Wednesday, March 05, 2008

In Summary

Imagine this scenario: You're browsing through the TV listings, scanning for a movie to watch, occasionally pausing to read the brief synopsis of the movie (the one or two-liner that describes the show, maybe on-screen, maybe in your news paper or TV Guide).

If you're watching TBS pretty much any given Saturday afternoon, you'll find:

The Breakfast Club: "A wrestler, a rebel, a brain, a beauty and a shy girl share Saturday detention in a Chicago high school."

More specifically, on a sci-fi type channel you might find the following:

Back to the Future: "A teen takes a crackpot's DeLorean time machine to 1955 and sees his parents in high school."


E.T. The Extra-terrestrial: "A boy's close encounter with an alien stranded on Earth leads to a unique friendship."

The summaries are jam-packed with keywords, often stacked 3 and 4 in a row, maximizing the description in a short space. So, they might seem a bit odd to read, but when you know the context, they are effective in describing, in this case, a couple of mainstream 80s movies.

Imagine how my curiosity was piqued upon reading the following synopsis (which was from the 80s, but NOT a mainstream film):

Solarbabies: "Orphan roller skaters follow a magical sphere to freedom from fascist police of the future."

Roller Skaters, you say? Yes, but ORPHAN roller skaters.

Follow a sphere? Wait - where? No, a MAGICAL sphere. To FREEDOM.

Freedom from the police? Even worse. FASCIST police.


I'm not sure I've ever seen 15 words say so much.

As a sci-fi fan I had to watch this movie. No surprise, it was terrible.