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:
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.