Thinking about Scott’s question and thinking about the struggle to keep from falling right back into the patterns that I really have no choice but to try to shake off and shake up and re-set…
…as soon as I start thinking more narratologically, more about making a movie that’s a movie, I start turning my life into my own star vehicle… and I start feeling more secretive, more greedy, more manipulative, more phony – more in need of and part of a project that “makes sense” the way that the crappy movie I pay-per-viewed tonight made perfect sense, both on its own terms and as a business venture…
I knew going in that BATTLE: LOS ANGELES would be a movie about the state of the move industry and little else, and, if I had been in more of a mood to laugh, I would have laughed out loud when the production company logo came onscreen: “Original Films.” Ironies don’t get more “on the nose.” BATTLE: LOS ANGELES is the frictionless inter-alignment of two genre systems – modern alien movie, modern war movie – and other than that a computer-shooter for people who don’t have time and habit set aside for computer-shooters. Storyline was very much STARSHIP TROOPERS, ID4 and a thousand forgotten or never-filmed scripts and books. Aliens attack, overwhelmingly superior, but heroes discover key vulnerability, execute daring plan, achieve victory… one giant leap for all mankind. Was probably pitched as a combination of ID4 and BLACK HAWK DOWN or some such.
The point is that as a story – Marine Sgt on last tour rallies his plucky ragtag troops and overcomes personal demons in against the odds fight against evil aliens – BATTLE: LOS ANGELES isn’t a story at all. As a collection of data points in the ongoing real Battle: Los Angeles, between the Movies and what’s destroying the Movies, it had a bit more to offer. Humanity defeats Special Effects in the end – “Let’s take back Los Angeles” is the final sentence. But without Special Effects – the mechanized alien menace – there is no reason for the film, no basis for this spectacle, nothing much to the film at all.
Who or what really wins in a movie like this one?
So, I tell myself, and try hard to believe it, stop doing or trying to do this thing I’m trying to do as though it’s BATTLE: LOS ANGELES… let the falls chip where they may… At least Scott will like it.
(This actually was all about the outline for the Second Draft that I’ve been fighting with… maybe more on that later.)