Monday, June 18, 2007

formula 1 for love movie

Two days ago I re-watched the movie Sleepless in Seattle, and to my surprise, a cynical guy like me could still be touched by some of the romantic elements in the movie. Maybe it was the big watery eyes of Meg Ryan that caught my heart. Or maybe it was the beautiful skyline of Seattle. Or maybe it was the little missed opportunities that separated the couple.

I think this is arguably the most successful sugar-coated commercial movie. The screenwriter must have decided that it should have the right mix of the followings.

1. Creativity (Hooking up through a Radio program)
2. Tear your heart apart ( Tom hanks sipping beer in the dark, mourning the dead wife)
3. Missed opportunites (Tom actually saw Meg Ryan in the airport, in the streets)
4. The couple is not perfect (Tom Hanks tried to cold-call some girl to get laid)
5. Nostagia (References to famous old love movies)
6. The final reunion (Finally Tom and Meg Ryan met in the Empire States building).

Putting each of the elements together, it worked really well.

The only chinese romance movie that came close to Seattle is Tian Mi Mi by Leon Lai and Maggie Cheung. Who could have forgotten the reunion when finally both of them incidentally stood infront of a store that happened to broadcast the death of Teresa Teng. It was both romantic and nostalgic. And who could have forgotten the humorous gangster that had a Mikey Mouse tattoo on his back just to please Maggie? And oh, both Leon and Maggie actually took the same train when they first arrived in HK to make a living - what a missed chance. The whole movie is not as tightly scripted as Sleepless in Seattle, but the basic formula is similar.

And just a few years ago, Tom and Meg Ryan decided to do it again, with "I have got Mail", which depicts a love story based on instant messaging. Unfortunately it lacks "tear your heart apart" element, and Tom and Meg Ryan are very good people. It's too sugar-coated, too Christmas.

Of all the elements, I actually value "Couple is not perfect" most. Because this is the basis of making the whole story credible and interesting. And this is why, I must reject Titanic as slightly boring, because Jack and Rose were too noble.

But of course, if you push the element "Couple is not perfect" too hard, you would not be very credible as well. Take "Leaving Las Vegas" for instance. A love story about a drunk and a hooker? It seems the screenwriter was so worked up in producing a gut-wrenching love story based on two very politically incorrect people. It's not impossible, it's just a little detached from reality.


Blogger 非舞者 said...

All romantic movies suck.

6/29/2007 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Khalida said...

Interesting to know.

11/12/2008 9:03 AM  

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