Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dissection of an Action Sequence

"OH MY GOD..."

This is one of—if not THE—scene in a movie that made me want to be a storyteller! And I think that's what I am more than being a writer. A lot of people tell me that when they read my books they feel like they're watching a movie. And I want to thank them, because that's exactly what I always set out to do, merge movie-making and novel-writing into something that simply becomes storytelling. I doubt I'll ever win any literary awards with that as my goal, but that's okay, my reward is anyone and everyone out there who enjoys my stories.

But back to "Oh my God..." This is what Marion Ravenwood utters in the plane/explosion scene in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (which for the record is my favorite movie of all time) after she's locked inside the gun turret then not only shoots the cap off a nearby fuel tank but also blows up a truck which would have been a good idea...if not for the fact that it's about to ignite the trail of gasoline that's headed straight for the plane in which she's locked.

And this is the crux of it... layer upon layer of things going wrong for our heroes. Indy's fighting a mountain of a man on the airstrip, Marion's locked in the gun turret, the gas is spilling toward the plane, the fire has been ignited, and the two believe the treasured Ark is onboard the plane. And then there's Marion's "Oh my God..." when she realizes what she's done. Not screamed, not panicked—it's a sinking realization that there may be no escape. But the real beauty of Spielberg's direction is that he follows this immediately with Indy realizing the same thing at the same time, who in turn utters "Marion", knowing she's trapped. It doesn't get any worse for our hero and heroine, and it doesn't get any better in terms of storytelling!

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