July 30, 2012

Keep it Simple, Stupid!

Why does Hollywood feel the need to try to make everything more complex than it has to be? Complexity does not automatically equal quality, nor is it a substitute for simply just being good. I was thinking about this the other day while watching The A-TEAM movie. Now I very much enjoy The A-TEAM movie for the big, loud popcorn movie that it is, but the beginning of it always kinda bugged me because it’s just so unnecessary.
First off I think the putting together of the team should’ve been a lot simpler, but we get this whole contrived sequence where Hannibal has to save Face and in doing so he just so happens to run into B.A. who also happens to be an Army Ranger driving through the Mexican Desert. Well that was certainly convenient, wasn’t it? Then they go to some Veterans Hospital and run into Murdock as well who is also an Army Ranger, and a pilot when they need one. I mean how many U.S. Army Rangers are just wandering around in Mexico anyway, and what are the odds they all run into each other right at the very moment they needed each other? Hell if I didn’t know better I’d say these fellas were destined to be together as some kind of team or somethin’. Anyway my point is this was all completely unnecessary. They’re all Army Rangers, and being that the plot would eventually lead them to be outlaws on the run together because they were set up for a crime they didn’t commit the origin seems pretty obvious to me. Have the main bad guy put them together for a super secret covert mission by collecting a random group of misfits to unknowingly do his dirty work, then set them up to take the fall for it. There, its simple, to the point, the teams put together, the origins set up and you’re off and running into the second act where they break out of prison and go after the guys that double crossed them. It’s saves 20 minutes of screen time that could be used for actual character development.
Ok so The A-TEAM isn’t the only movie I had issue with for doing this, another one that bugs me is AVP. If you ask any fan what the perfect ALIEN vs. PREDATOR movie would be they would pretty much just describe a scenario much like ALIENS, but with a PREDATOR thrown in the mix. Basically a group of Space Marines investigate a distress call from some distant mining planet or something, and there they find all kinds of death waiting for them. So then why when they actually made the movie did they give us all this Bullshit about Mayan Prophecy and Pyramids in Antarctica? All that did was make what should’ve been a simple concept into a convoluted mess that alienated the fan base for which you were making the movie for in the first place.
Don’t even get me started on the TRANSFORMER movies, I have no idea what the fuck is going on in those movies. Something about a giant space cube, some old Dude’s glasses, farting airplanes and robot Heaven. I don’t know, nor do I really give a shit. Shut up already and start Transforming cause nobody’s paying attention to all this incoherent crap anyway.
I’m not saying all movies should be dumbed down or anything, some of them are pretty dumb already and I enjoy a complex movie if it’s done right like INCEPTION, but making it more complex than it has to be doesn’t make it better, or more intelligent. Movies like The A-TEAM, TRANSFORMERS, or AVP are best when they’re left simple, straight forward and to the point. Those kinds of movies work best when they know what they are supposed to be and don’t try to be what they’re not. The STAR WARS prequels are immensely more complex than the original trilogy, but they are certainly not better for it. Does anybody really know what the hell’s going on in the Mission Impossible or the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? It’s just a bunch of screen writers patting themselves on the back going “look how intelligent I am, I can write all this stuff” while audiences are sitting there looking at their watches the whole time with no connection to the movie because its 80% expository dialogue.
When you convolute the plot you just distract from what should be the main focus of the movie to begin with, GOOD storytelling and character development. You can write the most brilliant complex plot ever conceived, but it’s nothing without a good character to lead you through it because audiences relate to characters, not plots. Especially plots like alien robot trucks fist fighting over a pair of glasses with the coordinates to a giant cube that turns soda machines into killer robots that want to take over the planet etched into them by a frozen evil robot that escaped capture for treason on his home planet and crash landed on earth a hundred years ago becoming the basis for all modern technology. That may be a complex plot, but it’s also incredibly stupid, and I’d rather have a simple GOOD plot than a bunch of stupid nonsense any day.

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Nite Owl



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