As you know, I watch a lot of movies. In fact I watch more movies than I read books, and I love the form of storytelling on film. But I have to admit I watch movies with two sets of eyes – or maybe two brains – so there’s one that just goes for the ride and one that actually thinks about what it’s watching.
I was reminded of this when watching Star Trek: Into Darkness, as I did thoroughly enjoy it and came out of the cinema very happy, but fully aware that the moment I began to think about the plot it was going to be a bumpy plot-hole ride.
Unless you enjoy being a grouch, you can’t really love movies and not watch in this split-personality sort of way. Maybe you become a reviewer, I suppose.
What I find mildly fascinating is that movies like this one, can carry you through the bits that don’t make sense, or contradict themselves etc through pacing and immersion alone, which books tend not to manage. Having said that, I do think you need to sell the viewer on the set-up to succeed, as Looper (which I loved) didn’t work for lots of people because they didn’t buy the premise of what Loopers did. The filmmaker lost them in the first 30 seconds.
In Star Trek, the only thing that my going-for-the-ride brain couldn’t handle was the gratuitous woman-in-underwear shot, which jarred more than that sexist crap usually does because it served no narrative purpose whatsoever. The thinking brain was very upset.
Mind you I write this post well aware that I have the ability to suspend my disbelief almost completely. From angry post-movie-watching rants by many of my friends I know that not everyone’s going-for-the-ride brain is as easy to please as mine!