Sunday, June 19, 2016

Learning from a bad movie (Unstoppable).

A couple of days ago I managed to turn on my television to check whether there was anything interesting on. I hadn't watched that much television lately, so I thought that almost anything would be more or less okay for me.

Pretty much the first thing that I noticed when I was channel surfing, was a film called 'Unstoppable'. This movie, starring Denzel Washington, was new to me, so I thought that perhaps I should stay on the channel that I was on. 

Unfortunately, it didn't take that long before I started to get bad vibes from the movie. Even though I had missed maybe the first five or ten minutes of the film, this movie about stopping a runaway train didn't feel right at all. 

That is because almost right away I noticed that the main characters didn't seem likable at all. I didn't like how Washington's character kept screaming at Chris Pine's character about how he was a horrible worker and that he should lose his job. 

It was really weird and I couldn't understand why the characters were so unlikable. After all, it's not exactly a secret that it's super important that the audience roots for its character and wants them to succeed in the film.

In any case, this 'unlikable' thing didn't really make sense, until it became obvious that the only reason that Chris Pine's train operator had made boo-boos was so that there would be an instant obstacle for these two protagonists in the movie.

This was a massive red flag for me and I was almost certain that it was because the film didn't have an organic premise. I felt that the 'train must be stopped' thing wouldn't make sense and that all the plot turns would be both implausible and undramatic.

Sure enough, it didn't take long before we got series of events where people _outside_ this main duo were attempting to stop the train. These were sequences that made no sense dramatically, so I started to feel even worse about the film.

After all, what were the chances that 1) the train would stop this early in the movie and that 2) it would be achieved by others than our two main protagonists? There's just no way that's how things we're going to happen in the film.

Naturally, all the following sequences that followed were incredibly boring, completely predictable and totally lacked any kind of dramatic tension. It felt that the movie went absolutely nowhere and I felt like falling asleep.

After these obvious failures, I pretty much zoned out and didn't pay that much attention to the movie anymore. There was no reason to actively watch the film anymore since the script for it had gone completely off the rails. 

Not surprisingly, during the last 45 minutes things didn't really get any better. The script didn't provide any plausible or non-stereotypical moments that we hadn't already seen a million times before in other movies.

So after the movie ended, all I could think was, why was this movie produced in the first place and why did it have so many good actors on it? What where these people thinking when they decided to spend 100 million dollars on this clunker? 

Even worse, what were the critics thinking when they decided that this was a good film? As unbelievable as it sounds, 'Unstoppable' has a mindboggling 86% fresh rating on and has gotten a lot of praise.

In the end, what I'm saying is that this movie didn't really have anything going for it. There wasn't really anything interesting happening in the film and there was no villain in the movie to keep our minds busy either.

In that sense, we can only be grateful that there actually exists good films based on 'unstoppable vehicles', like 'Speed' and 'Runaway Train'. These films were made when people still gave a damn about telling a good story. 

Unlike 'Unstoppable', movies like these managed to get most things right and managed to keep the audience entertained. These movies had ambition, respected our intelligence and most of all, made sure that the premise of the film actually worked.

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