What exactly makes
an Adventure Epic? Being a heavy Indiana Jones
Fan to me there is a clear and very detailed opinion
as to what makes a good Adventure Movie, down
to specific ingredients and here I will tell you
what they are.
First let's take the word Adventure
itself. That word has so much meaning to me. It
makes me think of Deserts and Jungles, Heroes
and Villains. Narrow escapes from trap infested
temple ruins, Globetrotting escapades, Chases
and Fights and over the top action sequences.
Have any of you ever taken a look at the definition
of Adventure in the Dictionary? It clearly means
a bold uncertain life threataning and risky undertaking.
An Adventure film is big, grand
and epic with lots of grand vistas and cinematography.
Here I will attempt to break down specific elements
that make a good Adventure Movie.
The story for this type of movie
usually involves some ancient relic from some
ancient civilization that holds unknown mysterious
powers. This is an element seen most often in
these types of movies. The villain wants to get
his hands on this item for reasons that range
anywhere from ruling the world to just plain old
fashioned money. The story is more involving than
your typical Action Movie. An action movie does
not involve any supernatural elements at all and
they are usually confined to one familiar setting.
They are rather bland by adventure standards.
The Story usually involves a Drug lord or Crime
boss and has to do with revenge for killing someone's
wife or partner. The plots for these movies I
find rather bland. The Adventure Movie Usually
involves many different exotic settings around
the world and lots of supernatural things. The
situations are more risky and things seem more
dangerous because you're dealing with the supernatural,
unknown mysteries. There is sometimes even an
element of horror in some adventure films. Things
are just a little bit scarier in adventure movies.
The situations are just a bit more dangerous and
the Villains and a bit more frightening than in
your average action film. This is due to the fact
that they deal with things unknown and supernatural.
Try to imagine a villain trying to get his hands
on a relic that can bring back an ancient civilization's
army. You would have an army of corpses a walking
army of the undead. Skeletons and decomposed bodies
some with missing limbs and eyeballs dangling.
That's scary. Despite this the adventure film
still manages to keep an air of lightheartedness.
Most of the time more so than any action film.
Most Adventure movies have plenty of comedy and
humor, things that would make you laugh out loud.
Adventure has a great balance of different elements
that make for a complete and very satisfying experience.
I know a great adventure film when I see one.
Your Probably asking yourself"
Then where do the James Bonds films fall under?"
The James Bond Films do not fall under any of
these two categories. They have lots of elements
from both the straightforward adventure movie
and the straightforward action movie. These two
merge to form The Spy Espionage Genre and that's
that. I could get into it, but I wont. Let us
of Doom's bridge
Now the Hero can be a typical straightforward
Boy Scout type without any fears or flaws and
never makes a mistake, but that makes for a very
uninteresting Hero. The Type of Adventure Hero
that I like is one who is not always right, they
make mistakes and screw up sometimes, and they
have flaws and fears and sometimes they even do
the wrong thing. That makes them human. At the
beginning of the story The Heroes intentions might
not always be too good. The hero can also just
be ruled by money, but the difference is that
they have to make a change sometime in the story;
they have to truly become a true Hero. This I
what I like to call the "Transformation"
Where they risk it all to do good to save the
Girl and the World. The heroes that I like be
it male or female are usually debonair and roguish
not so clean cut and proper all the time and a
little gritty and down to earth. They are good
at what they do and they say great one-liners.
Usually there is a love interest
The Villain in an Adventure Film
is big and Evil and a little more frightening
than you typical bad guy and they usually have
a reason to do the things they do. They are for
the most part like every other type of Villain,
What makes them different from your typical grade
A James Bond Villain is that they don't want to
rule the world with Nuclear Weapons, They want
to rule the world with ancient supernatural power.
With the Sword Excalibur or The Ark of the Covenant
or the army of Anubis. There are also other types
of Villains, that don't need any reason to be
bad, they just are like Pirates or Mercenaries,
but usually these types are supporting villains.
The Main Villain has a motive to be evil. The
Villain sometimes leads some type of cult devoted
to finding this relic and these people become
his army and bodyguards. And a lot of times they
are rich and are able to support their vast Empire.
The most exiting part of the Adventure
Films are the Action/Adventure Sequences. Always
exciting and full of danger. The Action sequence
in an Adventure film differs greatly from one
in an action film. There are narrow escapes from
trap infested temple ruins. Instead of just a
normal car chase you have a Chase involving Mine
cars inside caverns or jeeps through the jungles
of south America or a Nazi Truck with armed escort
in the desert and a Hero who must climb on and
take control of it against all odds or a plane
being chased by a wall of sand or a double Decker
bus chased by Mummies through the streets of London.
This is Adventure. At it's highest .The fights
are big and grand, against Mummies or Scorpion
monsters or Evil cult leaders or Nazi Mechanics.
The settings usually involve ancient ruins or
things like a rope bridge over a river infested
by Alligators of filled with Lava. There are gunfights
and plenty of explosions and the climactic battles
have to be even bigger and utterly amazing. That
is what makes an Adventure sequence.
Now I'm going to talk about a specific
element that might not be important to you all
in an Adventure film, but it is to me. That is
the Music. The Music in an Adventure film has
to be ... well adventurous. It has to be epic
and grand and swashbuckling. The Adventure movie
that I like usually has different Musical Themes
representing different elements and characters
in the movies. The Hero has a theme that is usually
very upbeat and swashbuckling and heroic. Sometimes
the Heroes Theme is the Main theme of the Movie
itself, but not always. There is also the Relic
or ancient civilization theme. This is the Theme
that represents the Artifact that the story involves;
this can also be the Film's main theme. There
is also the Villain theme and that's usually dark
and evil sounding and if there is a love interest
there is a romantic sounding Love Theme. Any other
theme is just secondary. The music in an adventure
film has to be orchestral and grand. This is where
I think Tomb Raider falls short. The Music in
The Tomb Raider games and movies are of a Techno
New Age type that to me has no room in a straightforward
Adventure genre. With Tomb Raider they tried to
modernize on the Idea of the Pulp Adventure with
a contemporary feel and sound and look. Why fix
something if it isn't broken? If they wanted to
modernize on the idea of Music in Adventure they
could of gotten David Arnold, who is a great Classic
adventure score composer, who did Stargaze. He
did an excellent job with the two latest James
Bond films, where he had elements of Modern techno
sound and still manages to mix it with the Classic
Orchestral Adventure sound. He blends the two
beautifully. There are just those moments in a
great Adventure film where the Image on screen
blends perfectly with the Music, This is truly
harmony. The Moment can be one second long or
as long as two hours.
These entire things blend to complete
what to me is the perfect Adventure Film. To me
Adventure is a specific idea it is a state of
mind. In the world of Adventure things are bigger
and grander and very magical and not always too
realistic, but hey it's about fun. I love adventure
films and I will never tire of them.