If you thought that Bollywood movies have become formula-based, re-think! Every Hollywood action / disaster movie has become completely predictable as well. If you take the 2009 hit movie ‘2012’ or ‘Avatar’ (the 2D Version), there is not much that has changed with respect to the likes of ‘Independence Day’ that came out in 1996.
The idea is to put in a mix of standard plot items and make a movie and earn billions out of it… In the end the viewer has a satisfied look of watching yet-another ‘greatest’ action movie of all time. Here is a list of the top 10 plot items that are typically used…
1. The bomb that looks like a lego toy: The villains will make a bomb, typically nuclear, sometimes chemical or biological or maybe in the future, social! The bomb always looks like a mechanical engineering college project gone wrong. One such device used in New York or San Francisco, could blow up the whole world, such is the power of the device. A sample bomb usually goes off in a smaller city (where the building blowing to smithereens effect will be copy-pasted for the millionth time) so that the users get an idea of what might happen to a big city. There is usually a time period of 24 hours up to a week before which the device has to be de-activated else the world will end, and you probably would not have been able to catch this movie!
2. The over-powering rude boss: The good guys will always have an overpowering boss who takes his own stand at all times and pains the hell out of the hero and his team that is trying to save the world. There will be at least 2 – 3 examples shown of how the overpowering boss is mean to the team, so you are left with no sympathy when he is finally either killed or shown as a complete moron.
3. The magic screen: A huge screen with numbers and letters and complex symbols floating around is used to show not just where the hero and the villain are, but probably assemble the entire Wikipedia! What it probably actually displays is the dialogue that needs to be said during the scene, but the special-FX folks super-impose so many graphical images that it all looks very sophisticated to the viewer. Sometime during the movie, the screen goes blank since a bomb exploded and they are all left wondering what happened to the hero. This continues until the final scene when the radar is able to again pick up the signal to tell everyone that all is well.
4. The apprentice: One fresher has to be the guy with the remarkable suggestions and always interject the experienced 60-something men in uniform or have an outstanding idea that needs to be tried out. This apprentice will have a youthful face, and try to act very apologetic for whatever he says, at the same time telling everyone that if they didn't follow his advice, the world will explode. The hero knows that listening to him will make a lot of sense, because the apprentice either knows the plot first-hand or is the director’s son, destined to be a hero in the next movie. Of late, this apprentice is being replaced by an Indian-origin scientist.
5. The CIA or FBI bad guys (or jokers): Mid-way, the CII or the FBI will come and try to takeover the case. One black and one white guy always form the crack-team that has been advised to look into the matter since whatever the hero is doing is apparently not working. They pain the hero to no end and act very demanding and interject anything and everything that the hero does. Finally they make a complete fool of themselves by getting mercilessly killed.
6. The random motion of helicopters and cars: Helicopters just cannot fly straight or normal. Cars need to show off their flying skills and their ability to drive in water, air and fire. The cameras provide a card-swiping effect on how the helicopters fly or the cars zoom past. This peculiar motion was accidentally first captured when the car or the helicopter was going kaput or the driver was drunk, but since the viewer enjoyed it, the directors have chosen to continue with it.
7. The over-acting coordinator: One over-acting coordinator does the fast talking to the people in the control room. He needs to move his body parts at rocket-speed and talk as if there was a gun to his head. Complete over-acting usually ends with a strong and involved dialogue saying ‘Yes, we did it’ with a totally surprised look at the end of the movie. The others in the control room can heave a sigh of relief when this happens, more at having to no longer take his overacting, than anything else.
8. The double-crosser: A mole always does a double-cross or a triple-cross at the time when the director thinks you are least expecting, but usually when the intelligent user can predict the easiest. This turning point is put in to show extra value to the ticket money that you have paid, and to add a few extra chase sequences.
9. The animal that gets saved in the nick of time: A dog or a cat (or sometimes a child as has been seen recently) is always saved in the nick of time. The said being brilliantly jumps just when the fire or the lava or the water is about to engulf the remaining part of the terrain. This save sometimes happens at the expense of some 100k humans or an entire city.
10. The almost-sex scene with the side-kick heroine: Mid-way in the movie, the hero and the heroine are close to showering their feelings on each other so as to introduce some passion to keep the viewer interested, but they decide that it would look lame and stupid to indulge in an act of pleasure in the middle of the world coming to an end. You might however think that this gives all the more reason to indulge in the act in case they don’t survive! The scene unfortunately never happens and culminates in a simple kiss when the movie ends happily for everyone.
Any plot generator items that you think, please add to the comments section…Whatever said and done, we love watching these movies. We shall certainly go to the next one as well…
(P.S: Images all got using web search, thanks to the original sources. Since I am using only the thumbnail to indicate what movie it is from, I have not put effort linking out to the original ones. You should know which movie each item stands for by now!)