Saturday, June 16, 2012

Prometheus - a shining example of how Hollywood hates stories

Like Prometheus being condemned for bringing fire to humans, producers of Hollywood special effects supposed blockbusters must fear eternal torture if they use a script.

I recently went to see Prometheus and was underwhelmed by its lack of story. There were no good lines. A few mysteries were posed but NOTHING was explained at the end. No satisfaction was given whatsoever. And to add to the disappointment several scenes were excessively stupid.

The worst offense was the under use of Charlize Theron, who is one of my favorite actors and very talented. She did not have any good lines or good scenes. She did not even battle any aliens that I can recall. It's not that she did a bad job. She did a very good job standing around doing nothing. She was supposed to be the evil corporate boss but the concept did not really go anywhere.

Mostly the movie consisted of people doing stupid things and being killed quickly. There was no suspense. Also many parts of the movie were totally ridiculous. The main female character had an alien surgically removed from her uterus and she was running and jumping around immediately after having her stomach cut open and stapled. I did not appreciate this complete disregard for my modest intelligence. 

Now of course the special effects were good and the movie was well made in regards to costumes, sets, props, and design. But how am I supposed to enjoy it without any story? Nothing made much sense. Nothing was very interesting. Nothing was explained. The supposed climax was completely lacking. And the one surviving humanoid alien that was of a race that had engineered humans never spoke. He was just a grunting and killing brute. I thought there was going to be some kind of illuminating conversation but there was not one word. 

I can't fathom why such a high budget movie would not bother using anything approaching a coherent or interesting script. I'm sure there are many imaginative writers out there who would do a great job. And considering the value the world places on writers, I'm sure that obtaining a decent script would be the cheapest part of the production.

Another glaring example of a missed opportunity for a story was the movie Avatar. This could have been the most awesome movie ever, but there was no character development and nothing but the most basic and uninspired dialogue. The story had good concepts but no one seemed inclined to develop them beyond some cursory notes on a napkin. Avatar did not even have one line of technobabble explaining how the avatar thing actually worked.

It seems that movie producers think that a big special effects production doesn't need a story. They seem to think that their audience just wants a bunch of impressive spectacles without any story. Why don't they just make long music videos instead? That would probably be better.

When movies ignore the necessity of a story, it is a terrible mistake because when the high art of special effects is married with a good story wonderful things are achieved like the Lord of the Rings movies.

What do you think? Are there any movies you were looking forward to that fell flat in the story department?