Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 14 November 2008

Does techno discourage viewers?

Judged by the aims of this blog Flight of the Phoenix is a movie that got it wrong. But see what you think.

A twin-boom plane (that's one in the inset), carrying a mish-mash of cardboard characters, crashes in the Gobi desert. Because one passenger can design planes and because there’s a cargo of manufacturing tools, the cast fashions a new aircraft based on one of the booms which is flown away into the sunset. FotP is a remake of one starring James Stewart which I saw and have forgotten. Except that it wasn’t this tedious and predictable.

The premise of amateurs building a plane is unlikely but, hey, let’s give it a go. But the movie makers didn’t. The techno-stuff is mostly unexplained and pushed into the background. Instead there are sub-plots about warring tribesmen, who’s stealing “the precious fluid” (water), personality clashes, and the rest of the nonsense by which Tarzan films were blown out to full length.

It’s my belief that if they’d stuck mainly to the re-building the movie would have been better. Even those with no real interest in technology could have responded to a story which laid out the problems and explained how they were resolved. “Caper” crime stories follow this route; so did Dambusters. But the makers had no faith in that, an opportunity was missed and a string of clich├ęs ensued.

I am not transfixed by technology. It’s only one of my interests and I chose it simply as a way of imposing self-discipline for a blog. However I believe an intelligent “How to…” approach can be entertaining, even in fiction. Or am I over-estimating the movie-going public?


marja-leena said...

I think you make an excellent point. If a major element in the film is a rebuilding of a plane, of course we are interested in how they do it. The TV series MacGyver comes to mind as a perfect example. Did you see that in the UK? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGyver)

Zhoen said...

Hollywood always underestimates the public. But intense, compelling shows do have an audience, they just don't trust it, so they half do it, which annoys everyone, and they get to say, "see, they don't like it."

Plutarch said...

Reading this post made think of another, though very different, movie which focuses on a technical accomplishment. This is The Fastest Indian in the World which is right up your street. I am rather assuming that you have seen it.

Barrett Bonden said...

M-L. MacGyver hasn't made it transatlantically. I checked the Wikipedia entry and could imagine myself giving it a go if it were available. I was interested to read the level of its acceptance by the viewing public: eg, "The car broke down but he macgyvered a fix to get home".

Plutarch: Missed it for ideological reasons. I'm a Honda fan

Plutarch said...

It's not too late. The fact that it is an Indian doesn't matter.