Monkeys And Script Writing

The infinite monkey theorem states that an infinite number of monkeys in a room with typewriters, given an infinite amount of time, will produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Or Matt Groening. Recently Hollywood has embarked upon an ambitious effort to validate this theory. Fox studios bankrolled flotillas of monkeys, all tethered to tiny little typewriters (the monkeys were unable to manipulate iPads)  in giant air-conditioned warehouses. Thousands of monkey handlers kept the “writers” comfortable with banana smoothies and back rubs while they banged away at their tiny little keys. The result? Ridley Scott’s blockbuster hit Prometheus.

I’d be curious what the public thought of movies in the 60’s or 70’s. Were they bored with The Graduate or Hang ’em High? Today it seems rare when a movie has a great plot that feels original. There seems to be only two development tracks in Hollywood when it comes to big budget movies these days. The first track is a remake of an older film or TV show. Why waste money on a good story when you can re-hash something already done? The second path I’ll call the effects track. Otherwise known as “I have a gazillion dollar special effects budget and have already started blowing shit up (CG of course). The action figure production line in China is already in full swing. Someone should probably write some words to go with all this cool stuff.”

Prometheus felt more like the later. However, they certainly didn’t shy away from the implied tie to the original Alien series. The problem is that the monkeys, while certainly doing their job admirably, have little grasp of plot lines and story continuity. Dozens of plot lines never seemed to come together. Lack of clarity on character motivations. Understandable since monkeys, while seasoned space travelers, have little experience in the corporate world. They also have little understanding of basic human anatomy. Otherwise you wouldn’t have a primary character running, rapeling, and doing basic alien dodging (don’t worry, no spoilers here) mere minutes after major abdominal surgery. Uh, wait this is the future. Never mind. I forget that we’ve solved basic physiology issues in the future.

Oh, and if you’re going to invest a truck-load of cash in a mega star like Charlize Theron you may not want her to deliver lines like a robot. Unless she is. Or is she? Hmmm… Call me crazy, but for all that money I’d think you’d want your big star to have more than five minutes of screen time. And more nearly naked push ups. Just saying.


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