Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Plot > Bad Plot?

cross-posted from my tumblr

sometimes a movie with no plot can be better than a movie with a bad plot - such is the crux of my terminator salvation > star trek argument. both movies are incomprehensibly stupid, but whereas that cripples the latter (being that it’s a plot-driven film), that any semblance of a story has been edited out of mcg’s terminator film renders this flaw somewhat moot in the former (the characters just sound like rejects from gears of war). that the intimidatingly gregarious mcg was able to get so enthusiastically behind such a monosyllabic script (written by jonathan nolan, no less) into the world is remarkable, but not quite as bizarre as the fact that the movie is more concerned with winks to previous films in the series and grade-school philosophy than it is to affording the narrative any forward movement. but that’s okay, because the tactile, cg-lite approach mcg took towards the set-pieces and stan winston’s remarkable animatronics provide such a visceral kick that the movie works more often than not as a cinema of attractions… at least in the first 2/3 (the last bit - save for an obvious highlight - is rote, dull, and encumbered with the dubious duty of announcing that the story is never going to kick in). methinks the forthcoming blu-ray cut, which is supposedly 30 minutes longer, is going to do a WORLD of good here. but the moments that work provide the only real thrills this young summer season has offered me so far.

but seriously, if you haven’t had the unique opportunity to be in mcg’s presence… the man is one hell of a show-man, by turns disarming and offensive. his passionate manner is certainly welcoming, his insinuation that the cattle cars in his movie are deeply evocative of scenes from schindler’s list, complete with the full heft of those genocidal undertones… not so much. and can someone other than lars von trier give bryce howard something to sink her teeth into? she’s always wonder on screen, and is just waiting for a career-making role. also world, please stop casting common. thanks.

5 comments:

LoquaciousMuse said...

You don't actually think Star Trek is that stupid. You liked it. I'll punch you. I DID punch you.

Timothy said...

Yah I'm pretty positive the words out of your mouth, Vulcan, were, "Not bad. It wasn't terrible." Then I vaguely remember the word "okay" being on your lips.

TotoroVSBatman said...

Hmmm.... I haven't seen Terminator Salvation yet. But just to be fair, it seems like a slippery slope to mention 'Cinema of Attractions' in context with what is going on in current effects-based narratives. I mean, Star Trek had a narrative; there was a clear beginning, middle, and end... along with characters having some revelation about themselves at the climax. From what I know about Terminator I would guess it too has a clear narrative (or plot). So I guess my question is, what qualifies as 'No Plot'? Are these films inventing a sight or experience never before seen or heard? Are the assuming the audience will not engage the screen and go through identification, rather trying to bring a formalistc revelation to create a new cinema of attraction? I mean, it just seems like a moot qualification for these types of movie.

To be clear I am stating outright that Star Trek had a very clear plot. And I will go out on a limb and say TSal has one too. But I want to hear more about the 'No Plot.'

TotoroVSBatman said...

Darn, forgot to mention the obvious: Wolverine had no plot. It was at best a series of side-stories strong together with no true journey. Characters began where the started, etc etc etc...

david said...

totoro... see terminator, and then tell me with a straight face / typeface that it has more of a plot than wolverine. and i've reconciled myself to the fact that star trek was a better film than terminator, but i certainly enjoyed sitting in a very loud theater more for the latter. seriously, bruce conner films have more plot than terminator salvation. hell, bruce conner's MUSIC VIDEOS had more plot... not that plot is integral to me enjoying a film by any stretch of the imagination, but to see a summer blockbuster of this magnitude entirely without one is certainly odd.