Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Suspended Suspension

With every movie or television show comes a need for some suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience.

From the basic willingness to believe that you are watching a character and not George Clooney, to the more complex buying into the idea that the Joker could predict exactly on what street the police van would resurface.

I can be pretty good about such suspensions, but every now and then there is a piece of a show that I just can’t get past.

Like SAMURAI GIRL on ABC Family. Young girl comes to America, finds out she is a mystically powered samurai, kicks butt with a sword.

Sure sounded like my cup of tea.

But here’s a weird detail: the girl lived her entire life in Japan, and for the mini-series is in America for the first time in her life. Yet she has no trace whatsoever of an accent.

Which I wouldn’t care about – I buy a lack of an accent, or a cheesy bad accent all the time. Except all the older Japanese characters around her speak with thick accents.

So jarring to me every time she has a conversation with her driver/mentor, I had to stop watching.

Another example: PRIMEVAL on BBC America. Paleontologist is called in when a time rift opens up, allowing dinosaurs to wander the modern earth.

Cool.

But in the first episode, said scientist is given the chance to step through the rift and go back in time a couple million years. He has time to prep, and goes through.

And this scientist does not take a camera, or even a sketch pad. He doesn’t take any recording equipment, doesn’t bother to take samples, makes no notes.

Here’s a man who has devoted his life to studying the remains of ancient periods and life forms, and he has zero scientific curiosity about actually being in that period. None. Zip. Nada.

Can’t get past that, can’t watch the show.

A friend saw the movie FIREPROOF, and it seems like he hit a few of those “how do I get past his” moments. (I have not seen the movie.)

The one that made me laugh the most:

“The physical requirements to be a fireman in Albany, Georgia, must be really slack, since one of the new recruits brags about being “255 pounds of lovin’,” when what you mostly need is “255 pounds of someone who can drag your butt out of a burning building.””

So let’s make this interactive – what bits of movies or shows have thrown you out of the fictional world, never to come back?

Just my thoughts,

Sean

1 comment:

David Goulet said...

Perhaps obscure, but in Beowulf and Grendel (the Gerard Butler flick, not the animated one) every actor speaks in either a British or Icelandic accent, where it was filmed. Totally works for the period piece. Except the one major female lead is played by Canadian Sarah Polley who is the ONLY person speaking in a very modern Canuck accent.

It totally knocked me out of the moment every scene she's in. She's in the flick because it was a Canadian co-pro and they had to have a "marquee" Canadian actor.

Kiera Knightley she ain't.

As for more mainstream pics, every Die Hard sequel is so beyond belief I can't watch them.