My post on why I like movies and movies that I like and why, no joking allowed.
1. I love movies that represent a hyper reality that looks and sounds fresh and interesting and unique and that you don’t see everyday ever, at all. This is important because setting in a story can be used to really affect the mood of the atmosphere or the world if you will. Is it a dystopia? A sword and sandal movie set in ancient Greece? An alien invasion movie? Yes, please! I’ll take three of each!
2. Movies that use practical affects or CGI sparingly and blend it in with everything. The wonderful thing about practical affects is that they are real. Real in a sense that a model or a miniature has density in three dimensions and can be picked up, moved, pushed, put into water, or blown up and it looks like something physical is really happening. Don’t let the argument that a “oh, well a man in a rubber mask isn’t real” fool you. You are supposed to suspend your disbelief that the rubber mask is indeed rubber, we’re all past that by now. What the movie is supposed to do is make the scene work and look good so that you feel like a part of the story and can emotionally relate to the main character and what is happening to them. CGI has its places, but it is all too often taken for granted that “oh, well now with CGI we can create anything we want!” and the result is a ship or a character or a building that doesn’t work, not because it actually isn’t real, but because it doesn’t look like anything that could possibly physically exist in three dimensions. This happens way too much and highlights why the special affects on the original Star Wars are still amazing and why that movie is still so beloved and why the prequels were so widely panned.
3. Good story. As a trained writer one of the first things my omnipotent writing teachers taught me when I was struggling away in that little nursery with all the other neophyte writers was that a good story trumps everything and in fiction that includes the elements of plot, character, and setting if we’re talking the most basic elements. But what is happening now in movie theaters across the globe? The prequel disease is spreading and screen writers aren’t learning the lessons that my omnipotent writing instructors taught us. Among other things one of the most important rules was that back-story is always more important to the writer than the reader. Meaning that the writer always loves back-story and loves writing it a million times more that a reader enjoys reading it. Why? Because it is just lists of details and doesn’t add to the drama, danger, suspense, and conflict that a true story demands. And that is why, ladies and gentlemen, that prequels in all and any form will always fall flat in the conflict and suspense department. I know some people like the new Planet of the Apes movies and that is fine, but I can’t bring myself to see them for that reason alone, that they are just back-story or else they would have been made with Charlton Heston.
4. TRUTH. One thing that my omnipresent writing instructors taught us was that good fiction has as much element of truth in it as possible. Yes, that sounds conflicting but it makes sense from the basic sense that everyday events taken to dangerous extremes are basically the garden of fiction writers. Case in point #1 Ian Fleming wrote his James Bond series based upon his experiences in Naval Intelligence and NOT in any way as some last gasp grasp at an imaginary spy/playboy lifestyle which is the truly lame current theory. Commander Fleming’s stories were based on his experiences, that very powerful secret groups are behind many global events and they manipulate governments and cause lots and lots of problems. Now you can disagree with me that’s okay and yes, I do read lots of conspiracy literature, but hey its not in the fiction section is it? And if you doubt any of it then go check it out. A true skeptic doubts and then verifies for him or herself and doesn’t remain in willful ignorance. But then people have free will and so may choose the latter option if they really want it.
5. Because I grew up in the Golden Age of action movies and still live three blocks from the best movie store ON THE PLANET. Yes, that store is Scarecrow Video and by golly they have everything and by everything I actually mean there isn’t anything that they don’t have. They have so much it could almost never be watched and there is no way to actually describe the wide range of things they have. If you want movies from the Philippines, they’ve got ’em. Vietnam? Got ’em. Movies based on video games? Got ’em. Spy movies or Westerns or Kung Fu movies? PLeeeeaaassseee…… They have so many your eyes will start to bleed when you see it.
Now that Golden Age comment, let me explain. I grew up in the eighties and during that time such an amazing amount of classic action movies came out that studios are still, to this day, 35 years later trying to duplicate that creativity and movie magic and they haven’t come close. Case in point, studios are still making Terminator movies, Predator movies, Alien movies, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars. They remade Total Recall, Robocop, the Karate Kid, and are planning to remake Kick Boxer and Ghostbusters! Now if they try to remake Caddyshack I think I won’t be able to handle that. So if you find out that I’m in jail, you’ll know exactly why. Still need more proof that the 80’s were the best, okay I take that dare; Conan the Barbarian-remade. Gremlins-classic. Goonies-untouchable. Blazing Saddles-modern scripture, and yes it was made in the 70’s. Tim Burton’s Batman, Pee Wee’s big adventure, Top Gun(rumored Top Gun 2 has fallen apart) all were incredible.
Now can CGI be used well? I’m glad you asked. For yes it can and the likes of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as well as G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra proved that. Yes, I liked the first G.I. Joe movie, but I’m allowed to.
Well, my hands hurt from all that intense typing, but you get my point. Disagree? Why not leave a comment? What’s up next? Well, I think I’ll see Whiplash and maybe Exotic Marigold Hotel 2: Bedpan Apocalypse(That’s actually the real title, yes…)
So until next time, Sayonara and keep watching movies and keep reading books!