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The Patriot

Entry 991, on 2009-04-18 at 22:03:12 (Rating 3, Comments)

My family are watching a rather silly movie on TV and I have realised why I don't really watch much TV any more. The movie is "the Patriot" from 2000 starring Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger. The thing that I find annoying about this movie and many others is the formula which seems to be used in creating them. I've only watched about 30 minutes of it so far but its already apparent what's going on. Its so boring that I've decided to write this blog entry instead. Of course, there are so many ads playing during the movie that I would have plenty of time to write it during those as well.

So what are these formulas used in these movies? Well there is the simplistic good guys and bad guys stuff. People don't seem to like complex characters with good and bad characteristics because then they would have to think about their actions instead of recognising stereotyped puppets instead.

Another is the classic sequence which excuses the brutal behaviour of the hero. Inevitably he is the victim if some evil act by the bad guys early on (in this case his young son was shot and killed) so that when he goes on a killing rampage later on its seen as OK.

Then there is the patriotic speech, with plenty of references to god and country and accompanied by a stirring sound track, just to make it even more obvious to the audience what sort of emotion they should be feeling during that scene.

And finally there's the combat scenes. During these the previously competent bad guys suddenly can't hit the side of a barn and all their military training seems to disappear. The good guys can blast away and take out a bad guy with every shot. Also the bad guys all die straight away but the good guys can be shot a dozen times, then still run around and blast a dozen more bad guys before finally succumbing to their wounds. Its stirring stuff!

I don't mean to pick on this movie in particular because, as I said, this is a well used formula in most Hollywood movies but this one annoyed me more than most for some reason. Well I guess this is just another evening of TV I will avoid.


Comment 1 (1979) by SBFL on 2009-04-20 at 06:15:04:

Actually when I watched it many years ago I didn't think it was too bad, considering. However with a title and cover poster like that had, an assumed script that you described was attained so expectations weren't too high from the beginning. Indeed there are many boring movies just as you mentioned but I have to say more and more often we are seeing more real characters in Hollywood films, those with good and bad characteristics (Case in point: compare the four Batman films of 1989-97, with the two more recent ones - Batman Begins and The Dark Knight). I find these more complex characters 10 times more intriguing as of course one can relate to them; we are challenged as to what is right and what is wrong every day. Hollywood still has a long way to go, but they probably realise they need to evolve, as the old formula has dragged on way too long.


Comment 2 (1986) by OJB on 2009-04-20 at 20:27:20:

It wasn't too bad, considering. Ever heard of the phrase "damning by faint praise"? :)


Comment 3 (1989) by SBFL on 2009-04-21 at 06:53:29:

I hadn't actually but not to hard to work out what it means.


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