online, rewinding us back in time? All we know is, we trust that Apple logo. We know we’re in good hands when we see that 2D white piece of bitten fruit on our screens. AND IT EXCITES US. Apple TV+ is due to be released by the end of the year with pricing also yet to be announced.