March 08, 2009

Failure to Suspend Disbelief

One of the curses of getting older, wiser, more mature and better educated (well, hopefully I'm doing at least most of these things) should be the outgrowth of one's critical thinking skills. This is all well and good, and a laudable outcome... but it presents one with certain problems. The largest of these, at least in this time in civilization, is the inability to watch major motion pictures.

Movie producers and writers are cheap and lazy. They are, for instance, unwilling to go to any sort of effort to maintain internal consistency within a movie because that's hard, expensive and represents time and cost that, frankly, would be wasted most of their viewing audience. And this isn't even going after complying with the known laws of physics and principles of "How The World Works."

One could nit-pick just about any movie on the minutia of adherence to laws of physics, realistic nature of explosions and internal consistency on minute things like inexplicable maintenance of the Female Lead's flawless hair through numerous explosions, but we'll leave that alone for a minute. I'm talking real inconsistencies that cause plot turns that have no explanation to the point that it jars my immersion.

For instance, take the movie Wanted. Yes, I know, not a great choice, but it happens to have the benefit of being the movie that I watched to drive this discussion. So Morgan Freeman happens to be a "prophet" of sorts with a "magical loom" which tells him who needs to die to keep the universe in balance by virtue of kicking out mystical scarfs or something that signify who needs to die. The protagonist discovers he's abandoned the magical loom's direction which has guided the Society of Assasin Weavers (not making this up, I promise) for thousands of years and has turned the Society into a kill-for-hire outfit as opposed to what essentially amounts to Fate's Pruning Shears that they are intended to be. That's right, Morgan Freeman is making his own scarves (or something) to thwart the will of Fate via this magical loom, and we're not even to the inconsistent part yet.

Anyways, by a series of twists and turns, Freeman gives out assignments (with the interpreted magical counterfeit sweater attached) which are of his own determining rather than those dictated by the Omniscient Loom. Things eventually come to a head when the protagonist somehow comes by a quilted kill order kicked out by the Loom that indicates that Morgan Freeman must die (incidentally, Morgan Freeman plays a surprisingly good villain; much better than you'd expect.) And yeah, we're just now getting to where things get hinky. I think it's a tribute to my willingness to play along that we're 90 minutes in and I'm still watching. And to think, sometimes people accuse me of not being a good sport.

Anyways, so the protagonist (James McAvoy) storms the Quilting Bee where all of these assassins live and confronts Freeman with the Sweater of Justice that says Freeman must die. At this point Freeman pulls out quilts and doilies and crochet pillows that say that the Loom has damned all of the rest of the assassins to death and that he's saving them. And at this point, Angelina Jolie, ignoring the fact that Freeman has been forging sweaters this whole time, kills herself and all of the other assassins on the say-so of these suspect sweaters.

Yeah, I know, it's all screwed up. But my point is, if Freeman is suspect and has already demonstrably forged the kill orders in the past, why are you killing yourself on his say-so? Actually, there are a whole lot of other questions that come to mind, but at least from where I sit, I'm not killing myself regardless of who says so, especially not if it's some freaking throw-rug.

Also, for a little bit of a rant, this is why the viewing public hates the Oscars. Because if this pile of crap made $341 million and Milk made $36 million and can't even get showings in many markets. If the viewing public would rather spend more money on Wanted than several Oscar best picture nominees combined, well, that pretty well sums up the problem.

Apparently critical thinking is a bigger problem than I thought it was.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at March 8, 2009 04:10 PM | TrackBack