The Importance of the Screenplay

In recent years, the clear abundance of poorly written screenplays, especially in this year’s summer movie season, has proved daunting and fearful for the future of filmmaking. With a loud blockbuster seemingly being churned out every weekend, the detreating quality of recent screenplays has become even more evident. While certain films like Black Panther and Dunkirk are able to revolutionize their respective genres with bold, passionate screenplays, there are simply too many poorly written films being released in the cinema to ignore the issue. Filmmakers and directors in Hollywood are forgetting the importance of the screenplay. These directors are placing more emphasis on CGI-bloated action over characterization. These filmmakers are placing proper storytelling and pacing below making a colossal sum at the box office. In this analysis essay, we will explore why the quality of screenplays has rapidly decreased over recent years by exploring the faults that make up the recent Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Image Courtesy of Universal Studios

In every screenplay, there are three primary characteristics that it needs to achieve: pacing, tone, and proper storytelling through simplicity. However, the most important characteristic of that trio is pacing. Without proper pacing, any consistent tone or storytelling becomes meaningless because the audience would have already lost interest. We can explore this concept by analyzing Fallen Kingdom. As viewers of the film know, the story kicks off into high-end gear within the first act. Events fly by as the screenplay is seemingly rushing to get to Isla Nublar to show off impressive action set pieces. But in the final two acts, the film jarringly becomes a slow, unbearable slog through the boring mansion. Both of these styles of pacing represents undesirable qualities. Firstly, while most critics and audiences praised the first act of Fallen Kingdom, I was simply left confused and dismayed. While the film may have had an exciting pace to kick things off, it ultimately speeded through the introductory scenes too quickly. The film, in its high-ended speed, never gives the audience time to develop an attachment to the characters or even settle into the film. As a result, characterization in the first act is brushed over quickly as the film is desperate to reach the island where action sequences can take place. This is the marking of a storyteller who doesn’t know how to tell stories. The focus of a film should never be on pure action sequences, but rather proper storytelling. Action sequences only exist to propel the existing storyline and to heighten the pace the film. Fallen Kingdom, in its first act, almost completely does the opposite. It uses a high-ended pace and minimalist storyline to propel the audience into more action sequences, defeating the narrative purpose of the inclusion of action and instead opting for the increased usage of spectacle.

Image Courtesy of Universal Studios

As for the second half of the film which takes place at the Rookwood mansion, it also features some disastrous pacing issues. Namely, the screenwriters never attempt to maintain consistency between the first half and second half of the film. The two parts feel like separate movies all together and never maintain any form of consistency. It then creates a jarring effect when the film slows down to an unwieldy halt in its pacing. The film continues in a drab motion, with little narrative substance in any of its scenes. This is also a marking of a storyteller who doesn’t know how to tell stories. In these second and third acts, the audience becomes bored and complacent with the events occurring on screen, emotions that an audience should never feel. If the audience is bored with the film, then the screenplay has failed spectacularly narratively. No matter how many sequences with dinosaurs the screenwriters throw into the film, there is no escaping the fact that the second and third acts don’t feel like a film, but rather a hollow experience.

Image Courtesy of Universal Studios

When analyzing the film in its entirety, Fallen Kingdom presents several lessons for developing screenwriters. Firstly, it properly explains, to its downfall, the importance of proper pacing. The film never attempts to maintain pure consistency in the transition between two acts. In fact, it attempts to recreate the exact opposite of the previous act. When two wholly different forms of storytelling are placed on screen, there is no emotional attachment to any of the events because the audience is under the impression that they are watching an entirely different film. These are lessons that modern screenwriters should learn. Without learning and understanding why these issues exist in such a coveted blockbuster like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, filmmakers will only make more of these types of films. Soon, instead of feeling like a natural, immersive experience, each movie released at the cinema will be hollow due to a poorly written and paced screenplay. These are the lessons that screenwriters need to understand, but if they will learn them, remains to be seen.

Image Courtesy of IndieWire

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