The week has been busy, and yet not busy, simultaneously. Little has been achieved, though I did cook up a story concept which I am – now that I’ve thought the thing through in its entirety – not entirely convinced works as a story.
I shall see if I work on it further or abandon it for the next shiny thing to cross my path.
The big thing, though, is how easy I find it to tear apart already existant plots (for example, Captain America: The First Avenger, which I will dig into spoilerifically shortly. Thou’rt warned, spoilerfearing ones.)
Coming up with a ‘new’ plot for material, not based on anything you’ve used or seen before, is a bitch. A complete and utter deathly bitch, because engineering these things from scratch is a little like building a tower by stacking bricks. At first it seems alright, and the only reasonable response to the clear ground in front of you, but pretty soon rockery is raining down on you and you’re not sure why. And yet, it’s hardly worth building foundations and clearing the ground if you can only see how you’re going to make a small stack. Perhaps it’s even ridiculous or impossible to do so.
So, in the creation of new plots, one must accept ricketiness and the doom of plummeting brickwork.
Ah, but when you deal with other people’s plots…
Captain America, which I saw a day or two in 2d because I am radical like that, is a pretty good movie. But it suffers badly from spoilers in every sense. (Spoilers henceforth.)
See, we all know Captain America ends up in modern times, we all know he’s going to be this big strong amazing guy, we all have some conception of the story already in place. And the film, as such, felt a poignant need to deal with the story we already know and have had spoilered to us over the years in bits and snips.
Steve Rogers, little guy, becomes superhero, beats up Nazis, gets frozen and dug up out of a block of ice.
Except, in the film, we’re treated to not one, but two repeats of narrative arcs dealing with this.
In the first instance, we have Rogers ending up Captain America through superhumanizing experiments. The little guy proves himself by getting his steroids, and then beating up a spy directly afterward. He is now a superhero.
Then, immediately therafter, Captain America becomes a show-pony for selling war bonds, dancing around, etcetera, and is regarded as a silly non-combatant. He then proves himself by going and beating up Nazis and saving some guys. He is now a superhero.
That happens in sequence – the same narrative issues covered in much the same fashion. The plot, in a sense, loops on itself.
But then it does this all over again with the nazi-fighting. Steve Rogers and his comrades go around beating up nazis and, more specifically, these guys from a nazi subsection: Hydra. They find some on a train and for reasons that do not have much focus in the plot capture this crazy doctor guy.
In theory, this allows the next section.
Wherein, Steve Rogers and his comrades go around beating up nazis and these Hydra guys. They find some in an impenetrable base and for reasons that do not have much focus in the plot go after this Red Skull guy.
Again, a narrative loopy thing.
This wastes so much screen-time it makes me a little ill, honestly. They could’ve packed in a lot more plot by avoiding those loops, which only really serve to dish up a serving of character and plot development twice over with different seasonings, and including more material to contextualize everything else – I would’ve liked to have seen more about Steve Rogers waking up in the modern day and having to deal with modern times, making the film about the transition as a whole. Or more about Rogers coming to terms with becoming effectively superhuman, after growing up as a scrawny guy. Or more about his relationships with the other characters, or about Howard Stark, or, y’know. Anything except telling us the same story twice over.
Unfortunately it’s a pretty decent movie, even if I find it easy to pick holes in the plot’s construction.
Fixing it, and making up new plots, however, is something a little trickier.
PS. If you like electronicky ambient music, Conelrad (who I am a fan of) just released a new free EP thing, Five Electronic Landings!