Optimism is NOT Arrogance

Arrogance is the belief that you are BETTER than others. Optimism is the belief that you have the same CHANCE as others. We all have the chance to achieve our dreams. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Story Review - The Men Who Stare At Goats

Ok, now for the opposite example.  I watched this because the trailer was funny, and the premise seemed interesting.

It was, but it wasn't told well, IMHO.

1)  Plot:  The plot went all over the place, largely because I don't think it was clear whose story this was - was it George Clooney's?  Ewan McGregor's?  Clearly the authors wanted it to be Ewan's, since the story begins and ends with him and there's some semblance of an arc to his character, but it's never really clear.  Why?  So much time was spent on BACKSTORY, which is not a good thing for movies, and if the backstory relates to OTHER non-principal characters, it's even worse.

When writing, especially for middle-graders, backstory has to come quick and go quick.  Too much time on it and you lose the reader's interest.  Especially if the backstory is about the secondary characters.  This made the plot in Goats too muddled and not flowing.  It was like riding in a car that kept jerking you from forward to reverse.

2)  Characters:  Again, the focus here should've been on Ewan McGregor's lead character, but in this instance the movie was about his character RELATIVE to the other characters.  This is a tough thing to pull off, because it takes away from the hero's journey.  In this case, the journey wasn't significant enough that I actually cared.  I liked the secondary characters more than the lead.  Same thing with the villain.  Kevin Spacey's character came in way too late in the movie to build any kind of deep seated hatred, and more importantly, the villain had NOTHING to do with the lead character!  The conflict was between George Clooney's character and Kevin Spacey, leaving Ewan to just hear about it and marvel at it.  Which lead me to not really give a *@!#.

3)  Movement, Connection, Pace:  Nope.  There was a little bit of a connection, but it was haphazard.  The pace was constantly interrupted by flashbacks and backstory, so again, it felt like I was being jerked around.

I think over all this is a movie that relied on star power, one-liners, and a quirky premise, but forgot the key elements of story.  I don't think it was highly regarded by the critics, but from my perspective, it just didn't tell a story engagingly enough for me to care.  It was a challenge to watch.

Have you seen it?  Any differing opinions?  By the way, just cuz I panned it doesn't mean you shouldn't watch it.  Sometimes it's good to see what doesn't work.  And remember, just because it's a movie doesn't mean the elements of story telling aren't appropriate for fiction.  They are.

Write on, my brotha's and sistah's!  Remember, Optimism is the wave of the future!  I hope...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts