Saturday, March 31, 2012

Golden Movie Review

While debating the veritable ‘merits’ of the Phantom Menace (I couldn’t put enough quotations around merits), I was shown this link to what I believe to be the most accurate and in-your-face review of its kind.  If only George (Lucas) had made any attempt to heed the salient points of this 70-minute movie review, we might have had something other than a best-forgotten trilogy.

That said, I segue into the relevant point of this post.  From a movie critique perspective, this guy made a top-notch (remember, I said 70 minutes!) effort; funny in spots, coherent on the whole.  The points he made critiquing, however, make a great lesson for prospective writers and demonstrate how things could get off the rails.  It is directed at movies, but can easily be applicable to writing, especially in our relevant genres.

(Language warning)

Part 1 – Characters:  Relatable and help the audience through the story, faced with an obstacle and the drama it creates.  I love the test comparing characters between Star Wars: A New Hope and Phantom Menace without mentioning appearance, costume or their role in the movie to a person who has never seen Star Wars.  How applicable is that writing, especially a first novel!

The following parts just increase the goodness.

Part 2 – The Story:  Compared to the simplicity and awesomeness of the Star Wars opening scene, how can you argue with the guy?  Homage to the classic adventure serials compared to, well, whatever the heck the new stuff was about.  Keep the story simple enough from getting too complicated and losing the audience.

Part 3 – The Story (continued):  Still trying to get to the plot.... Who’s doing what, where and why?  The dizzying issues with connecting characters and what goes on in this movie is examined.  How does this apply to writing?  Pretty straight forward.

Part 4 – The Story (continued):  Picking apart the whole invasion of Naboo and escape from planet boring.  Writers should take into account the leaps of logic and how this applies to the plot and effect on their writing.

Part 5 – The Story (continued):  Breaks down the Qui-Gon Jin and Anakin characters and how his actions apply to the plot.

Part 6 – The Story (continued):  So we go back to Naboo, which is a war zone, and yeah, we brought the kid with us.  Oh yeah, no plan either, but the blockade is gone – yeah!  Compares the Luke v. Vader arc to the Jedi v. Darth Maul and the depth involved in the first, the lack of it in the latter.

Part 7 – The Ending “Multiplification” Effect: How the plots get too complicated and confusing = distracting.  Focus the plot and keep the story focused or you end up with (in the case of the Phantom Menace) what the reviewer calls “The worst case of cinematic blue balls in history.” The case is made for external reviews, which could be paralleled with Beta readers.

Pure gold as a movie review and critique.  Absolutely brilliant advice for genre writers to help keep things from spinning and spiraling out of control.