The widespread acclaim for James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy last week was nearly unanimous as audiences and critics finally agreed that it was a rare case of a summer movie delivering just as much fun and excitement as the trailers had promised. However, it is interesting to note that if you look at all of the rave reviews, the one thing almost no one has praised is the story. Isn’t that the one key ingredient always required to create a great film? Well… maybe not anymore. Steven Zeitchik recently wrote an article at the Los Angeles Times that explores this disturbing trend, something he refers to as “post-plot cinema.”
The funny thing is, he actually liked Guardians of the Galaxy and he says that there are advantages to movies without clear plots, such as the fact that they are essentially unspoilable and they focus on simply hanging out with the characters (the recent comedy hit Grown Ups comes to mind). It all seems to be a result of filmmaking by committee, where there is no clear creative vision and bits and pieces randomly get changed and tweaked until the final product is a mess. But as long as there are some sparkly special effects and a few memorable individual scenes, audiences will still eat it up. What do you think? Are today’s blockbusters lacking clear plots and compelling stories? And if so, is there anything wrong with that? Can a movie truly be great even when the story sucks? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.