Lazy screenwriting has long been a part of the theatre experience. Most movies are guilty of taking some shortcuts, but some things is in almost every single movie of its era. This is not entirely the screenwriters fault, it’s more the fault of the technology used.
I am currently enjoying the first Resident Evil movie, where CGI is rather overused, but the movie is still enjoyable due to the new advances in that technology. However, CGI-fests are only one thing movies of that era are guilty of, it had been around for long enough to allow development of the technologies used to such a level where it’s not extremely visible when they switch from physical effect to CGI.
The thing that make me cringe about this movie, and most movies that came out around that time, is the then brand new THX sound system, an enhanced version of Surround Sound that really takes you into the movie audio. What was inevitably a result of this is the common jumpscare. No matter what genre of movie it was, they all had to have at least two jumpscares that is little more than just a flinch on the screen, but an orchestral sting that leaves you dazed, confused and almost deaf. This is my least favourite cinematic device, because I have chronic headaches and the jumping along with the sharp, loud noise is extremely painful. All it does is giving you a small adrenaline rush that is over within a few moments, not really scaring you, just startling you.
If you look at todays movies, you won’t see as many cats jumping out of trashcans or eyes flickering from side to side with this huge orchestral stings anymore. Why? Because THX has been out for some time and just like the CGI in Resident Evil, the sound technicians have learned to do it with some subtlety. However, we have a new scourge now, the 3D movies.
3D is still in such a young phase that EVERY….SINGLE…..MOVIE…. has to have the eye-poking moments at least 2 times. You know the scenes, where something flies right at you, making you flinch. This is the visual version of the orchestral sting, it doesn’t scare you, it startles you and makes you flinch.
Next time you see someone with glasses, poke him in the glasses a few times and watch his reactions, it will be the same, first flinching then annoyance.
So PLEASE, if you’re thinking of writing a movie, PLEASE don’t give in to the latest techniques without asking yourself “Do I need to do this, or do I do it because I can?”.