|I mean, can you blame me?|
In the traditional post-movie analysis with my husband, I figured out the reasons I liked the movie so much, and I realized that a lot of them relate directly to novel writing.
Getting the flow of events right is vital to successful action movies--and there are a lot of films that do it wrong. Ever heard the advertising claim "nonstop action?"
The problem with this is it doesn't give your characters (and therefore your viewers/readers) time to process what's happened or what's about to happen. Pacific Rim did a great job of blending robot-monster fight time with slower moments of character development. Which brings me to #2...
2. Character Consistency.
Sure, the big fight scenes in Pacific Rim were special-effects triumphs, but the only reason they worked for me was because I cared what happened to the characters. The movie gave us just enough backstory to make us sympathetic to the protagonist, and then it backed up our original impression of him by keeping him in character throughout the movie. He was a competent guy who thought before he acted, so he didn't suddenly start making rash decisions or crumpling under pressure.
The female lead (played wonderfully by Rinko Kikuchi) had a similar consistency of character. She was just as competent as the male lead, but had a tendency to get overly emotional--and this was consistent throughout the movie.
Hollywood movies often get this wrong--inconsistency of characters is a frequent complaint in unfavorable movie reviews--but spotting when it's done incorrectly can help you as a writer too.
I don't know about you, but when I'm writing, I have a tendency to spell things out too much. If I've come up with a neat bit of character development or plot, I want to make sure the reader doesn't miss it. But this doesn't mean I should hit them over the head with it. If I keep the moments little and subtle, that doesn't mean the reader will miss it, it just means I'm trusting their intelligence.
Who would have guessed I'd learn so much about writing from a big, loud, dumb movie? Not me. But believe me, I'll be keeping an eye out for lessons when I go see Elysium next week.