Archive for August 2011

Dinner and a Movie   1 comment

As I was reading Gilmore this week, I came across a paragraph that I found to be particularly interesting.  It states, “The great heroes of the archaic civilizations….. are all alike… which is perhaps not so surprising since the monster-slaying champion would necessarily be braver, more dauntless, and stronger than ordinary men, as well as supremely virtuous.  Not much room for variation there. But even more to the point: the monsters likewise have much in common.” Most of the movies that we watch have very similar plots, yet we hate when these movies deviate from the ordinary.  The plots usually start with an unlikely hero who is faced with a monster that no one thinks he can destroy.  He eventually masters his powers, destroys the monster, and saves the world.  This is the plot we have come to expect when we go to see a superhero movie or a movie with some sort of monster in it.  Most of the heroes in these movies are also very similar.  For example, in the Green Lantern, Hal Jordan is an irresponsible, selfish person; yet, the lantern saw potential in him and chose him to be a hero. He is trained, and he becomes the hero that no one thought he could be.  This is very similar to an extremely different type of movie, Hercules.  Hercules is a clumsy teenager, with incredible strength that he does not know how to control.  Phil sees potential in him, trains him, and he becomes the hero that saves Earth from Hades.  Another similarity between these two movies is their monsters.  Both are unrealistic, alien-like, and incredibly strong.  Often, these monsters are stronger than the heroes.  There is not really much room for variation in hero versus monster movies.  If the monsters were lovable, the audience would not be happy when they die at the end.  If the heroes did not prevail, the audience would leave feeling angry, confused, and disappointed.

I think Gilmore is right about the similarities in heroes and monsters.  When I watch movies, I do not always notice that the characters’ personalities are similar to characters I have seen before, but this paragraph brought those similarities to my attention.  I have seen a lot of movies that all have the same basic plot, yet I loved them all.  Why is it that we are so comfortable with this plot?  In the Dark Knight, the Joker lives to see another day.  Even though it was a very popular movie, those who do not like it often say it is because there is not a resolution.  The monster does not die.  Why is that so unsettling to monster movie lovers?  Why do they need the monster to die at the end?  Why do they still go to the movies even though they know what will happen in the end? Why is it so hard for us to accept a change in movie plots?

Posted August 23, 2011 by heffner14 in Uncategorized