James Pinkerton explains why I didn't like The Matrix or the recent Star Wars films.
Remember that allegedly climactic battle scene in "Phantom," when the good robots fought the bad robots? Or have you forgotten it already, because it's hard to care about machines fighting machines? As H.G. Wells, who knew something about sci-fi, once observed, you can put a familiar person in a strange situation, or you can put strange person in a familiar situation, but you can't put strange into strange -- because nobody will relate, nobody will care. ...Mr. Pinkerton also impresses me with his correct use of double hyphens and spacing (" -- ") to create a proper emdash. Note: one hyphen alone is not enough indicate a break in sentence structure, and if you don't use spaces then it just looks weird and confusing.
Don't get me wrong: I like a computer-generated images. But by now, thanks to computers, it's possible for a filmmaker to depict anything, and make it look, well, real. So now the challenge is to make people care about what's being depicted. And such caring requires a sense of scale and proportion. That is, one can show the Big Bang of the universe, or the Big Whimper, for that matter, but if it's just a bunch of constellations and gas clouds or whatever, then the viewer might as well be looking inside a kaleidoscope. What's needed, to make the depiction entertaining to human beings is another human -- or at least a mammal -- in the scene somewhere. Man is the measure of all things, said Protagoras, and so narrative-conscious filmmakers need a damsel in distress, or at least a cute puppy in trouble. If there's no danger, then there's no drama. Essential to suspense and adrenalin-rush is the feeling that bad things could happen to those we identify with; somebody, or something, needs to be rescued. Enter jut-jawed hero, the Seventh Cavalry, the Bush Doctrine, or what have you.
The Wachowskis forgot all these fundamentals of storytelling in the second "Matrix." Remember that fight between Neo and the 100 or so Agent Smiths? It was neat for awhile, but then, when Neo got tired of beating them all up, he simply flew away, like Superman. So much for any sense of Neo's limitations, any sense that he was in actual danger.