11 of 365: Where have all the stories gone?

I’ve just watched the movie ‘Hysteria’, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy. I really enjoyed it. It’s wonderfully acted. Cast, sets, props, costumes – all brilliant. It’s funny, moving, inspiring. It’s a well-realised movie.

But the thing that really stood out was the fact that it had an actual story! Don’t all movies have that, you’re probably thinking? Well, no, I don’t think they do anymore. The art of the story is going the way of the dodo.

For instance, last week I watched ‘Ice Age 4’, and ‘Despicable Me 2’. Both visually excellent. Both with top-notch art, animation, voice-actors. Both a testament to the hundreds of highly-talented visual artists who are the real stars of animated movies.

I also watched ‘Elysium’, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. Great cast, acting, visuals, sets, props, post-production effects.

But all 3 films suffered from the same problem – no real story. At their heart, all there was, was an idea.

Every story starts with an idea, but the idea is supposed to be fleshed-out to become an actual story. It’s not enough to just give an audience lots of filler scenes and hope we don’t notice that the story is very thin. Action scenes that get the heart racing and the brain into sensory overload, and crazy scenes designed to elicit laughs are good, but they shouldn’t be the only thing on offer. Give me some meat with my potatoes.

Where are the good writers? (Blogging – that’s where!!! :D) How do these films get the green-light? How do they secure financing? It’s a mystery to me. Serving up half-arsed stuff to a public who do actually crave a good story is soon going to wear thinner than the plots on offer.

There would be so many truly great scrips out there in la la land. Can someone please take the time to source them, work to perfect them, and then make them. Thank you.

As an aside – a really brilliant film is ‘Anonymous’, starring Rhys Ifans. It’s visually brilliant and the story is intelligent, thought-provoking and, more importantly, there.

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