Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Movie Logic

The problem with movies is that everything has to advance the plot. I went to see Angels and Demons last night, and was reminded again how artificial everything is in theater. That's not a criticism -- just an observation. Theater is filled with interesting people, life isn't.
In one spot, a good? bad? guy says to Tom Hanks, "My church feeds starving people. What does yours do? Oh, yes, you don't have one." (quote approximate)
Now, no one speaks to Tom Hanks like that. The appropriate response would be, oh, something in the order of, "Your church is the single largest cause of pain, misery, death, ignorance, war, and sickness in the history of the world." But because of the plot, Tom could only look faintly abashed. This movie is supposed, I think, to be a movie of ideas, of tradition versus progress, of good and evil (Angels and Demons, get it), but can't be, because if you stop to really debate ideas (think of the long digressions in Atlas Shrugged), the plot simply stops and the bad guys get away.
I have to remind myself of that and remember that it's just a movie. Nevertheless, I want to stand, fling my popcorn (never the Jujubes) at the screen and shout, "Eat rocks, idiot" or some other equally subtle riposte.
That's one reason I don't go to many "thought provoking" or "deep" movies. If they're thought provoking, it's on a visceral level, and that can't be, can it? If they're deep, they're stupefyingly dull. If I want depth I'll read. In movies, it's visual spectacle (the cinematography and landscapes in Dances With Wolves). And of course, car chases.

4 comments:

bekkieann said...

I was already not inclined to see this, and your review seals the deal for me. I'm with you, I'd rather read a book. But not this one.

On both your houses said...

Well, it does have some great explosions and fast car sequences in it.

bekkieann said...

But are they sufficiently redeeming to make the rest of the movie worth it?

On both your houses said...

I guess not, but there's a matter-antimatter explosion in a helicopter that's a doozy.