Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Importance of Plot

The human race have been passing stories down orally from the being of time. We see the survival of these stories in all the classic mythologies: Biblical, Celtic, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, or Nores. Storytelling is apart of who we are as a people. If you travel back to grade school or even high school you may remember filling out those stupid plot charts: Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. We all know from this model that every story follows a pattern. The key is to find that pattern. Those pattern can be broken down into even more categories. It's hard to determining how may basic plots lines there are. They ranging from 1 to 36. I will be using many different source to back up my points. I want to share these with you so the next time you watch a movie and says it has no plot well it fits one of these:


1 Plot:

Attempts to find the number of basic plots in literature cannot be resolved any more tightly than to describe a single basic plot. Foster-Harris claims that all plots stem from conflict. He describes this in terms of what the main character feels: "I have an inner conflict of emotions, feelings.... What, in any case, can I do to resolve the inner problems?" (p. 30-31) This is in accord with the canonical view that the basic elements of plot revolve around a problem dealt with in sequence: "Exposition - Rising Action - Climax - Falling Action - Denouement". (Such description of plot can be found in many places, including: Holman, C. Hugh and William Harmon. A Handbook to Literature. 6th ed. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co, 1992.) Foster-Harris’ main argument is for 3 Plots (which are contained within this one), described below.

3 Plots:

Foster-Harris. The Basic Patterns of Plot. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1959. Foster-Harris contends that there are three basic patterns of plot (p. 66):

  1. "’Type A, happy ending’"; Foster-Harris argues that the "Type A" pattern results when the central character (which he calls the "I-nitial" character) makes a sacrifice (a decision that seems logically "wrong") for the sake of another.
  2. "’Type B, unhappy ending’"; this pattern follows when the "I-nitial" character does what seems logically "right" and thus fails to make the needed sacrifice.
  3. "’Type C,’ the literary plot, in which, no matter whether we start from the happy or the unhappy fork, proceeding backwards we arrive inevitably at the question, where we stop to wail." This pattern requires more explanation (Foster-Harris devotes a chapter to the literary plot.) In short, the "literary plot" is one that does not hinge upon decision, but fate; in it, the critical event takes place at the beginning of the story rather than the end. What follows from that event is inevitable, often tragedy. (This in fact coincides with the classical Greek notion of tragedy, which is that such events are fated and inexorable.)

7 Plots

7 basic plots as remembered from second grade by IPL volunteer librarian Jessamyn West:

  1. [wo]man vs. nature
  2. [wo]man vs. man
  3. [wo]man vs. the environment
  4. [wo]man vs. machines/technology
  5. [wo]man vs. the supernatural
  6. [wo]man vs. self
  7. [wo]man vs. god/religion

20 Plots:

Tobias, Ronald B. 20 Master Plots. Cincinnati: Writer’s Digest Books, 1993. (ISBN 0-89879-595-8)This book proposes twenty basic plots:

  1. Quest
  2. Adventure
  3. Pursuit
  4. Rescue
  5. Escape
  6. Revenge
  7. The Riddle
  8. Rivalry
  9. Underdog
  10. Temptation
  11. Metamorphosis
  12. Transformation
  13. Maturation
  14. Love
  15. Forbidden Love
  16. Sacrifice
  17. Discovery
  18. Wretched Excess
  19. Ascension
  20. Descension.

36 Plots

Polti, Georges. The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations. trans. Lucille Ray.

Polti claims to be trying to reconstruct the 36 plots that Goethe alleges someone named [Carlo] Gozzi came up with. (In the following list, the words in parentheses are our annotations to try to explain some of the less helpful titles.):

  1. Supplication (in which the Supplicant must beg something from Power in authority)
  2. Deliverance
  3. Crime Pursued by Vengeance
  4. Vengeance taken for kindred upon kindred
  5. Pursuit
  6. Disaster
  7. Falling Prey to Cruelty of Misfortune
  8. Revolt
  9. Daring Enterprise
  10. Abduction
  11. The Enigma (temptation or a riddle)
  12. Obtaining
  13. Enmity of Kinsmen
  14. Rivalry of Kinsmen
  15. Murderous Adultery
  16. Madness
  17. Fatal Imprudence
  18. Involuntary Crimes of Love (example: discovery that one has married one’s mother, sister, etc.)
  19. Slaying of a Kinsman Unrecognized
  20. Self-Sacrificing for an Ideal
  21. Self-Sacrifice for Kindred
  22. All Sacrificed for Passion
  23. Necessity of Sacrificing Loved Ones
  24. Rivalry of Superior and Inferior
  25. Adultery
  26. Crimes of Love
  27. Discovery of the Dishonor of a Loved One
  28. Obstacles to Love
  29. An Enemy Loved
  30. Ambition
  31. Conflict with a God
  32. Mistaken Jealousy
  33. Erroneous Judgement
  34. Remorse
  35. Recovery of a Lost One
  36. Loss of Loved Ones
Other Sources:

Genre: Sword and Sandall Flims / Greco-Roman Mythology

Genre: "Sword and sandal films, or pepla (singular peplum) are a class of Italian-made adventure or fantasy films that have subjects set in Biblical or classical antiquity, often with contrived plots based very loosely on mythology or Greco-Roman history, or the surrounding cultures of the same era (Egyptians, Assyrians, Etruscans, Minoans), etc...." (Wikipedia)

Like: I love the epic scope of the film. For me period films bring a real scene of pretend and fantasy. also most of the films in this genre are based of some sort of mythology. Mythological stories ask those deep question of what it means to be human, which is very thought provking

Dislike: Sometime films in this genre can get way to action pack and lose story. Also if the VFX are bad or cheesy then it ruins the film quality...which happen more then what you think.

My Top Films In This Genre (alphabetical order):

Clash of the Titans (1981)
Jason and the Argonauts
King Arthur
Odyssey, The

The Future of Comic Book Movies:

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Clash of the Titans (2010)


Ridley Scott
Oliver Stone
Wolfgang Petersen
Desmond Davis
Donald Chaffey

Andrei Konchalovsky

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: AVATAR

Powered by IMDB

Title: Avatar
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox
Director: James Cameron
Writer(s): James Cameron (written by)
Staring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel Moore
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.
Running Time: 162 min (2 hr and 42 min)
Synopsis: A paraplegic marine dispatched to the planet Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.

Other Reviews


Roger Ebert:
4 Stars
Michael Phillips: 3 Stars
EW: Owen Gleiberman: B

Other Sites:

At The Movies: A.O. Scott: See Itt, Michael Phillips: See It
Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 84% (Fresh), Top Critics: 94% (
Fresh), RT Community: 91% (Fresh)
Metacritic: Critics: 83 out of 100, Users: 8.6 out of 10
MRQE Metric: 75: (37.0% A, 36.1% B, 22.9% C, 3.5% D, and 0.0% F)
Yahoo Movies: Critics: A- Users: A

My Review

Source Material: Written and Directed by James Cameron

Acting and Dialogue: A-: Sam Worthington has prove himself to be a good action star and a thespian at the same time. In this film he showcase a good blend of kick ass and raw acting talent. The others actor bring good performance also. The only negative thing in the film is some of the dialogue, like every great sic-fi it has moments of cheesiness.

Art Direction: A+: I see an Oscar nomination if not a win, one most beautiful film in my life.

Cinematography: A+: Again I see this film being a top contender at the Oscars in this category. There was a great number of camera shot that were magnificent and beautiful.

Direction: A: James Cameron is one of few director that knows how to shoot action sequence properly. As far as flow goes it was good even with the film being almost three hours.

Screenplay: B+: I heard that Avatar resembles "Dancing with the Wolves" when come to the story, but I wouldn't know since I haven't seen that movie. I thought the the story was fine it flowed with the film.

Sound and Music: A: I love how they incorporated African music into the score. The score matched the epic feel of the film and did a good job captivating the wide verity of emotions through out the film.

VFX: A++: Sorry about my French here, but it was Fucking Amazing. Absolutely Amazing. It is for sure going to win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Side Note: The 3-D IMAX experience adds a great deal to the film...It add layers upon layers to an already spectacular world. In my book Pandora and the creatures that live there are as real as can be.

A+: One of best film I have ever seen in my life. I recommend to all and if you have a IMAX theater near you go see there because it's worth the extra money...You may think it has a weak story but at least go see it to admire it for its VFX beauty.

Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 Great Fall Movies By Genre

Dick Flick (Guy Films): Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

ANIMATION: 9, The Mr Fantastic Fox

COMEDY: Zombieland
Black / Dark Comedy: The Men Who Stare At Goats, Up In The Air

The Blind Side, Brothers

FANTASY: Where The Wild Things Are

INDIES: Whip It, Up In The Air

SCIENCE FICTION (Sci-Fi): Pandorum, Avatar

2010 Movies By Studio


Alice in Wonderland
Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time
Toy Story 3
Tron Legacy


Percy Jackson & the Olympians: the Lightning Thief
The Chronicles of Narnia: the Voyage of the Dawn Treader



Paramount / Dramworks

Iron Man 2
The Last Airbender
The Lovely Bones

Sony (
Columbia) / Screen Gems

The Social Network
The Green Hornet

Summit Entertainment

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse


The Wolfman
Robin Hood

Warner Bros / Legendary Pictures / New Line Cinema

Book of Eli
Clash of the Titans
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1


Youth in Revolt

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Calling all Avengers

This would be my cast if I was casting the Avengers movie. This is my own response to my post called The Avengers

Founding Members

Ant-Man (Dr. Henry "Hank" Jonathan Pym): Michael C. Hall

Hulk (Dr. Robert Bruce Banner) : Edward Norton

Iron Man (Anthony "Tony" Stark) : Robert Downey Jr.

Thor (Dr. Donald Blake) : Chris Hemsworth

Wasp (Janet van "Dyne" Pym ) : Natalie Portman


Black Panther ( T'Challa) : Djimon Hounsou

Black Widow (Natalia Alianovna Romanova) :Milla Jovovich

Captain America (Steven Rogers) : Sam Worthington

Hawkeye (Clinton Francis Barton) : Jeremy Renner

Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers): Ali Larter

Nick Fury: Samuel L. Jackson

Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) : Eva Green

Vision (Victor Shade): CGI / Voiced: Doug Jones

War Machine (James Rupert "Rhodey" Rhodes) : Don Cheadle