I mean it. Drives me crazy.
I don’t mean slapstick comedies. I have no problem with them. I mean that I hate it when movies make gaping errors related to their own plot or greatly ignore the physics of the universe they are set in.
There are many things that can go wrong in a movie to make it fail but the one thing that should NEVER make it out of the development stage is STUPID.
These are not a matter of opinion. These are not issues of how something could have been better or would have been more in line with the book it’s based on or the original it’s a sequel to or anything that can be debated.
STUPID is reserved for issues that make no sense, contradict what we have already been told or is just plain wrong from an intellectual perspective.
The caveat here is that characters are ALLOWED to be stupid; Directors however…
With few examples, the “success or failure buck” on a film usually stops with the Director. They were in charge. They signed off. It’s their ass. Sure the studio often flexes their muscles (especially on very big productions) but for the most part;
STUPID IS AS STUPID DIRECTS.
Here’s the first entry of our new series;
Salt starring Angelina Jolie and directed by Phillip Noyce.
During the film’s climax, Jolie’s character chases an elevator car down it’s shaft by leaping down from support column to support column. Look at that picture on the right. She jumps about 30 feet down and lands on a steel beam as if gravity were a silly myth. Go ahead and try this yourself. I’ll wait.
Are you done? Did you try it? Of course not, if you tried it you would be dead and thus out of Geekpropaganda’s target audience. I know crazy stuff like this happens all the time in movies, but the way this is shot she looks like a Julie Taymor Spiderman-esque ballerina and it’s STUPID.
Okay. Now watch this clip.
Keep in mind this is not a movie about a super hero. It’s a thriller about a Russian sleeper agent. Apparently a Russian sleeper agent rom Krypton. I’m not a jerk. I can usually suspend disbelief in scenes like this but after landing on THAT truck, she leaps off of it while it crosses a second overpass and lands on a SECOND truck; an oil tanker. The driver sees her and slams on his brakes tossing her off the truck to the street some 15 feet below at about forty miles per hour. She hops up as if NOTHING has happened out of the ordinary and commandeers a passing motorcycle. This is not acceptable in films not being directed by Michael Bay. Stupid.
Last point. Spoiler Alert.
At the end of the film, the TRUE villain is revealed. The true villain kills a bunker full of government workers in plain view of the President. The TRUE villain then knocks the President unconscious. Salt enters at this point and saves the day. The TRUE villain gets the jump on her and manages to make it seem that SHE was the true villain, a point made harder for her to argue once she kills him in front of the entire Washington DC Police force and half the FBI.
She is placed on a Helicopter where she has a conversation with the guy who has been chasing her the whole movie. She makes it clear that she knows where the rest of the TRUE villains are and that she will kill them. He unlocks her hand cuffs and they stage a fake escape where she leaps out of a helicopter over the Potomac River in winter. Of course she swims out and runs off toward a sequel as if she just nailed a triple Lindy off the high board at Rodney Dangerfield’s Alma mater. That’s not what’s STUPID.
What’s stupid is that the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES knows she is not the TRUE villain so there is NO REASON TO ESCAPE. Just wait for him to wake up and explain what happened. It’s not like no one will believe him; he’s the PRESIDENT.
Whatever. Salt had a lot of potential and Angelina Jolie is very believable as a double agent who can kick 11 varieties of ass.
This could have really been something of a classic.
Sadly it’s just STUPID.