Into the Storm: Armitage is Best When He Doesn’t Speak

All I wanted from Into the Storm was that Richard Armitage not make a fool of himself, either with a substandard American accent or a subpar performance. Disaster avoided, but pleasant surprise, denied.

With some rare exceptions, most of Armitage’s part of the script were one-liners. Watch out Run! Are you OK? I gotta find my son. Trey!!? Delivered at high volume, screaming, yelling, it’s difficult to make any assessment. If there was one cringe-worthy bit, IMO,that was the unfortunate chain of dialogue,  whoa, ohhhh, whoa. when they were in the storm drain toward the end of the movie and he was hanging on for dear life to avoid getting sucked out of the drain.

Honestly, I never want to hear Armitage do whoa, oh again. There might have been some of this in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,  especially when the bridge gives way in the goblin tunnels and we’re treated to amazing feats of gravity defiance. I’d have to look back to be certain, but I think it was left to other, less, “majestic” dwarves, and anyway, I didn’t notice it.

I thought that in the first scene, when Gary is trying to assuage a whiny, combative Donnie, who in a fit of peak decided to bike it to school instead of getting in the carrrrr ( that rhotic R, to be discussed later), Armitage did alright. Soft tones in a beseeching manner, some notes of regret, intentional stepping on lines – not bad.Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 7.24.53 AM But, the best of Richard Armitage the actor, aside from Richard Armitage the gorgeous, can be seen in a series of small scenes, when he says nothing at all.

Gary is in Allison’s van on his way to rescue Donnie, who is stranded at the old mill. ( “What’s that Lassie? Timmy is stuck in a mine and can’t get out? You want us to follow you? We should bring shovels and a knife”?)

Trey, riding behind in the Titus, has just suggested a better route to get around some downed power lines. Allison overhears the conversation, and says, That’s a good kid you have there. And Armitage turns his head around, looks down, and gives us a smirk, maybe closer to a smile, that lets us know that he thinks, yeah, maybe I do. A small gesture that said enough.

Next up, they have switched to the Titus after the van gets wrecked. Now, the situation is more dire because Gary has heard Donnie’s cell message, and he knows that Donnie is in distress, as there is water pouring into their location. To me, this was the most suspenseful, actually, the only suspenseful scene in the film. Armitage, sitting in passenger seat, telegraphs such believable tension and anxiety with his body language – that I could feel it myself, and I knew how it would end.

The tension in his shoulders. Leaning forward, and then back. Ant in his pants. The frantic wiping of the windshield, pounding his thigh. For me, it worked. Oh, and the familiar gesture of a friend we know well, the hands covering face. This part was Ok, and somehow, I think this was Richard Armitage without the benefit of specific direction.

What about Richard Armitage’s American accent? I would have to say it was just so-so and very inconsistent – though, when it was it at his worst, he didn’t exactly sound British, either. I can’t actually explain it, and I listened countless times, but most of the time he sounded like Richard Armitage, American or not. Like many British actors doing American accents, he has trouble with the rhotic R which is the R at the end of words – like  car or Chester. Brits make the r sound too hard, I think because they form it the same way they form the sound at the beginning or middle of the word, which involves different mouth movements. The final R is usually made by sort of closing your throat and pushing your tongue up. It’s slightly swallowed, while the initial R is pursing the lips a little more. Anyway, that’s how it happens when you’re from NY ( which happens to be one of the regions where the rhotic R is often ignored altogether, but is replaced with R’s where you don’t need them at all – the intrusive R.)

Richard Armitage got it right a few times, but not always. I thought he also had some closed vowels, bringing out his midlands accent throughout the film. To enhance his Americanisms, he used a lot of gottas and gonnas – except in one instance, which was, for me, one of the low points. He’s using gotta and gonna throughout his dialogue, and then, all of a sudden, when they’re driving again, and when he’s speaking under strain and anxiety and panic, he says, in perfect diction, we’re not going to make it, perfectly articulating going to. For me, it was a fail.

So, I’d have to say, he didn’t sound that American some of the times, but he didn’t sound British, either. There’s room for improvement. On the other hand, I thought Max Deacon, who is also a Brit, was perfect in his American accent.

So, yeah, Armitage is best when he says nothing in this film.

Into the Storm Box Office as/of 9/7 $ 100,257M World-Wide

Here  *

I’m not certain if this includes Australia, NZ and all Of Latin American, since these locations are not listed on the “country column.

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.









Australian Reviews of Into the Storm: eh

The Sydney Morning Herald  Excerpt :

Into The Storm is supposedly a patchwork of material shot by different characters – but often it’s impossible to say who is meant to be behind the camera, even as zooms and shaky pans continue to signify “documentary”. Most inexplicable, yet potent, are the shots that look down on the devastation from on high, implicitly reducing the entire cast to extras in a movie directed by God.

Cairns Post, Snarky but funny and finds positives in the special effects, but

A system of five magnificent mega-tornadoes – any of whom can display more personality than the whole cast combined – swarm upon Silverton for one hell of a gusty get-together.

 (tornados are “whom?”)


Aussies Promote Into the Storm With Their Unique “Twist”

Here KatharineD sent this along. I suggest you follow the link. There’s more.

Update on Foreign Into the Storm Box Office – $47.7M Foreign -Total $89.6M

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