October 2011

Movie Screw-Ups: The Fog of War

Being that I like to watch a lot of movies, I sometimes find myself feeling profoundly annoyed when I notice things that upset my suspension of disbelief.  While a bad script and horrible acting are certainly the worst of these crimes, there are some mistakes that only directors and editors can make. 

Today’s annoying movie screw-up: The Fog of War

I like to call this one the fog of war because it reminds me of so many video games that I’ve played.  For the uninitiated, the fog of war is the zone that appears on your map but you still can’t see it since it’s covered up with a grey area.  It’s supposed to reflect the fact that whatever unit or character you’re controlling doesn’t have the ability to see that far, thus it is hidden from view.  Movies end up with a very similar effect happening, except they don’t use maps to implement the fog of war, they use camera angles.

Basically, the screw-up is when a character is off-screen and become invisible to other characters in the scene, no matter how close they may be.  This most often seems to occur when new characters enter a scene and, instead of taking time to have two characters or groups approach each other, the director instead has them walk in from off-camera and act like nobody was none the wiser.

New Mortal Kombat Movie on the Horizon

There's arguably nothing more quintessentially 90's than Mortal Kombat. What started as a little video game developed by Ed Boon and John Tobias exploded in a comically gratuitous cloud of blood, guts and bones that changed the gaming industry forever, won a very public bout against censorship and had a hit movie almost as a matter of course. Now history seems to be repeating itself (or at least New Line Cinema hopes it is) with last year's release of the MK video game reboot and the new upcoming movie that hopes to capture the box office of the original without drawing any comparison to its extremely dated style. The funny part? It might not be half bad.

Attention Hollywood: Stop Making Movies About Non-Characters

I used to really hate movies where the resolution turns out to be the equivalent of a bad dream or something that has yet to happen. Films like the awful Next and Prince of Persia are the bane of my movie-watching existence. I still hate these movies, but I have a new film pet peeve that seems to be a current trend among filmmakers: the “it’s not you, it’s me” plot. (There are spoilers for a few films ahead.)

And I don’t mean romantic comedies with this plot, which would at least make sense, I suppose. I’m talking about movies where the protagonist is in every scene, but at the end of the movie you’re informed—usually in an annoyingly narrative fashion—that it was never about the main protagonist at all, but about so-and-so, a minor character whose development didn’t even occur in the movie.