We all know that movies tend to take artistic liberties with a lot of stuff. Otherwise it would take a long time for a story to be told. We all remember the old Drama Minggu Ini (Drama of the Week) on RTM in the days of yore, that was famously known for showing scenes of people getting into their cars, combing their hair in the rearview mirror, adjusting their seats then putting on the seatbelt, before starting the car and driving out of the house. AND then, there would be scenes of the car traveling through various familiar places until it finally reaches its destination. Those were the good old days.
But movies often bend reality to suit their own purposes. Most of the time, we don’t really stop to think about the illogicalness of it all, mainly because we’re carried away with the story or action. But when we do take a pause and consider whether it could be possible, then the illusion shatters and we go “HUH?!”.
Here are five such “artistic liberties.” I split them into how they play out in movie logic, and how it would look if the same happened in real life.
1. The magical TV set
A group of people are in a room talking about something. Someone rushes in frantically and says, “Have you seen the news?” And when she or he switches on the TV in the room, it’s automatically the correct channel with the exact news report that the person wants the others to see.
Wow, imagine you just got home after a tiring day at work, and you feel like watching Game of Thrones on TV. All you have to say is, “Boy, I really want to see Game of Thrones tonight!”, and you switch on the TV, and VOILA! Game of Thrones is on. Wouldn’t life be wonderful?
2. The talkative villain
The hero is caught by the bad guy. And despite the fact that throughout the entire movie, the hero has been frustrating the bad guy and foiling his plans of world domination, and all the bad guy wants so badly is to murder the son of a bitch, now that he has the hero in his grubby hands, what does he do? He proceeds to waste time telling the hero about all his plans and maybe a bit of his life story and what motivated him to become evil, and whatnot. So much so that the hero has the luxury of slowly figuring out how to outwit and escape the bad guy once more. Which is what the hero usually does.
Imagine if you were walking in a dark alley one night, and a robber tries to mug you. Imagine that he proceeds to tell you about how he managed to follow you into the dark alley, and what made him become an evil robber. Boy, there would be less crime in the streets.
3. The bulletproof vest show-off
There is a gunfight. A cop or a good guy gets shot in the chest, maybe multiple times. He falls to the ground dramatically. When the bad guy has left, the good guy would suddenly get up, grimace in pain, and open his shirt, underneath which he is wearing a bulletproof vest. There’s no one around, yet he feels he needs to let empty air know he survived because he was wearing a vest.
Imagine you’re walking in md-winter, say in Scandinavia. Imagine you’re walking alone. Someone passes you by, blowing into his hands, shivering, his knees close together because obviously he needs to pee. He says to you, ”Cold, isn’t it?” as he passes you. When he’s gone and you’re all alone, you open your pants to show the empty air that you’re wearing longjohns and not feeling cold. Ya.
4. Fighting by turns
This one is a perennial favourite. Hero fights a group of baddies. Instead of attacking him all at once and be done with it, the baddies take him on one by one. The others just stay back, moving back and forth, side to side. If they have weapons, they’d just hold it aloft. It’s as if they’re saying, “Arghs! I can’t get a good angle to attack him, my buddy’s in the way. OK, I’ll wait my turn then.”
This was, of course, fixed by Park Chan-wook in Oldboy. He had the fight take place in a narrow corridor, so they really could only fight one by one. Brilliant! (The Matrix Reloaded’s CGI Gumby brawl doesn’t count!)
Once, during taekwondo training, my instructor asked us what we would do if we were attacked by a group of baddies. Being young and dumb, we all yelled “Stand and fight like a man!” Our instructor told us, “Don’t be stupid! You run. Always avoid a fight if you have the chance. There is no way in hell you can fight 10 guys.” Well, according to the movies, sir, we can.
5. The magical laptop
Every time someone opens up a laptop, even when they had just taken it out of a bag, the portable computer is automatically on and ready for use. There’s no need to wait for it to boot up, no need to even switch it on! It’s probably not Windows-based (haha!) but even Macbooks take time to kickstart. If they had left the laptop switched on all that time before they took it out to use, then that must be one heck of a laptop battery they got there.
Someone please buy me that laptop or at least a battery that lasts as long!