Wednesday, 5 August 2015

spoilers ahoy or mise-en-scène

Via Dangerous Minds’ Dangerous Finds, comes this brilliant cinematic critique of the current trend in Hollywood blockbusters’ expositions that have become impenetrably complex, byzantine and shamelessly porous. Rather than a simple, straightforward—however unlikely—plot that can be pitched in a few word, like if the secretary fails to type under forty words per minute with fewer than two typographical errors, the bomb hidden in the office will explode, which will then be buoyed up by a series of stunts and explosive precursors or with the sponsorship of a can of Mister Pibb consumed conspicuously. Cut and scene.

Since directors and producers have been dredging nostalgia for all its worth, perhaps having even travelled through time themselves in attempts to affect revisions and acclimate themselves to discontiguous time lines, however, it seems that movies have indeed become more ambitiously inscrutable. Perhaps this confusion is in part owing to franchises that hope to encapsulate and rehash universes and characters—who perhaps have cemented their identities in the minds of some fans as something iconic and inviolable or perhaps not by people less familiar with the particular genre and not as well studied as the filmmakers believe—that have been in development for decades. A ninety minute reel—though there’s also a trend in longer and longer movies, can hardly expect to distill an entire saga—even when a sequel or prequal is already a foregone conclusion, paradoxically. Whether or not a feature can holds its own outside of a triptych and creative minds are not concerned with resolution in storytelling, it does not satisfactorily explain the wherefore of escapades internal that settle as jarring and baffling for the audience afterwards. It’s not a memory that sits well, not like a stirring monologue or particularly spectacular chase scene, but rather something nagging and regrettable like proofreading one’s own missives after it’s already been published. Maybe the missing element that accounts for nothing shed on the cutting-room floor is, as the article suggests, that the license to syndicate, to portray a film centered around a defined group of superheroes adjudged to be iconic. Proprietorship probably does turn the process in ways that don’t pan out well on the screen. Of course I am not privy to any bemoaning examples, but some near equivalent might include a video game adaptation that could materialise in the near term or being able to offer one more action figure or variant in a different wardrobe already in production. It’s rather like the make-believe of security that the prop-masters, gaffers and grips—the stagehands of bureaucracy and contractors, that are ingrained and implicit in the theatre that stays behind the arras so the audience might never know. What do you think? Are you finding action movie plots a little too adventuresome and unhinged as well?