Writing Lessons From Bad Movies

Flight World War 2 is…something.  An Asylum film from 2015 with the premise of a 757 full of passengers flying through a time vortex and showing up over France in 1940.  Not a good time to be flying above France.  It does star Faran Tahir who is awesome no matter what the script has him doing.  While not recommended viewing, there’s always something to be learned from bad movies!

Like…

 

Action Happens to People, let the audience see how people react to events.

When budgets are low, effects are skipped.  But it turns out the greatest effect out there is the human capacity for emotion……..sorry.

The movie makes good use of showing characters experience, interpret, and react to what is going on around them.  Of course with books there’s no need to worry about budgets, but skipping the human side of action is like an 80s action flick; remorseless murder mayhem with no repercussions or years of therapy.  That’s the movie I want to see; how does the Predator cope with the carnage in the jungle?

Perhaps a bad example.

Exposition can happen in dialogue without feeling like exposition! -Until it doesn’t.

The movie started so well! There was no news reel, no narration, no one giving every single detail of the plot.  We learned about characters through dialogue like “rough night party girl?” It let the audience know, without directly telling them, that the flight attendant likes a party.  I mean, it’s not the most in depth dialogue, but it is a movie about time traveling airplanes and the passengers plotting to win WW2 before it starts we can only expect so much.

Be creative with character introductions.  

Using the flight attendant to meet passengers may not be an entirely original way of showing the audience the character pool, but at least it isn’t a news reel or Suicide Squad style text overlays.

Give yourself characters to solve problems.

The heart of gold captain trying to protect the crew by lies of omission.

The “seen it all” veteran flight attendant.

The duo of history professors en route to the big conference.

Newbie co-pilot who happens to be a mechanical genius.

The big ol’ jerk face with a hero complex.

Two soldiers.

Old guy with a diary.

The movie has one setting, so setting is not going to provide a change in conflict.  This was a story of people reacting to setting and for that to be interesting when the setting is somehow turned into a snooze fest, people have to be interesting.  Give yourself the characters needed to bring conflict and resolve it no matter how ridiculous.  I would have thrown a snake person into the mix for kicks.  Because why the heck not in this sort of story.

Any time you can spend explaining, in very basic terms, how radar works (following a very slow dog fight of course) is time well spent.

You know what audiences love? Spending time with meaningless exposition.  I can understand world building in a fantasy setting.  World building to discuss radar though? Probably not as necessary as two hundred pages on the royal bloodline of the first dynasty of the orc clan Rezzledov.  That two hundred pages would probably be more exciting than the dog fight though, so there we go.

Even a little bit of research goes a long way

Nigel, the British radio guy, seems to have no idea what radar is in 1940.  Radar was in regular use by 1939 after having been discovered in the late 19th century.  This bugs me far too much.

Twist ending out of nowhere.

Sweet googly moogly.  At least make it funny. Yowsa.  Okay, watch the movie at least to see the ending.  I think it uses the Ghost Ship end song from Mudvayne.  Remember Mudvayne?   Remember Ghost Ship? Oh gosh I feel old now.  Thanks, movie.

 

 

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