Plausibly Ridiculous

I’ve recently watched a trio of movies, which I’d like to briefly review. I’m not really a fussy watcher. I can enjoy most types of movie, although my mood at any moment might make me lean towards one genre over another. What do I look for? Good acting, reading from a decent script. Preferably without looking like they are actually reading from the script. Special effects or stunning landscapes? Both are good. I just want an escape for a couple of hours. Something that entertains, works my imagination, makes me think, provokes emotions. Any one of those or a mix. Most importantly, unless it’s an intentional farce, it must be plausible. Plausibility is everything.

Plausibility isn’t necessarily a limitation. Star Trek is no more implausible than the Ten Commandments. The writer need not prove his concept. He just has to be imaginative enough with it to ensure it isn’t instantly disprovable by the average layman. Needless to say, Star Trek director JJ Abrams might have a greater struggle to convince an astrophysicist that he would me. Although the franchise actually has quite a fascinating scientific history. Even Superman has a semblance of plausibility. Sort of. Until someone finds Krypton, grabs a wee bairn, and shots it to Earth, then nothing is disproven!

The first of the three films was Dark Zero Thirty. Plausibility is helped by the fact the film is based on a true life event – the hunt for and eventual killing of Osama Bin Laden. Possibly also by politically motivated leaks, although that seems to be conjecture at the moment. Dark Zero Thirty is gritty, with a gripping storyline and a gutsy finale. The scenery whisks you away to strange, foreign lands and has you feeling a little out of your comfort zone.  It’s also proof that if the script and screenplay are strong enough, it doesn’t necessary matter if someone goes and ruins the ending for you before you’ve seen it. I won’t spoil it for you though! Dark Zero Thirty gets a nine out of ten for plausibility and an eight out of ten for the movie from me. Definitely recommended.

Next up was Flight. Denzel Washington is an ace pilot. A drunk ace pilot. A drunk, coked up ace pilot. Who flies a broken passenger jet upside down in a heroic effort to get it safely to the ground. Well, relatively safely. He really is an ace pilot. Who else could do that? There are some who try it in a simulator. Is all this plausible? Well, I know planes can fly upside down. I’m pretty sure that a few drunks have tried that before now. Impossible, then, it is not. But we’re moving downwards on the likelihood scale. But still, the first fifteen minutes are gripping, thanks to the special effects. So all is forgiven. Much of the rest of the film is a very human story. At times, it’s touching. And frustrating. The end is a little too heroic.  But it is kinda how you want it to end. So forgiveness reigns once more. A six out of ten on the plausibility scale, and a six and a half out of ten for the movie. It’s a good enough flick if there’s nothing better on.

The last on my list? Skyfall. Bond. A bastion of British cinema for a half century. I loved the old Connery films. Roger Moore too. In fact, especially Roger Moore. After watching the first ten minutes of the first Timothy Dalton Bond, I switched off, and hadn’t watched another Bond film since. Till Skyfall. I’d read mixed reviews. But mostly positive. The glorious scenery. Top class acting. Stunning special effects. Where do I lie on Skyfall? The kindest thing I can say about Skyfall, is that I watched it to the end.   It’s a shame. I liked Daniel Craig. And the scenery. But the storyline was shockingly weak.

The effeminate super villain was utterly preposterous. He had no character, no personality to speak of.  He was shallow and, like the rest of the film, thoroughly improbable. Too say the least. Cliches and cheese fitted into every other line. This movie contained not one iota of plausibility. Not a shred. What a disappointment. I give it a zero out of ten for plausibility. And a generous four out of ten for the movie. I guess I’m trying to make a point. A simple point. A movie just needs to make me believe. How it does that doesn’t matter. It can earn my belief through the science. Through the story. Or just by making me want to believe. But it has to make me believe in it.

Movies have a new competitor. A competitor so extraordinary that it’ll put pressure on movie makers to up their game. And a competitor that trumps any movie on plausibility. This competitor is real life. Life has always been more exciting, dramatic and unexpected than the movies. But it’s twists and turns came infrequently and if you blinked, you missed them. Not any more. Nowadays, real life is captured, condensed, bottled up and distributed on YouTube and other video sites. Click here for some Russian dash cam action. The exploding road mid way through the video, in case you’re interested, is a passenger jet crashing just out of camera. But I’ll leave you with a real plane crash. Not as dramatic as Denzel’s shunt, for sure. But still. It’s real. And a pretty unique ‘insiders’ view of a crash.

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11 comments

    1. Russians are the craziest people on this planet. Gotta love them! Didn’t you like the way those two guys just got out of their trashed car and strolled off, as if to say that that was as good a parking place as any.

        1. That was also pretty special. The cows seemed ok, which was nice. But perhaps it was just as well they switched to the next clip quick sharpish before you had time to check them all over…

  1. Because I live too far from a movie theater I do not get to see first run movies. Maybe that is a good thing from your review of the second and third movies. I love Denzel on Man on Fire and most of his other movies but might not in this movie. The Bond movies are not the same without Connery! Dark Zero seem like one that I would like to see but the nearest theater is almost an hour away in Morelia, and the flick that are in the original language are only shown after dark. I don’t like to drive back from the city after dark. The option would be to pickup a pirated copy. No thanks! Guess I will have to wait for my cable operator to offer it on pay for view. Plausibility, that is good measure!

    1. Have you been reading Steve’s blog about pirate DVDs and the narcos?

      Anyway, Dark Zero Thirty is an excellent film. I’ve just watched Django Unchained too. That’s not terribly plausible, but then it isn’t meant to be. So that’s ok. And it’s excellent. Definitely worth watching if you liked Pulp Fiction. Which was the last, and only, Tarantino film that I ever really enjoyed.

  2. I saw all three of the films you reviewed on my recent trips to Oregon. And I liked all three — for different reasons. I liked Skyfall better than you did. But I am always attracted to scripts that riff off of the Cain and Abel story — with a bit of Freudian mommy-love thrown in for good measure.

    1. Without wanting to entire lower the tone, I feel compelled to point out that of all the stories ever told, the Cain and Abel story is the one which definitely doesn’t require dear old Freud for a dose of mommy-love to be thrown in. :)

  3. I saw two of the three and was bored by both – Did not see the Denzel Washington offering the synopsis alone scared me off. ;-0

    I am soooo hard to please – I know. But I really enjoyed the entire three seasons of Downton Abbey – you crazy Brits ;-)

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