Summer Movie Musings

Ta-Nehisi Coates, in discussing Thor:

I did not find it transcendent (Batman Begins did it on that count.) I thought Asgard looked rather plastic, and the love story was, as always, tacked on. But here is the thing: They kept the train on the tracks. The narrative felt smooth enough that I could just sit back and take in the fight scenes, the effects and laugh at the jokes.

This sounds like meager praise. Except it’s exactly what I ask out of a summer blockbuster, and it’s exactly what I often find missing. It’s shocking how often the train is derailed by distracting characters (robots with gold teeth) preposterous dialouge (“Hold me, Ani. Hold me like you did on the shore of the lake on Naboo”) or the off-screen murder of major character (Cyclops?)

Seriously, this is my case against Michael Bay. It’s not the explosions. It’s not the special effects. It’s not the lack of seriousness. It’s that he can’t keep the train on the tracks. It’s that, as a director, he’s a humorless clutz who can’t get out of the way.

There’s nothing wrong with Independence Day. There’s everything wrong with Armageddon.

The best I can say of Thor is that I was entertained. I think that’s worth something.

My movie time is limited these days, so I don’t have as much time for good trash as I’d like. But my feelings are very much along these lines. I don’t mind dumb movies as long as they’re entertaining. I can suspend belief with the best of them. I loved Inception even thought the plot had some pretty big holes in it.

But there are a huge number of movies these days that play out like trailers for other movies. The second Transformers movie was this in spades — it jumped around with no rhyme or reason, gave you no reason to care about who was shooting who and why, and it’s action scenes were an incomprehensible blur of CGI.

This summer is just going to be awful. Look at the most anticipated movies. Maybe I’ll watch a few. But none of them look fresh or interesting or even watchable.

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