hero, screenwriting, Tea, Thor
It’s 4 pm, and at this moment, I need a cup of tea.
Coffee is more a morning affair, a routine to fuel my lack of energy to sit at my table (my desk, or an anonymous table in a coffee house or at the library), get to what I have to do, figure out how the things must develop onstage (for the musical project I am currently working on), finish the work, retrieve the scene where I left it (for the techno-thriller), having allowed the hero to breathe a little more before throwing him into an unbearable dilemma, when I switched the laptop the night before.
The perfect cuppa is better enjoyed with an episode of a great TV series, after 8 pm, when I am not out.
I am addicted to tea and telly paired together (well, not the telly, rather the TV series on the telly). While busy with my favorite vice, I can’t help but analyse the product I am served.
I suppose it’s what everyone suffering from the same disorder does : We shell the tricks of the screenplay, anticipating moves of the action or of some characters, expecting them to react in a particular way. I like it when I have a right guess, I feel the screenwriter has done his job properly, by having followed the rules and that the director has done a good job too with the clues, letting the audience to recall them on time and find the path to enlightenment. I like when the series is so cleverly crafted that if leaves me puzzled or amazed. It’s highly enjoyable when this feeling lasts a bit more and makes one smile. It’s always better when the trick/twist end/resolution is cleverly chiseled and not set on a short fuse.
For instance, I felt quite disappointed with “Thor”. But not with “Pirates, band of misfits” that I saw last Sunday.
Thor is a nice guy. He is about the become king of Asgard.Check. Strong, big, handsome, chiseled 6-pack, charming smile, his father is proud of him. He is the hero. The hero is a though guy (with loads of special FX, too much), he wants war. Check. Special FX. Check. Special FX again. Cheeeeeeck.
Thor has a jealous brother, Loki (Nemesis character), conspiring against him. Check. But he is shot-tempered (Thor, not Loki. well, Loki too). This is his main drawback (coupled with an unquenchable thirst for revenge upon the people of Frost Giants). The Frost Giants interrupt and try to steal a casket, followed by Thor and his friends (reflection characters). Battle takes place.
(Special effects,I, II, III, IV)
Odin is terribly disappointed. His father, the king of Gods (all this is inspired by Norske tales and the marvel comics) banishes him from the Scandinavian Olympus and the brother is seeking to seize the throne after this banishment. Check.
Thor is a shallow, smooth character inside, a little guilty on the edges (well not that much) when he learns that his father is dying. Loki has layers that add depth to his dilemma (his is the adopted son of Odin, an offspring of a killed Frost Giant Chef).
Later, Thor faces the dilemma : inner motivation : striking back, showing he is not that short-tempered and he can change and become king . Outer motivation : to regain his father’s esteem and redeem his right to the throne (and regain his immortality and his powers). Check. Check. Check. Special FX.
On Earth, he meets Natalie Portman, the pretty scientist (she embodies both (a little) the reflection character and the romance character). She lives and work in a RV, with her assistant and a tutelary personification of the father (= authority, credibility, etc).
Special effects.Special effects.Special effects.Special effects.
Thor is accustomed to be served by servants, right? He does not know how to clean a table, cook an egg (furthermore in a kitchen on our planet, he is a God from Above the Clouds), or understand why it’s important to be polite to others, right? (Special effeeeeeeects)
He must face a dilemma : he must understand that making war is bad bad bad. He should be torn between his blossoming attraction for Natalie and his duty and his anger to show his father that he has all rights to seek revenge over the people from the icy world, right? Especially when his brother comes down to whisper the song of war and brute force to crush them and regain his throne, right? His brother wants to use those feelings to destroy Thor forever, and seeks to excite his appetite for blood and fight. The audience expects to see the dilemma plastered all over his blond face, his hands twisted with remorse and regret and duty and courage and anger…
It must, it should, it needs to last some minutes, and could be shown in several micro-scenes, inserted in the flow of the linear construction of the timeline, even in parallel actions, to add tension and thrill and build the suspense.
But not Thor. He does not give a toss to our expectation of tension, thrill, or supense. He has his magic hammer (well, ok, ok, it is still stuck in a mud bed, with all the FBI, CIA, whatever agency agents all around sent to observe the unknown device, and the rain is pouring, and it’s night and it’s thunderstrom everywhere, and Thor escapes the security to retrieve his hammer and he meets Natalie again and….), his blond suntan skin and his surfer hair, he is tough (remember?) AND he has changed.
We know that because he said so, while piling the eggs sunny-side-up into Natalie’s plate, a tea towel thrown over his shoulder, with a nice apron and a perfectly peaceful gaze at his bro, Loki, who just can’t believe his ears (just as the audience, BTW, this was dumbfounding, I daresay).
“WHAT? No war? what about your anger, and your will for revenge? And regaining your hammer and its power and your powers? Those people are our ENNEMY from the beginning of time, blablabla…” (he tries really hard to shake the king-to-be-banished-but-not-really-and-already-forgiven-by-Daddy). Special effects.
But no. It’s written in the script, so there goes Thor : “I HAVE C-H-A-N-G-E-D, nanana… No war. Peace and love, bro. “
Can you believe that? What happened to the screenwriter? Why frustrating the audience like that? There are rules, in the good book of screenwriting rules.
See? Special effects can’t be all. And I need a tea. Tea and Thor, the guy who changed. Not the perfect match. Too bad, it was promising, even the second seeing is frustrating.
So long, though guy.
Floreva, TVseries addict forever.