Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 15, 2024

Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour makes the whole theater shimmer

By MARIANA FERREIRA | October 29, 2023

tswift-photo

PAOLO V / CC BY 2.0 DEED

Taylor Swift has changed the film industry by bypassing major production companies and distributing the film directly to theaters.

There is an infestation. No, it’s not the Paris bedbugs. It’s Taylor Swift. You’ve all heard of her. She’s on the radio, she’s on your Instagram feed, she is everywhere. 

Pop, country and alternative superstar, Swift released a concert film of her very popular Eras Tour called Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour on Oct. 13, and I made sure I got those tickets as fast as I could. 

To give some background, Swift has put out 10 different albums (and four additional re-recordings). Since each album changes drastically in theme and musical style, Swift’s fans, or Swifties, call each of them different eras. Hence, the Eras Tour. The concert goes through 10 eras, spanning over 17 years of music. 

Excitement is an understatement to describe what I was feeling when I went to the theater. I haven’t been to the Eras Tour concert, so this felt like my long-lost opportunity to finally experience it.

Even though many expected this to be a concert experience, to me, it felt more like a sing-along. There wasn’t much dancing, and I couldn’t hear many people in the crowd. This can be a bonus for those who want to enjoy the visual aspects of the film, but a letdown for the viewers who expected to get to live out the experience of seeing the Eras Tour at a much cheaper price. If anything, this experience made me yearn for the live concert experience even more. 

Apart from that, as a concert movie, it was fantastic. The director, Sam Wrench, made sure the character, beat and feel of each song translated to the film. From the editing to the cinematography, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour was a love letter to the fans and their passion for Swift’s discography. 

For me, every part up until about the halfway point was fun. I was singing along to songs from Lover, Fearless and Evermore that I hadn't listened to in a while, while appreciating the choreography and the cinematic aspects of the movie. I sang along, I ate my popcorn and I even tried to dance along here and there. 

Then Reputation came. 

The feel of the room changed. My friend who barely listens to Swift shot up in her seat. Excitement was a blanket covering the room. 

The room went silent as we watched Swift walk down the long blacked-out stage, and the beginning beat of “Are You Ready For It?” began playing. The unique lighting, the addition of fire to the special effects and the music made it feel like Reputation was in a world of its own. Unmatched by the other eras, Reputation was like a shot of adrenaline that kept up the energy for the audience through the rest of the concert.

Reputation was both incredible and incredibly short. Yet with only four songs, Reputation takes the cake for the most memorable of the eras as portrayed on the screen. Wrench does a great job at making sure the editing correlates with the music, making the cuts quicker and aligning them to the beat. On top of this, the cinematography makes Swift look greater than life, and the lighting in Reputation differs from every other era.

Swift then mellowed the crowd while performing her Speak Now single “Enchanted” and proceeded to dazzle the room with Red. The latter not only included a beautiful and lengthy performance of “All Too Well (10 Minute Version),” but also an emotional moment between Swift and Bianka Bryant, daughter of late NBA star Kobe Bryant, as Swift handed her a “22” hat, a beloved Eras tour tradition where a single person in the audience is given the special gift from Swift herself.  

The beginning of the Folklore era was marked by her beautifully intimate performance of “The 1.” However, I cannot speak much on the visual aspects since a good portion of it, for me, was obscured by the tears in my eyes. During this particular part of the film, Swift carried the audience through the themes of grief, betrayal and forgiveness that characterize that era, squashing the idea that Folklore would be an album without many dynamic and exciting stage performances. 

She tied up the end with 1989 and Midnights, with a small interlude in between the two to perform two surprise songs. Swift often uses this time in the show to perform songs that are not on the setlist, and with the release of the movie, many were speculating what two she would pick to be in the film. “Our Song” and “You’re On Your Own Kid” were given the privilege. 

The Eras tour is not only a breakthrough as a tour itself, projected to become the highest grossing tour of all time, but also marks a milestone in the film industry. 

See, before making the film, Swift consulted with the SAG-AFTRA, or the Actors’ Guild, to make sure her film was in line with the strike demands, and, from that, she was able to come to an interim agreement with them allowing her to make the film, distribute it and promote it. Not only that, but as a stab to major production companies, Swift opted to go past them and join with AMC Studios directly to distribute the film in theaters around the world, making the radical move to undermine the role of major studios.

The bottom line is: She changed the way movies in the future will be distributed to movie theaters around the world. Swift showed smaller production companies and independent filmmakers that, if you have enough funding and support, large and scary production companies are not needed to distribute your film. 

How will this change the film industry? Only time will tell, but it is clear that this possibility, in conjunction with the upset from the ongoing strike, might just be enough to change how the film industry operates. 

And who did that? Taylor Swift. Love her or hate her, she’s a mastermind.


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