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The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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February 22, 2024

“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is the bare minimum (and that’s okay)

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@taylorswift
What’s most important to know about “The Eras Tour” is that it’s not just a movie; it’s Taylor Swift, the pop star, the experience and the must-see event all rolled into one.

Amid her worldwide “Eras Tour,” Taylor Swift has found a way to bring her must-see concert to those who can’t attend in person. With its international debut, her concert film, aptly titled “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is the latest installment in the pop star’s expansive empire. What’s most important to know about “The Eras Tour” is that it’s not just a movie; it’s Taylor Swift, the pop star, the experience and the must-see event all rolled into one.

Engaging with this unique film as a singular piece of art is to engage with it incorrectly. As a solo piece, it’s nothing special, just a straightforward concert film. There’s surface-level enjoyment, but the film seems more meant for Swift’s passionate fanbase. Those who have witnessed the careful construction of Swift’s persona over the years will recognize and appreciate each song, each era and every detail of the experience. Even after cutting a few songs, the runtime spans nearly three hours, but the length is a selling point, as Swift’s fans continue to affirm their unwavering loyalty by embracing scale and size.

For those who aren’t Taylor Swift devotees or for those who attended the live concert, the film may prove a lackluster outing. Taylor and her collaborators made the movie for people who couldn’t attend the tour in person, and it serves that purpose. However, the film has virtually nothing to offer viewers that the real concert could not. There is no attempt to turn Swift’s concert into something greater. The filmmaking and presentation are entirely plain, and while that’s somewhat acceptable, it’s disappointing for anyone wanting something more.

That said, Swift is still a tremendous performer. Even in a film that doesn’t amplify her inherent star prowess, her talent shines through. Swift is a master of spectacle, giving fans exactly what they want and making them feel appreciated and grateful. It’s somewhat electrifying to be on the receiving end of her generosity, and it’s part of what makes her live show such a phenomenon.

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Her original concert contained such impressive coordination, the result of not just the work of perfecting a stadium tour but also the culmination of Swift’s career. By splitting the concert into “eras,” she takes the audience through her evolution as an artist and highlights each accomplishment, celebrating her entire discography. It’s a simple, effective approach to the structure of a concert.

With such a solid foundation, it’s unfortunate that the film seems fixed on the same portrait of Swift for the entire runtime, with almost no focus on elements like the crowd or band members. There’s no attempt to change things up, and without a sense of purposeful direction, the film feels frustratingly out of sync with its central performance. It’s just a repetitive cycle of wide, close and mid shots quickly cut between to give the illusion of rhythm and movement. However, the limitations of these finer technical aspects aren’t enough to hamper most viewer’s enjoyment. People are there to see a concert, not a film, and the looks are visually appealing enough to work. However, with Swift soon making her feature film debut as a director for Searchlight Pictures, it would’ve been a great opportunity for her to take a more ambitious approach to a concert film.

The most genuine complexity the film offers is a presentation of Swift as a pop icon and a figure of worship. Surrounded by ardent fans, she is perfection, elevated even above those alongside her on stage. In the choreography, Swift is almost a conductor, directing and bending her backup dancers to her will. It’s interesting to watch, but overall, the film lacks a distinct point of view. 

At the end of the day, the basics are sufficient, and fans will be happy to witness Swift’s talents in a large-scale venue with fellow lovers and fanatics alike. Swift is an extremely skilled artist who deserves to be taken seriously by everyone. However, Swift is also a brand, and “The Eras Tour” concert film is a reminder that, for better or worse, her brand sometimes takes precedence in her output.

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About the Contributor
Henry Dupree, Opinion/Entertainment Writer
Grade 11 Why did you join The B&W? To write about movies. What is your favorite song? Float On by Modest Mouse

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