July 31, 2012

10 Movies Guilty of Providing Too Much Information

Earth is all water now...does it really matter why?
As a species, humans are collectively stupid, and we don't like to think too much for ourselves. But some of us are smart enough to figure a few things out on our own, and do not need every movie explained to us like a Dick and Jane book. That hasn't stopped Hollywood from sometimes making certain even the dumbest in the audience know what's going on. For example...

WATERWORLD - This movie actually starts off pretty awesome, with Universal Pictures' iconic logo of Planet Earth, all the land silently disappearing as the oceans rise. It's all the viewer really needs to know before the film begins proper. But the mood is ruined with a pointless voiceover..."The future...the polar ice caps have melted..." What, did they assume people in the audience would think Earth was simply changing color?

IDIOCRACY - Similar to Waterworld, this vastly unappreciated satire of the dumbing-down of society begins with a montage showing how people devolve into complete idiots over the next 500 years. The visuals do all the work. It's pretty amusing, but almost ruined by a ‘funny’ voiceover, explaining the obvious. If such a movie needs this narration, maybe we’re already the society Idiocracy makes fun of in the first place.

THE TRUMAN SHOW - This movie totally blows it by letting the viewer know right away that the title character is the oblivious star of his own reality program. After that, all we're doing is watching how long it takes him to figure it out. Wouldn't it have been cooler if we were forced to figure it out along with him?

WAR OF THE WORLDS (Both Versions) - Both movies begin with similar narration as a nod to H.G. Wells' original story, which also began with this unnecessary prologue. But really, if you haven't gotten the gist of the thing from the title alone, you're a dumbass.

Better dumb-it-down a bit.
MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE - One of Stephen King's best short stories, "Trucks," offered no reason why the world's machines decide to start killing everyone. But for some reason, this film (horribly directed by King himself), starts with Earth being caught in a rogue comet’s tail. That explanation is dumb enough, but then at the end, King tacks-on the lame-ass revelation that a malevolent UFO instigated everything.

PSYCHO - Even this, the ultimate slasher film, goes too far. It’s terrifying enough that the seemingly meek Norman Bates turns out to be ‘mother.’ Do we really need a five-minute coda at the end which explains his psychosis?

Midichlorians did this to my hair.
STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE - Raise your hand if you wanted a biological explanation of how The Force actually worked. Midichlorians? Really, George? We already accepted The Force for what it was, a mystic ability.

DUNE - Even today, this mega-budget bomb is baffling. There are a lot of astounding scenes, as well as some of the most quirky-ass characters ever featured in a mainstream sci-fi film. It’s still amazing this was helmed by David Lynch. Considering his reputation for ambiguity, I suppose it’s not surprising he’d include such a worthless narrative intro, which supposedly sets the stage, yet is still nearly incomprehensible. Even weirder are countless scenes of whispered internal monologue from characters throughout the film...they provide nothing which makes the murky plot any clearer, nor do they offer any info the viewer couldn’t have picked up on their own.

BLADE RUNNER (Original Theatrical Release) - Harrison Ford’s tacked-on voice-over to this cerebral story was one of the main criticisms of Blade Runner when initially released, by adding completely unnecessary exposition. And indeed, Ford's narration truly did render it little more than a 21st Century detective story similar to the cheap film-noir of the 50s. Later editions of the film have remedied this, making Blade Runner one of the few movies ever retooled to acknowledge its audience had at least a little bit more intelligence then originally given credit for.

HALLOWEEN (Remake) - What made the original John Carpenter movie scary is that we knew almost nothing about Michael Myers...he was the personification of evil because he killed without motive. Rob Zombie’s ill-advised remake, however, is mostly an origin story, and we’re subjected to depressing scenes of Myers’ abused childhood in an attempt to make him somewhat sympathetic. The problem with that is we end up knowing so much about Michael that, when he finally dons his infamous mask, he’s not scary anymore.

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