THE AGE OF THE CONVOLUTED BLOCKBUSTER

June 18, 2013

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LAST WEEK, HULK WROTE AN ESSAY ABOUT A TROUBLING TREND IN THE PLOT MECHANICS OF BLOCKBUSTERS…

http://badassdigest.com/2013/06/12/film-crit-hulk-smash-the-age-of-the-convoluted-blockbuster/

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11 Responses to “THE AGE OF THE CONVOLUTED BLOCKBUSTER”

  1. Panache said

    It is a thing of beauty when Hulk smash the misappropriation of destiny in contemporary drama. However, the back half of the same paragraph plays a bit fast and loose with a couple concepts.

    Objectivism contains plenty of bullshit conceits, but predestination is hardly among them. Rand would be as pissed as Hulk about today’s movies and their strain of positive fatalism (redoubted fate? Quick, Hulk smash a neologism for contemporary drama in which destiny is misused and abused.)

    Later, Hulk mashes out, “THIS WEIRD GOD-GIVEN SUPERHEROISM THAT COULD BE TAKEN FOR SOME SORT OF GROSS UBERMENSCH PHILOSOPHY”, and my eyes go crosswise. The very presence of the ubermensch depends on the absence of God. How is the one mistaken for its purposeful (and extensively defined) opposite?

    These concepts may be distasteful, but they’re hardly of a feather, and they unlikely serve as the progenitors to the perversion of dramatic destiny. Offhand, I cannot think what might have been the germ to flip “Destiny fucks you” into “You fuck destiny! (Yeah! U-S-A! U-S-A!)” It seems unlikely that it lacks precedent in other media.

    Reflecting on Hulk’s scenario with the brothers, the studios really doubled down on the stranger brother after the initial successes of Shyamalan. Surely Hulk remembers the oft-mocked cover, “The Next Spielberg”, even though he was clearly trying (and failing) to be the next Hitch. Sadly, it appears that Abrams fancies himself the next Lucas even though he better approximates the next Shyamalan: highly proficient technically with the not-fully-formed soul of a twelve-year-old. (Though I’d argue that Hulk gives Abrams way too much technical credit.)

    In “Into Darkness”, the simple inversions demonstrate the writers’ key misunderstanding: the original scenes already represent inversions. In “Wrath of Khan”, Spock is quite clearly taking Kirk’s bullet. In all their stories, Kirk risks life and limb in impossible circumstances; Spock sits back and thinks for a minute. Kirk punishes himself physically in pursuit of resolution; Spock devises an “ingenious” deus ex machina to save all aboard. In every way, Kirk is the one to storm that chamber; hell, even after he notes Spock’s absence and sees his dying friend, he still has every intention of doing so. McCoy and Scotty have to physically restrain him. Kirk doesn’t believe in the no-win scenario, but we know he’d readily die for his ship and crew. The universe is supposed to teach him the lesson. That his friend bears the cost of the lesson–that inverts the expectation. This is the inversion, idiots. It is why the scene works; it is why it so pains us.

    Sorry if this comes across (even) more disjointed than usual. Anyone who just witnessed San Antonio piss away a championship knows my pain.

    As always, keep hope alive, Hulk.

  2. kmkmiller said

    whatever else has been said in the past about HULK’s issues with Damon Lindelof, agreement or not. Attempts to take a deeper dive into the analysis (what of Lynch’s use of the mystery box in his movies?)….. or not…

    what we have arrived at is an anti-climactic space in this dialog. We now know for absolute certain that no matter what has been said in the past, no matter what will be said in the future…

    1) If Hulk likes World War Z it will be because Drew Goddard has mastery of the written word in film.

    2) If Hulk does not like World War Z it will be all you know who’s fault.

    In short, HULK has written himself into his own little cul de sac on these issues. It is foretold. But, nonetheless, I do look forward to HULK’s and Devin’s thoughts on World War Z. I’ll be looking out for them.

  3. bert said

    Good points by Panache, esp. the last one.

  4. Cameron said

    Some of the points made in this article can be applied to Monsters University. (A good film, but not Pixar-good.)

    I’m glad I read this article before seeing the movie because it helped me understand (FCH: always educating) some of the aspects I didn’t enjoy in the movie.

  5. […] el director Nacho Vigalondo me recomendó que leyera la última entrada de su blog, “The age of the convoluted blockbuster” (algo así como “La era del blockbuster retorcido”). Y me dejó muy […]

  6. Bearistotle said

    What Hulk think of Pacific Rim?

  7. Franz said

    Dankeschön für die vielen guten beiträge.
    Ich komme hier immer wieder gerne vorbei und schaue mich um.
    Gruss Franz

  8. HelmutHatt said

    Interesting, I thought that the reason why these summer movies were very similar was because The Dark Knight made a trainload of money and everyone wanted to follow the same act. Although Slate is saying that everyone is reading the same book…
    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2013/07/hollywood_and_blake_snyder_s_screenwriting_book_save_the_cat.single.html

  9. […] the simplicity of the story was a breath of fresh air for Hollywood’s tendency to make overly complicated plots. In fact, the entire movie is a breath of fresh air–which happens to be found in the vacuum […]

  10. […] was recently reading a bit of Film Crit Hulk on the subject of convolution — the movie that is all plot-mechanics, in which characters […]

  11. […] Film Crit Hulk, I’ll remind you, is probably right when he says that for an audience passively consuming a movie, the replication of a Thing is good enough to be treated as the Thing ninety-nine times out of a hundred…to return once again to the recent remake of Total Recall, we can see that sometimes it’s even okay to have a movie that merely replicates what would ordinarily happen in a movie, and then slap a quick nationwide release on that lemon and just see what happens. Earlier in this long (very long, I know!) multi-post exercise in being an old man yelling at a cloud, I had intended to talk a bit about Michael Bay and James Cameron, and how I would sooner watch Transformers 2 AGAIN than watch any more of Avatar than the ten minutes I made it through before switching over to The Best Of The Joy Of Painting…and how it baffles me that Cameron could’ve got it so monstrously wrong (er…when he blended Aliens with The Word For World Is Forest?) (maybe not actually that baffling!) that Michael Bay could show him up with TRANSFORMERS 2… […]

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