Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Saturated storytelling

Storytelling is something that’s rather saturated in the world at this moment, from my point of view. Maybe I’m just narrow-minded towards the subject, maybe I just suck at telling a story, or perhaps I’m not that deeply involved with narrative techniques. But for me, at least, whenever I enter the theater, the first 10 minutes is all that’s needed for me to figure out who’s the villain, who’s the hero and what the main conflict will be. Or at least have a pretty good overall idea of what it will be.

Let’s take Iron Man 2, for example, which I recently went to see. In the first 3 or 4 scenes it was made pretty clear who the villains were, of course we already knew who the hero was, we also got a hold of the bad guys’ motivations in those scenes. My point being: what’s left? We already know who the bad guys are and why they do what they do. Their actions have almost always nearly nothing to do with their pasts, so there’s no connection there too. Which is something that could be explored for more interesting plots and plans. The question I ask myself is: Is the audience only interested in the explosions and special effects? Do they don’t care about trying to figure out the plot by themselves, by being surprised by a big revelation at then end, or even deceived until the very last minute by a smart trick pulled by the writer?

Let’s take a more successful movie then: Cameron’s Avatar. From the start I knew that the guy with the big scar in his face would be the ultimate challenge presented to the protagonist. And I also knew that the protagonist would become a Na’vi in the end. Now, I’m not saying these stories were bad or didn’t have meaning. Because they all do, especially Avatar, which had a lot of bitch slaps for the human race as a whole. Topics like, recycling, morals and ethics were all subtly mentioned and explored. It’s not that. They’re pretty good at that. What’s lacking, remember, in MY opinion, is the unfolding events, what happens in the story and how it happens. I feel like there’s no room for expansion or change there. Everything is simply based off of something previously released. Which is the normal course of things, as humans usually use the evolutionary process for everything: Take something old, change it a bit for the better and there you have something new. But if I take a mouse, paint it yellow and call if a Shbuck, it doesn’t mean it’s something new, just something sold to you as new. And I feel that’s exactly what’s been going on in storytelling. Movies and games alike.

I do have come across some interesting books, so I can’t complain about that. And I’m a little off of the new books and new stories that have been coming out, so book-wise I think we’re good. Maybe it’s because a deeper story and a more complicated set of events would keep the masses away from the theaters afraid of not understanding half of what’s said in the movie? Who knows. I just wish we could go back to ages that making something new was more valued than making money.

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Let's try to stay positive, huh? After all I don't get out there yelling trash about you at the top of my lungs, do I? Don't be a troll and post a constructive complaint, if you must!