160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Developer diaries about creating Neverending Nightmares.
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matt
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160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Post by matt » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:41 pm

Summer blockbusters already have a lot in common with video games. What can we learn from them as game developers? Am I seriously saying that we can learn something from the latest Transformers movie? Watch the video to find out.

-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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gagaplex
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Re: 160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Post by gagaplex » Wed Jul 09, 2014 9:36 pm

MovieBob on The Escapist liked the new one, much better than the first three, at least, although that's not saying much.

That said, I really don't want to see it. Just the first one was so bad, so full of stereotypes, stupid, childish jokes and unlikeable characters. No way am I watching the others (except perhaps in snippets through internet movie reviewers).

Add to that that I was a child at the very tail-end of the Transformers nostalgia era, so that these cash-ins don't even really have that factor going for me.

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matt
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Re: 160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Post by matt » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:18 pm

I think it was by far the best out of the four. The characters were more likeable than in the other ones, and the story was mostly coherent, which is a big improvement over the other ones (especially 2, which had robot ghosts... or angels... Or something?)

That being said, it is 2:37 minutes, and 80% of that is ridiculous robotic mayhem. If you are expecting anything other than that, you will be disappointed.

Also dinobots are amazing. Robots + dinosaurs are my two favorite things. :)
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

ranger_lennier
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Re: 160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Post by ranger_lennier » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:55 am

It's interesting that it's been making SO much money despite all the negative reviews. It seems like the critics aren't really capturing what a lot of moviegoers want.

Harry Sunderland
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Re: 160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Post by Harry Sunderland » Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:04 am

ranger_lennier wrote:It's interesting that it's been making SO much money despite all the negative reviews. It seems like the critics aren't really capturing what a lot of moviegoers want.
I would say that is a very strong theme for blockbusters lately. Highbrow critics keep holding summer blockbusters up to this refined cinematic standard, when people just want to see shit blow up.

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matt
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Re: 160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Post by matt » Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:30 pm

If you to guarantee I see a movie, just make sure it has one of the following:
Robots
Dinosaurs
Sharks
Sharknados
Sharktopuses
Piranhas

Or any combination thereof. Transformers has 2 of the things!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: 160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:48 pm

Movies like this are always huge overseas, too. According to boxofficemojo.com, Transformers 4 has made over $435 million so far in countries outside the US. The movie is now the ALL TIME highest grossing movie in China. Even movies that are a flop domestically, like Battleship, can make a good chunk of money in other countries.

I have to say that Michael Bay is a good director of action and visual stuff, so Transformers was a good fit for him, even though I can't stand the movies :) . I do have to give him respect for Pain and Gain, if you haven't seen that it's a pretty solid dark comedy with a lot of flashy style. And Dwayne Johnson's performance is great too.

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matt
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Re: 160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Post by matt » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:37 pm

Apparently Michael Bay has a special style called Bayhem, and some did a dissection of his films to show how he makes his action movies so epic:


China is a huge market, so for Transformers, they specifically shot a bunch of stuff in China and cast Li Bingbing to appeal to the Chinese market. They did something similar for Iron Man 3. They shot extra scenes for Iron Man 3 to appeal to the Chinese audience.

I think Uwe Boll's movies are always big with international audiences despite being terrible movies. I guess international film goers have different taste?
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games

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RightClickSaveAs
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Re: 160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Post by RightClickSaveAs » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:08 pm

That was really eye-opening, thanks!

I think another part of the appeal in other countries is that a big, explodey movie spectacle like Bay is good at making kinda transcends language barriers. You don't need to have a lot of dialogue to process to enjoy the movie.

I didn't know that about Uwe Boll, I have no idea about the reasons for his movies being popular! They're a spectacle in their own way I guess :)

ranger_lennier
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Re: 160 - Blockbuster Narrative Lessons

Post by ranger_lennier » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:12 am

Harry Sunderland wrote:
ranger_lennier wrote:It's interesting that it's been making SO much money despite all the negative reviews. It seems like the critics aren't really capturing what a lot of moviegoers want.
I would say that is a very strong theme for blockbusters lately. Highbrow critics keep holding summer blockbusters up to this refined cinematic standard, when people just want to see shit blow up.
It seems like you don't see that nearly as much with video games. Of course there are games that review well but don't sell, but I can't think of many games that sell millions of copies despite being panned by critics. The best example I can come up with off hand is Resident Evil 6, but despite a few really harsh reviews, on average it reviewed decently. I guess that in video games, it's more accepted that you're going to spend a lot of time blowing shit up. :D

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