Pacing is Everything

The fall movies are underway and I've been starting to cross off the films that were on my list. So far pretty much everything I've been excited for has not been good....and the one I wasn't really looking forward to (The Help) did surprise me. Well today I finally got to see Apollo 18, a film I've been looking forward to ever since I read the cheesy tagline on a movie poster in a theater "There's a reason we haven't gone back to the moon." At best, it surprises me as a genuinely creepy film since the concept is actually half decent (hehe...well for me) OR at worst, it's campy fun like The Wicker Man bad, right? Well....there was another option I wasn't counting on with what I got... A film that either needed to dumb down to become silly fun because it took itself wayyyy to seriously OR change its pacing completely so that the audience can feel and care about the intensity (which was non-existent).

Two things ultimately did this movie in. #1, as I mentioned....the pacing in the film is awful. I get wanting to create suspense in setting up a film....but it can only go on for so long without boring the audience out of their minds. Insidious flirted with focusing too much on setup too, but ultimately had enough payoff to make up for spending too much time on setup. Apollo 18 bores you to death with all the astronaut talk and supposed weird happenings...but the audience doesn't have the patience. And it's a shame because the film had some fleeting moments where it is actually pretty decent. But they're way too few and far between....which is far too tedious for the audience.

Secondly, the whole "found footage" genre really only works half the time...it's such a gimmick that really does nothing but hinder most suspense films. There's nothing scary about a video going out. We're still in the dark, and it's not scary...it's just annoying. You can't just constantly TELL an audience that something is scary, you have to SHOW why it is. Now I'm not talking about showing gore in horror films...but still we have to know why it's scary...not just hear characters talk about it. We have to feel the terror along with the characters for us to be invested. If this film had been made as a normal film instead of this gimmick, we could have gotten some more character development, better setup, and better payoff. It's a shame because like I said, there were a few great moments. But ultimately not enough. I get that the cinematography looked unique with the super 8 camera feel, but just shoot the whole movie like that then instead of the found footage thing because it hinders way more than helps. Instead of wasting your time just go rent Alien and Aliens to see the same idea done right.

I give it a 3.5/10. Ouch.


seanmackay.net said...

You have blogged a lot lately.

Emily said...

Because I've been watching a lot of movies. Plus it's my outlet that's for sure.

Joey said...

Alfred Hitchcock talked about the suspense that came from a bomb ticking vs. the bomb going off. Movie makers don't seem to have the patience to build suspense.

Emily said...

Or over-rely on that underestimating that what they're relying on isn't suspense at all....just empty scenes where nothing is happening.

Amelia said...

I approve of this movie rating. Pacing really can make or break it.

Sarah said...

For some reason, I thought Apollo 18 was going to be played as a spoof--a comedy. I didn't realize it was a mockumentary that was taking itself too seriously.

It's too bad they didn't try to go the funny route and create something along the lines of outtakes. You know, showing astronauts realizing that they accidentally filled the oxygen tanks with helium and laughing hysterically in high pitched voices at their mistake?

Ha! That's a movie I'd want to see.