Monday, January 21, 2013

You Wouldn't Know It Anyway

Because I like Anne Hathaway, both in film and in interviews, I was forced to put up with what now measures as an acceptable scene in Hollywood.

A football stadium, full, capacity 64,000, has a series of explosions occur in which the field is so ripped apart that the surface literally crumbles into the ground ... and none of the fans in the bleachers stand up and RUN.  Moreover, they sit quietly - politely even - and listen to a speech that includes a murder and lots of words about total death and destruction.  And they do not panic.

Uh, yeah.

Moreover, a city of 12 million people, surrounded by water, and presumably with access to boats, helicopters, scuba gear, etc., comes under the announced threat of a nuclear explosion and ... behaves itself.

Oh, there were many, many problems with the film that these two points above come from.  There were horrifically cliched flashbacks.  There were endless dead-eyed babble fests between secondary, uninteresting, plot redundant characters.  There was a policeman's charge that could have been led by General Pickett himself, if only a Gettysburg had been available ... a charge that somehow did better in the present decade than Pickett had managed to do in the 1860s.  Yes, indeed, there was much silliness, much poor design and plotting, much, much, much to speak about.

Most of all, however, the most pathetic part of this saga is that the film that contains all this is rated as #43 on IMDb of the greatest movies of all time.

Obviously, this is because it's recent.  And because a substantial portion of the 522,000 voters are younger than 14.  And because, well, there are a great many people in the western world who do not consider plot or character, nor a competant story resolution, nor even production value to have any meaning or value with regards to what they think is 'good.'

I have known for some time that, for some persons, the thing that is sought is not 'quality' ... not as any artistic person would understand it.  The camera operators, the set designers and the costumers, the CGI techs, the gaffers, that grips, the caterers and the people selling the film know the money was made the moment the rights to the title were secured.  The film above was made by a lawyer, working on the premise that a VAST proportion of the population is reliably visceral in the extreme.  So reliable, in fact, that even bullshit medicine relies on it: 

"A visceral reaction occurs quickly, before you become aware of it. Paul Ekman, the famous emotions scientist, reported "We become aware a quarter, or half second after the emotion begins. I do not choose to have an emotion, to become afraid, or to become angry. I am suddenly angry. I can usually figure out later what someone did that caused the emotion." The nervous system processes all the available information and drives you to anger, or despair, within just half a second. Each visceral response occurs before you know it. Nature also provided laughter to counter this response."

I, for one, certainly had a visceral reaction to the film.  I happen to not enjoy visceral reactions of that type.  Others, of course, do.  And in terms of the money, and the popularity, the viserility of the thing deserves, I think, the rating it gets.

If you are the sort of person who finds your mind controlled by visceral reactions on a continuous, unrelenting basis, I would like to state here and now that I'm surprised you have the capacity of mind to interpret words and read sentences, such as are appearing here.  I'm quite certain you do not comprehend as much as you think you comprehend.

If you are the sort of person who thinks the film above would make a good formula for a roleplaying game, I think you should be aware that sales will depend on the name you pick (or secure from the relevant lawyers) and not the quality of your effort in game design.  I think further you should also realize that if you are a game designer, and you have a good, positive opinion of the above film, then you are a very, very crappy game designer.

Your belief to the contrary is proof positive of your inability to judge the value of your own judgement:

xkcd, Jan 21, 2013


Arduin said...

Not a big fan of Batman, neh?

I didn't see the film in question, mostly because I didn't enjoy either of its predecessors, either.

I'm getting really tired of the "explosions and graveled voices" approach to film.

JDJarvis said...

I hate when movies have people acting like people do not act.
Nuclear bomb in city = get 200 miles away.
Bombs in sport stadium= get the hell out of stadium

The whole best movies of all time on imdb is rigged heavily by basement dwellers and teens. Want to have a visceral reaction, try reding one of the films forums/question and answer boards.

Joshua said...

Clearly such a film is considered widely popular, both by the title inherent, and if other films with the most cardboard of cast, but a really huge pyrotechnics budget, can thrive in the market.

But this we already know.

joe said...

All completely forgivable.

Because Nolan put Catwoman on that damn motorcycle and my day was better for it.