There have been many films that have surprised me lately. I just love it when you settle down to watch a film and it exceeds all your expectations and you are left entertained and above all have enjoyed the experience of watching it, no matter what the type of film is. Recently 'Body of Lies' was just such a film. It appeared to be just another action movie but it was so much more. Conversely I feel cheated to my very core when I want so very much to enjoy a film, when it's pedigree, it's trailer and everything else lead me to expect it to be good and then the film falls far short of anything resembling what it promised.
I find this most often with so-called 'Blockbuster' films. The ones with the huge budgets, the 'A' list stars and all the CGI wizardry. Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull left me cold as the film lurched from improbable event to improbable event, ending in a bizarre alien tornado that barely seemed to be credible and taking in angry jungle animals along the way. It wasn't just the over reliance on CGI effects at the expense of plot, but rather that each turn of the plot relied on something that seemd merely a lazy plot device to progress things. And we were being asked to not just suspend disbelief but to swallow it wholesale. Needless to say I choked.
I'm not just getting at poor old Indy here either. Other films that have had a similar effect on me are, the last two Pirates of the Caribbean films, and Quantum of Solace. As a sequel to the wonderful Casino Royale (IMHO) this was just a total let down. The baddie was weak, as was the Bond girl, the plot barely hung together, the characters were two dimensional and the action sequences were impossible to follow. Eugh. I could just imagine the Producers meeting, akin to the ones on the adverts for a well known mobile phone company:
"Bond is back and this time he has to be bigger and badder"
"I have the perfect idea. Let's have chases on land, sea and in the air! And this time we'll have all that close up shaky camera action too".
"But what about the plot? We don't seem to have much of one here."
"We'll throw in a few huge explosions, some pretty girls and lots of CGI. No-one will notice"
The Producers high five and 'do lunch' while for me at least, the new Bond is completely ruined.
I like films with a well written script and a well thought out plot that hangs together, even if it involves aliens, monsters or heroes. I like real stunts done by talented stunt men. I don't mind CGI when it is used as part of the film, and not almost as an actor itself. Most of all, I do not like to be decieved about what I am going to watch. I do not like to come away from having spent my £7.20 on a ticket feeling like the film makers think their audience are very stupid indeed. I do not appreciate it at all.