You Know You’re In Trouble When They Start Narrating

I recently decided to give The Last Airbender movie a go again. I’m a huge fan of the show and I was horrified by the movie version the first time, but it’s been a while and I figured knowing what to expect might make it better. OK so that was completely delusional, but I was curious to see it a second time with no expectations.

And thus we come to the title of this post. I’ve never had anything against narration. Sometimes it’s necessary or fitting to the story and can be done rather effectively. What scares me is when they start narrating how people feel or tell you what’s just happened. Maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t that what acting is for? I’ve always been under the, perhaps misguided, impression that movies are made up of scenes with actors who talk, gesture, and emote so that the audience understands how they feel, what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it. And considering the number of movies I’ve seen where no overdubbed explanation was required, I’m pretty sure I’m right.

Fortunately, I haven’t seen this type of dumbed-down narration that much – yet. But the fact that I’ve seen it more than once lately worries me. Where is the storytelling? I love movies and I like them even when they’re imperfect, and I certainly have my share of guilty pleasures. But the fact that I don’t seem to be the only one skipping theaters in favor of Netflix because that new film probably won’t be worth the $12 makes me wonder if movies will get better or worse with time. Just to save myself the aggravation, I’ve made a policy of going to a movie with zero expectations, regardless of hype or my own feelings about it. It helps but I’m still disappointed by the lack of time put into character and plot development while the effects wow and astonish. Don’t get me wrong, I love special effects. But there comes a point when I would like to love the characters just as much.

What’s your take on movies these days? What would you want to see more/less of? Any recommendations for good contemporary films?

Photo by gailf548.

6 thoughts on “You Know You’re In Trouble When They Start Narrating

  1. Alex Connolly

    I think, like you, I have guilty pleasures. As such, it’s hard to say what particular films I like. I adored Love Actually and will watch almost anything that is fantasy or has magic in. However, I tried to watch The Last Airbender recently and I gave up after the first terrible piece of special effects. I felt myself cringing inside and knew I couldn’t watch it. I think above all, the film has to look good in itself.

    Reply
  2. kitchenmudge

    I must be far outside the target audience for both the tv series and the movie, but a relative put the dvd in while I was visiting. It seemed like a long ad for a video game, like no one expected it to serve as an actual movie.

    Reply

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