Archive | April, 2012

When the suspension of disbelief becomes disbelief in the suspense. Part 2

17 Apr

So this is part 2. In part 1 I said: “There is this magical moment in cinema where a fantastical plot flops because the extreme becomes a steam of you-know-what.[…]Today I want to point out some great moments in film when they “jumped the shark” or “nuked the fridge” or “surfed the giant villains wave”.

This is the plan for this entry to. New movies, same plot fault; To find that part of a movie when it completely loses me because of being too far fetched and/or too stupid.

Outbreak – Time is of the essence, but they still got plenty of it.

In almost every movie worth watching there is a “clock of doom“. Something terrible is going to happen sometime in the future if the hero do not do something heroic. In scriptwriting circles (an exclusive circle I am a part of *smirk*) this is often called a “call to action”. The time constraint works as both an exciting plot development, but also a great motivation for the protagonist.

The laws of time in real life is rigid. If you are one minute late for the buss, it will probably have left. In movies, one minute can last at least 2-3 minutes and we often accept that. The time, due to adrenaline, seemed long for the characters so we watch 30 seconds of diffusing a time bomb that last for 40-60 seconds. No problem. “Subjective time” etc. But some movies state clearly that time is short, but somehow time was not as short as it seemed because they got to do a whole lot more than is plausible in that time constraint.

Outbreak (1995) is one of those movies. From the get go we are introduced to a very aggressive virus that kills anybody within 48 hours. Character after character get killed from this virus without mercy, but when the love-interest of the hero is infected suddenly everything is possible in that limited timeframe. They can chase an unknown contamination source across country, find how it looks like, bring it to a network, find and capture the monkey, have a great chase scene, fight the american military and the powers that be, find a laboratory and create a cure for an agressive virus to save her. To bad the protagonist didn´t show that same passion when one of his co-workers, played by Kevin Spacey, got infected. Not that the movie bothered confirming that the Spacey character was killed off, ofcourse.

Friday the 13th part 3-12 and remake – “Don´t go into that room, or anywhere because he is everywhere”.

I have seen ALL the Friday the 13th movies (except that one movie with the psychic) so I am kind of an expert on that slasher-franchise *smirk*. At one part, I think around the third movie (or was it the first?) Jason Voorhees (the killer) becomes an all present being, who is everywhere. It´s sort of okay in the 6 through 10 of the sequels as in those movies it get´s established he is some kind of Frankenstein monster (being awaken by lightning in the 6th movie). But in the movies before that he is just a regular “next cabin stalker killer with moma´s boy complexes“.

Sometimes it´s sort of nightmarish and surreal when “Jason is in the closet” and we all know he is there. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it´s just annoying. When the 8th teen has been slayed “just because” it get´s sort of old. One can only scream “don´t go into that room” with passion for that long.

I don´t know when Friday the 13th film series got really stupid, but I would guess around the 5th movie. After that, his godlike killing skills is to stupid to care and to brain dead to even scare teens in EXTREME weed noia. Then again, it´s very subject. Some may arguye that Friday the 13th became really stupid after first minute of the first movie to. Some people!

Who am I kidding! I have basically pointed out the flaw of every single slasher movie out there. Jason, his mother, Freddy, Michael Myers, that gasmask wearing killer of that Valentine killer etc. All those movies have an everpresent killer. I think it may be their point. To show how danger is everywhere all the time. But when these movies think they can do everything, all the time. It just gets annoying. It would be nice if they at least tried to make it feasible.

Star Trek – The Retcon who conned everyone

There sometimes is an unpronounced deal between the fans of a series and the creators. Somethings is as it is.

Let´s say we removed the force in Star Wars for some reason (i.e George Lucas felt like it) what would have happened then? Well, we would have Star Trek. Star Wars is Star Trek with the Force. The empire of Star Wars is the empire of the Klingon’s or Vulcan’s or whatever. Warp speed = hyperspeed. Alien creatures in both universes are humanoids with random stuff in their faces. They are basically the same, except Star Wars is “theistic” and Star Trek is “atheistic” (haven´t thought of that, have you? That´s why I have a college degree in movie analysis and you don´t. *smirk*). So the deal with Star Wars is DON´T REMOVE THE FORCE.

So what deal was broken in Star Trek (2009)?
In short: everything. By having one event in the beginning of the film change time and space and all continium, so that this movie, if seen as cannon, makes all the other movies, series, comics, books, fan-fics, EVERYTHING obsolete (except, perhaps Enterprise).

This one event changed the main characters and the great villain race of the Vulcans was blown away by themselves. Thank you J.J. Abrams. It works in YOUR UNIVERSE (that is Fringe) but now you are playing in someone else´s sandbox and basically spat everyone in their faces.

Star Wars – episode one: The Force explained.

Let´s science it down abit in the masterpice Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999). This movie has a lot of faults to hate. One thing is the annoyingly clumsy creature Jar-Jar. Child heroes who can by luck blow up space-stations. Annoyingly mis-en-scene with too many things going on in the background and disturbingly CG places that is strenuous to the eyes.

But to me, the unforgiving element in the Phantom Menace was giving scientific explanation for magic. The explanation that midichlorians is the biological basis for Force sensitivity, or what not. It doesn´t work at all!

The force´s explained is:

The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” (Star Wars (1977)).

It´s God or something. I dunno. The point is that the force has nothing to do with cells or protein synthesis or RNA or DNA or anything scientific. The Star Wars universe is a fairytale universe, unlike the Star Trek universe that is a humanist-utopia of the future. One is based on fantasy, the other on the lack there of. When one tries to explain too much it just becomes too obvious that it isn´t real. Somethings lose its magic when one tries to show it into the blender of SCIENCE! That´s why we call it magic or miracles and not science or placebo.

Wouldn´t this have been a great explanation for the force:The force is what gives a Jedi its powers. It´s basically placebo and mass-suggestion. We use the illusion of the force to make those stupid people in Anchorhead give us MONEY. LOTs and LOTs of MONEY! And when we have brainwashed them we tell them how evil the empire is, when in fact its the empire that binds the galaxy together. Stupid dessert wampas! .” Yeah. That would be a great and plausibel explanation for the new “freethinker” generation. Keep science away from mystery, adventure and miracles. The terms and symbols do not match.

 

Superman 5 – Now with three times more Super

 

Superman Returns (2006) brakes one rule, unfortunately that is the only rule of Superman. The acheelis heel of the superhero turns out to be a mild allergic reaction.

In every movie, comic, cartoon tv-series of Superman it has been established that nothing can stop him apart from Krytonite. Superman is immortal to almost everything except that one green substance that light like a Chemiluminescence stick.

But in 2006 Superman turned out to inexplicably be resilient to it. In the movie there is a constant “Superman says no to smoking” message, also there is some… I really can´t remember what happened in that movie. But at some time, Lex Luthor (played by Kevin Spacey) makes an island made out entirely of kryptonite, because that is THE ONE THING that can stop Superman. THE ONE THING. That was the point of making that kryptonite-island. So that Superman would be powerless. “Superman will never…” “WRONG!”

Ofcourse our hero saves the day, because as it turned out: all he had to do was fly the Island into space. Superman got a little tired, if I remember correctly. I mean there were Kryptonite all over, so he was tired. Yes, giant plot of a great master mind played by great actor solved by doing what Superman ALWAYS DOES!!! The problem was huge, the solution was “do something because it´s soon time for the credits“.

Fine, I can accept that Superman goes underground, and picks up a giant piece of land. I can accept that that island most have weighed 100000 tons, but when bleeping giant pieces of kryptonite are a few feet away while he is doing it… COME ON!!!

IT´s the one effing rule. ONE! ONE RULE. Nothing more. ONE! He can´t stand kryptonite. And then someone in Hollywood thinks. “Hey, wouldn´t it be like cool if we like made Suppahman do something unbelievable while having kryptonit beside him? Because that´s the one thing he can be not take. Sorry, be relly high now. Rilly. O´reilly. Fox News is so retarded.

Here´s the scene:

In conclusion:

Creative people in Hollywood smoke to much weed and are way to left wing and PC. That said… We can only stand so much mombo jumbo in movies, but bad writing and/or way too much weed and CG can make a movie too far fetch to watch. We can accept a certain amount and then suddenly the illusion of the movie´s plausibility dissaperes. There are some unwritten rules I will now write™ that could sum it up pretty good.

#1) The laws of physics and time applies if not stated a reason not too.
#2) Don´t express a hurry if you ae not gonna stress it,
#3) In sequel world certain things should not be messed with,
#4) If expressing boundless fantasy is your aim, don mix science into it,
#5) Don´t create impossible scenarios that the hero then triumphs over too easily.

Blog 2.0 – You probably thinking now: “If Blog 2.0 is so good at spotting implausibility in plots, how come it ain´t writing big picture blockbusters in Hollywood?” and to that Blog 2.0 answers “SHUT UP!

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When the suspension of disbelief becomes disbelief in the suspense. Part 1

8 Apr

There is this magical moment in cinema where a fantastical plot flops because the extreme becomes a steam of you-know-what. You watch a spy investigate an incredible “larger than life” threat and then suddenly jump tall buildings in a single bounce. It´s that moment when the stalker-murderer of a slasher-flick can be in two places at once after being stabbed four times, shot, electrocuted, blown-up, voodoo cursed, drowned in holy-water and put a blaze with napalm. That special event when everybody around you sighs and the guy talking in the cellphone behind you in the theater isn´t bothering anymore because you know they are going to find each other in the end anyway. Today I want to point out some great moments in film when they “jumped the shark” or “nuked the fridge” or “surfed the giant villains wave”. Call it what you want, but it´s that moment in films when the plot got so effing stupid you become angry. “Why”, you ask? Why go back there? To learn the boundaries of the fantastic! To learn the rules of “This far, but no further

Indiana Jones 4 – And the scull of implausibility.


Most intelligent movie goers know that sequels will not be as good as the original, and they are fine with that to. What sequel watchers want, is more of the same, in a slightly different way that is not a mockery of the first movie or the viewers intellect. How hard can that be?

Very hard, it turned out, as most sequels are annoyingly bad. Especially if the sequel was made in CG-times while the original was made before. There are movie directors, producers and other Hollywood hacks who believe that “Just because we can, we should“. If large buildings can explode, it should. If large creatures can walk out the abyss it must, and if there is any doubt show the implausible some more. Since computer graphics can make any character a superhero. then of course every character should. Even those characters that in former movies where established as regular mortals like you and me.

So it is with most George Lucas movies. Somehow George Lucas thought that adding some computer critters in all of his old movies would be great and so all of the “new” Star Wars originals are a pain to watch when all kinds of distracting things are moving around in the back.

It was fourth title in the Indiana Jones franchise, and expectations should have been low, but when people watch a movie they still try to get involved. Especially if they are a fan of the former established characters. Indiana Jones 4 had all of the wrong elements put into one movie. Not only was the plot horrendous and odd, it had so many implausible events and stupid plot-points I do not know why I watched the whole thing. This movie sucked and Indiana Jones sucked in so many ways we could believe it was a North-Korean prostitute. But the moment in the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull where George Lucas completely lost me was the infamous “Nuking of the fridge“.


Before that scene I thought “not as good as the other onces, but I guess I can stand it“. I accepted animals behaving like humans, and that Nazis became communists and that there seemed to be aliens not religious artifacts he was chasing. But at that magical event, I lost all interest in what happened. I don´t even remember what happened after that, except some images.

Die another day – Surfing the villains wave.

Die Another Day? You better die another day after watching this filth or l
your life would end on a low note.

The laws of physics is sometimes bent in action movies. To my understanding you can´t stop a bullet with you teeth, jump from one moving car to another or survive great falls by holding on to something at the last minute. We accept that. But sometimes the laws of physics are raped in the ass in movies and that is a bit harder to swallow.

I have been a fan of James Bond since I was a kid. I have seen every movie, from Dr. No (1962) all the way through Die Another Day (2002). But when I saw Die Another Day, I could not stand another one. I have always thought I would see Casino Royale (2006) as it´s a new Bond, and it´s based on Ian Flemming´s (the original James Bond auteur) book by the same name; but somehow, I just can´t. Die Another Day was the movie where James Bond died.

Since the original EON movies Dr. No, James Bond has been an above average lucky man with way too fast cars, advance spy gear and too beautiful women to be real. We all knew that James Bond was a playboy fantasy about men being allowed to be men. It was a dream world where we accepted a lot of exaggeration and implausibilities because James Bond is James Bond. He can do anything. Speak any language, use any gadgets, hard trained to sustain great pains and attacks. He was great with a gun, great with the wine. In short James Bond was great. But he was never super. He may have bent the laws of physics, but he never broke them. There was always a deal that James Bond could die if shot and there was limits to what he could achieve.

In the Roger Moore Bond movie Live and Let Die (1973) there is a couple of silly scenes that´s far fetched. In once scene James Bond uses angry alligators as logs to run on. That is definitely a “jump the alligator” kind of moment, but still it´s also tounge-in-cheek. There is also the movie Moonraker (1979) where James Bond goes to space that also has a couple of stupid scenes. But one could forgive that because it was implausible, but not impossible. It was stupid, but not brain-dead.

In Die Another Day, James Bond got caught in a concentration camp and tortured while the Madonna theme plays. Fine. Very Flemming-ish to be honest. Dark and serious. Gives the promise of a thriller Bond movie more than a action Bond movie. Then Die Another Day had a cameo by Madonna as a fencing instructor (or something). That´s fine. We could pretend it´s not Madonna playing Madonna doing a Madonna thing. We could accepted that James Bond has moved into the post-modern “find the cultural reference“-winks.

Then I forget alot of the plot. I seriously can´t remember much after that, and I will not see that movie again. I remember something about Halle Berry being there and she being unlucky or something. Some feminist movie critic said that “the Halle Berry character was the first Bond girl that could give JB a run for the money” or something nut-cracking like that. There was even rumors of her getting a spin-off series.

Then they went to the antarctic or some other ice place and that´s where Bond died to me. In one scene, a great tidal wave flows towards Bond as he falls down a ledge or something and then he takes a wing from a plane and surf the wave. “Thank you. Good bye”, I thought but saw the movie to the end. When the credits fell, it was the end of my interest for Bond to. Not in the old ones of course, but I never saw a new Bond movie afterwards.

But it had a great Bond song. That´s one of the few things that kept up. The soundtrack is never stale.

(The Sigmund Freud part is kind of stupid though.)

This was part one: In part two I will look at some more of these unbelievable plot points and also force a conclusion at the end, to give us all an illusion of closure.

Blog 2.0 – 2.0 be continued

Something new!

1 Apr

Sooo….

As a running “joke” on AMC I, AndyAce83, made exaggerated claims of my Blog 2.0´s success. To pretend that people wrote inn, gave a shait [sic] about what I wrote and that me as a writer was getting powerful. Now, as it turns out, people are actually reading my blog. I get over 50 readers a day.

A DAY!

Now you are probably a spoilsport and have to point out that 50 readers a day is “not all that and a hooker with an eight ball“. You know that Justen Bever and Lady Gaga gets tones more hits, readers and likes then Blog 2.0 gets. That my “great plans” for this blog didn´t actually revolutionize the blog-o-sphere as announced. And you are right. Spoilsports always are.

Blog 2.0 - Still waiting to light that fuse!