Into the Storm: The Promotion Should Be An Addendum

I’ve had the most difficult time organizing a post after seeing Into the Storm. I have a great deal to say about the movie, but an actual film review at this stage, to these readers,  seems unnecessary and redundant. I’m one of the last to write about it, especially among Richard Armitage fans and bloggers. Thus, I’m going to tackle it in parts and  jump right in, assuming  familiarity with the film, as well as with some of the comments made by the cast and crew during promotional interviews. And I have some good things to say.

Despite a few completely favorable articles, by and large, the reviews, posts and tweets were not good. Most of those who were positive,are fans of the cast. When it was recommended at all, it was for the special effects –  a thrill ride. The acting was pretty much ignored – so no one got panned. The resounding impression was that the plot was non-existent,  the characters predictable and trite, the dialogue was dumb and the use of the filming technique that I’m reluctant to call found-footage –  was  unintelligible. inconsistent, incredible. It hindered, rather than helped, the film.

Did any of that influence my opinion of the movie? No. I’m quite capable of determining for myself that a film is poorly written or whether I got confused about the camera angles. And that’s basically my overall opinion. I think this was film for teen-agers and special effects buffs.

Proponents of the film claim that they got what they expected – not much plot or meaningful dialogue, good action, some thrills and, in some cases,  a little character development and arcs. Just what you’d expect from a summer blockbuster, disaster movie.

All of this begs the question, wouldn’t it have been as easy to write a good script as a bad one? I’m thinking, maybe there was a better script at some point.

I might say that the positive (none of them is glowing)  opinions of some bloggers and Richard Armitage fans is APM of a sort, but some of these writers are definitely not protectionists. So how to explain tortured renditions of dad Gary Morris’s metamorphosis from a downtrodden distracted everyday Joe to a hero and caring loving father who finally understands his sons  – when there’s really nothing in the movie to substantiate that? Or the discussions of wise-ass Trey, the younger son, who Dad thinks is a screw-up, but in fact, proves himself to Dad and others to be bright and resourceful, when again, there’s next to nothing in the film to support this?

The answer may lie in the extraordinary job the cast and crew did in promoting this film in video and print interviews and appearances, through which they described a film we didn’t see, maybe because it wound up on the editing room floor. Did the descriptions by Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Steven Quale and others find their way into fans’ subconscious such that they actually read these plot points into the film when they weren’t there? Changes and edits were definitely made late enough so that the actors didn’t even know their character’s names.

How thin was this plot? This plot was so thin that if it swallowed an olive pit  and stood sideways, it would look pregnant.

Case in point – Gary Morris/Fuller. I recall some discussions by Richard Armitage, later discussed on blogs, that the Gary Morris character started out as an English teacher, but then was changed to an Assistant or Deputy Principal, and later, they decided to give him some sports background, so he was also the football coach, to sort of explain his strength and athleticism in the film.

This never made it into the film. Deputy Principal, that’s all we get.

In at least one interview, if not more, Richard Armitage, and I think Max Deacon, state that after the  divorce, the family was divided and one of the boys lived with the mother before her death. Presumably, that division caused some of the conflict between Gary and his son, Donnie. I’m guessing.

Yet in the film, we learn that the mother left the family, and the boys stayed with her on some weekends; typical in a family of divorce, but not so typical that the Mom left the house instead of the Dad. Had this plot point been actually in the film, it might have given some meat to the hinted at conflict between Donnie and Gary. As it was, we have only one small,  argument between father and whiny son, and one sentence by Gary that “after his mother died, I almost lost him,” referring to Donnie – with no explanation. And honestly, if you really look at the first scene at the Morris home, isn’t Donnie also self- absorbed and dense, not realizing that his father has a lot on his mind on such a day, especially in light of the weather they all know about?

It’s no different with Trey, the younger son, who, we were told before hand was a screw-up who proves himself to his Dad. But in the movie, the only fact to make us think Trey was a screw-up, were his words to his Dad as he was getting ready to film the graduation. In words or substance he said, ” You think I’m a screw-up.” Once trouble came, Trey immediately and repeatedly proved himself, and he and his father seemed to work well together, with Gary taking Trey’s advice early on. Had there been maybe five more lines of dialogue, it might have made a difference. As it was, knowledgeable viewers, who watch 30 interviews,  just read it into the plot.

I’m not going to say much about the bit with the knife that James Cameron is supposed to have weighed in on. Trey reveals the knife out of the blue when his father needs it to help a neighbor, and says, ” I know. I’m not supposed to have it,” and there is nothing more. It may be that this was a bit Richard Armitage thought Nathan Kress could speak well about during their interviews, and so it was really talked up – but it turned out to be very small. I think that could have been a good moment – but what the heck, we injected it into the film anyway.

With respect to Alison, I think some lines also must have been taken out. Her mother consoles Alison when she is sad that she’s been away from her daughter for so long, and says something like, ” You’re doing important work.” Alison is a paid hack giving weather reports to a documentary film-maker – not some research institute. There must have been something else in the original script that better explains the mother’s lines. Maybe it would have made a difference.

All and all, I think  the millions that were spent on promotion and advertising was worth every penny. The promotion was far more entertaining than the film, and the repeated interviews, articles, TV and radio ads did their work – they got people into the theater and they got an AU Into the Storm based on those interviews.

Next Up: Into the Storm: Richard Armitage is Best When He Doesn’t Speak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “Into the Storm: The Promotion Should Be An Addendum

    • I am sorry but your comment about the actors not getting panned is wrong.I read many reviews about this movie from tons of different sources….Everyone got panned except, for the most part,Matt Welsh.Many of these reviews were aimed particularly at Mr.Armitage.I will spare you the details because your head would start spinning.If you dare,you can take a look at what the respected Canadian Richard Crouse (yes,the same M.Crouse who did the lovely 2012 radio interview with Mr.Armitage) said about his acting.Or check the review in People magazine or
      elsewhere for that matter.The comments were very telling about the level of acting displayed in this movie with words like blank,wooden,boring and laughable often being repeated.

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      • I disagree completely. I read many, many reviews and most of them hardly mentioned the actors at all, a few said Armitage was stiff or grumpy, ( wooden would fall into that category) but I stand by my statement that percentage-wise, of credible reviewers, hardly mentioned the acting, and that in many cases the lines they had to say were the reason they had nothing good to say about the acting. I didn’t say that no one was critical. Some reviewers who did mention acting commented that there was nothing much for the actors to do.

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        • Then,it is all in my head…..Or,I am lying or,all the reviews I read were from not credible sources. All the reviews you read were of course legit.Thank you for this and as always such a pleasure.

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          • Maybe we just read different reviews. Maybe your idea of “many” is different from mine. Maybe your opinion of what is “harsh” criticism is different from mine. Maybe our opinion of what is a legit review is different. I read the Canadian review, but couldn’t find the People review.

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  1. You warned us about your review 😀 but hell, yes, I can agree with much of what you write. And your point about the promo of ITS whipping up a lot of positivity towards the end product is really interesting. I think you could be on to something there. While I still stand over my verdict that I did enjoy the film, I do agree that the plot was thin to threadbare. Which left problems for the actors. And yes, many fan reviews will be guided by their desire to praise Armitage and therefore tolerant.
    Looking forward to your next post on silent Armitage because his perfection as a physical actor was something that stood out to me from the Crucible, too.

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    • Thanks. I have no issue with those who enjoyed the film on its own terms – I understand it as to some viewers, but not others. I also think that with the same amount of work, money, talent, they could have/should have done a better job. I’m at a loss to explain it unless they were set on keeping the film at 90 mins ( well, 89), Odd to say for a film I didn’t like, but I thought it should be a little longer.

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      • longer than 90 minutes would be even more of a disaster (pun intended). I found the movie boring except the last bit where the storm chaser died falling through the clouds. Granted I am not into disaster movies in general, but this one surprisingly lacked tension of a genuine kind. Maybe it’s because everything is so predictable.

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        • Maybe a few more minutes, to give the characters more interaction, would have bulked up the plot and characterization, is what I thought. But I basically agree with your assessment and so many others like it, which is why I didn’t actually review it.

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          • I don’t think a few more minutes of “character development” would improve anything in this movie. The problem is that the storm is the real star here, and everything else is just filler. When you write from that angle you will never get it right. I felt the same way about Titanic when I first saw the trailer. As a result I didn’t bother to see it until many months later, after reading tons of glowing reviews. I finally caved in and was subsequently blown away. It didn’t feel like a disaster movie at all. It felt like a real love story that just happened during a disaster. I got completely lost in the characters and their journey. The long running time flew by like a flash.

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  2. My daughter was glad they didn’t go down the romance route with Gary and Allison although I had expected more given the statements made by Richard Armitage about how an intense relationship could occur after two people had faced a life or death situation together, it was all in the edit I reckon. Somewhere I remember the screenplay had received a rewrite surely someone could have thought of more than ‘there you go’ and ‘are you all right’ for poor Gary to say. lol

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  3. I think it was a teen-oriented movie, so they gave the romance to the teens. If there were human stars of the film, I would say Trey and Donnie were, but even they didn’t have much to do.

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  4. I think I agree. My 3 teenage sons loved it. It was definitely pitched to them. I obviously loved it because RA is always perfect ! My husband was just happy that his family enjoyed an evening together….

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  5. i love action movies , alot of movies deserve to be just action movies .(hardly any talking any vin diesel movie for example lol) but in my opinion into the storm i wanted too see them say lines more and more of the families background they just kind of threw us under the bus with them ,dont get me wrong the action and effects were freaking awesome in into the storm just felt disconnected with the characters and i dont think it was actors fault at all it was the writting

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  6. Richard as always did a fantastic job promoting the back story which must have been hard given much of this did not translate in the film. It was aimed at the teen market and the tornados were the stars.however that does not excuse such a poor script. IMO Richard is a character actor and should stay well away from ordinary Joe roles. He must have had his reasons for going with this and its lessened learned move on! I did find the film entertaining on a non cerebral level.

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