Saturday, December 08, 2007

In response to The Rec Show

Ray, over at The Rec Show posted about why he hates the Speed Racer trailer. I decided to write a response to him in the comments there, and then I decided that I would post it here as well.

You know, when I was a kid, I absolutely LOVED the Popeye movie. I haven't seen it in years, and maybe I wouldn't like it now, that's certainly possible. But, as a young dreamrot, I adored it. Any time we could, my brother and I would watch that movie. And, while I don't know that I've seen the live action Flintstones and I certainly have no interest in Transformers, I know I'm not the intended audience. You said it yourself "so that no reasonably intelligent adult could stomach it". That's the point. These movies aren't intended to be viewed primarily by adults. They're intended for children. And I know plenty of kids who liked The Flintstones, Transformers, and one that you left off the list here, Scooby-Doo.

"Kids are not stupid, and especially not today. They are savvier and more technologically-competent than any other generation before them. They know live action when they see it, and expect the same real-world physics and logic to apply to live action when they watch it; however, their minds relax those standards when watching a cartoon."

This may be true, but it's not about real world physics. Movies have always defied the rules of the real world. Whether it's the Original Trilogy, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, horror movies, action movies, anything. The rules of the real world don't apply. Movies are not about reality. Movies are entirely about suspension of disbelief. It's escapism. Why a movie like Star Wars or The Matrix works is that it brings you into it's own reality where it's own laws matter. You escape your own life where a car accident is fatal and enter a world where young men can move objects with their mind so long as they receive instruction from little green men.

For Speed Racer to be successful, the Wachowskis must make us believe in this world of theirs. A world where these sort of crazy physics are possible. They did that with The Matrix. For all of the flaws, they're story related. No one complains that the action was too unrealistic. They succeeded in creating a world in which the viewer buys into that reality. THAT is successful movie making.

The key is going to be making an enjoyable movie. If they can do that, they'll win this battle. If the movie is engaging and entertaining, you will be able to forget that you're watching something that could never happen and get sucked into a story that takes you out of your boring life and into a world where the impossible happens.

Think about your favorite movie, then ask yourself "Could this really happen?" No, most often it could not. But remember the next time you watch it that for two hours, you're willing to accept a world in which it can.


Nik! said...

Well said, not that I'm surprised.