Spiteful Critic has an amusing post comparing the similarities of several movie plots – Star Wars, Star Trek, The Matrix & Harry Potter
The author also makes a good point with it, that movies with plot lines such as these franchises have in common seem destined to make millions.
I suspect writers of literature (and scripts) are compelled to follow the call of themes and will select archetypes that will be understood by their expected audiences. So yeah, okay, it makes more than a few shows so predictable it feels like perpetual deja vu, or you can see the end of the road as clear as if you’d written the screenplay yourself so there’s never a surprise or moment of tense anticipation. It’s all going to end the only way it can end. The hero won’t die, the quest will be a success regardless of the odds, and the enemy will be vanquished so everyone can live happily ever after. Or at least live.
Romance movies are victims of copycat hack jobs, too. So are movies where someone’s on the verge of death and everyone’s “learning valuable lessons” and shit. It’s made worse when romance and long lingering death are combined to attract the Lurlene McDaniel fans. Sorry. I want to see a show that isn’t a hundred minutes of waiting for someone to get that one magical kiss before kicking it.
I watched Let the Right One In recently. It hit theatres around the same time Twilight did, I think, and both movies have been compared against each other for their portrayals of the vampire genre. Review after review after forum has come out with Right One as the right one to sink your teeth into.
I love Meyer’s books, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think I’ll bother seeing the movie. I like the books too much. On another forum a user suggested a better comparison of human/vampire coupling would be to use Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I agree because damn! The tensions between Buffy and Angel in seasons two and three were fucking heartwrenching. Joss Whedon really hit home with the feeling that there could be someone you could love that much, no matter what he did to you or your family. No matter what it cost you to care that much. Ordinary love versus the extraordinary, maybe. Meyer’s no Whedon.
Yeah, I’m a Buffy fan. Bigtime. But I digress.
What gives Right One the edge is how it’s crafted. It seems like you should know how it’s going to work out because the vampire genre has gotten as cliché as Spiteful Critic’s hero story. Dracula was published in 1897, for goodness’ sake. We know how these stories go! Not so with Right One, at least, not for me. The pacing was pretty slow, but it was nice to see that kind of movie and know the characters were more important than the special effects. What little it had in the way of effects worked effectively. I wound up feeling a lot of empathy for Oskar, the boy with more bullies than friends, and Eli, the girl who’d been twelve years old for decades. The tender intimacy they shared, outcasts by dumb chance and necessity. Even with all the blood and horrible murders, it was very sweet.
Another overdone storyline is probably zombies. Enough with the mindless brain eating, already! I want to see that UK zombie movie that cost less than fifty quid to make, though. Colin is apparently told from the zombie’s perspective, which is a new angle. Another I’ve seen that’s worth recommending is Fido, about a boy and his pet zombie. It’s completely charming. It’s told in an alternate history of Earth, where some disease (I think) turned some people into zombies and it was decided that rather than destroy them, it’d be better to collar them up and put them to work in the garden. It’s a hoot and stars Carrie-Anne Moss (of Matrix fame) and Billy Connolly (not that you can tell – he plays Fido).
I think there will always be movies that are assembled from a ready-made insta-million kit of interchangeable parts and they’ll always be like Mr. Potato Head, dependable fun but a little bit pointless all the same.
I think there’s also hope for independents and smaller companies who have the guts to throw the clichés to the proverbial wolves and look at alternatives. They might have trouble filling a theater but people are going to get bored of deja-viewed blockbusters eventually and will want something else to tune into. How many more movies like Transformers 2 will people sit through before they come to their senses?
The day will come when “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” will be studied in film classes and shown at cult film festivals. It will be seen, in retrospect, as marking the end of an era. Of course there will be many more CGI-based action epics, but never again one this bloated, excessive, incomprehensible, long (149 minutes) or expensive (more than $200 million). Like the dinosaurs, the species has grown too big to survive, and will be wiped out in a cataclysmic event, replaced by more compact, durable forms.
I hope so, too.