We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

Listeners Weigh In On Movies That Monitor The Audience

Monday, February 18, 2013

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

On Friday, we learned about a test of a plan to use body monitoring applied to movie viewing that would select alternate actions depending on what the audience wants. So we challenged listeners to tell us how this technology could work retroactively, reworking some of the past's almost great films. Melissa Block hears from some listeners.



Finally, in this week's All Tech round-up, a follow-up to something you heard on this program last Friday. We told you that researchers in England have shot a short film that allows the audience to change the movie's plot using hi-tech bio-signals. If the action seems too tense, the story veers to something a bit more calming.

We asked you to come up some plot revisions of your own to improve otherwise good movies you've seen. Warning: our first one requires a spoiler alert. It's the latest James Bond thriller, "Skyfall."


CAMILLE NELSON: My name is Camille Nelson. I live in Oxford, Ohio. In the first scene, James Bond is accidentally shot and seriously wounded by a fellow agent who had been instructed by M to take the shot.



NELSON: My do-over would come down to this. Bad guy, Raul Silva, presents more of an imminent threat to humanity. M is more badly injured and Bond is both weaponless and physically unable to come to M's rescue. As in the original, Silva holds a gun to M's temple, puts his head next to hers and tells her to pull the trigger. M wastes little time considering her options, M looks gravely at Bond and calmly informs him: Bond, I'm going to take the shot.

M kills the bad guy and goes out in a blaze of glory.


SCOTT CHANKHELD: This is Scott Chankheld(ph) in Port Deposit, Maryland. I would like to see an alternate ending to the 1974 movie "Jaws." As the hero, the local sheriff eventually kills the shark. During the movie he's in an argument with a local politician who does not want to close the beach, due to possible economic impact.


CHANKHELD: In my alternate ending, the sheriff would not go to work that day because the politician used a looming fiscal crisis as an excuse to furlough the civil servants. In this alternate ending, the shark would survive and the politician and his family would be eaten by the shark because the sheriff was on furlough.


STEVEN COVARI: This is Steven Covari(ph). Regarding alternate movie endings, I would have Sonny Corleone survive in "Godfather I," by virtue of using his easy pass.


BLOCK: Then there's a plot change suggested by listener John Manion of Leesburg, Virginia. He thinks the film "Casablanca" would be more satisfying without its altruistic ending. In his version, Free-French supporter Elsa, played by Ingrid Bergman, should leave her heroic husband rotting in jail and run off with Humphrey Bogart's Rick, the saloon-keeper.

And another listener, Charles O'Meara of Guilford, Connecticut, takes a dim view of the whole idea of audiences influencing a plot of a movie. He says, that's not a movie, that's a video game. He further writes to tell us that as a composer, he finds it utterly insulting that the public should have a say in his vision. If the public knows so much, he says, let them make their own movies.

While that may be a proper view for an artist, for the many "Star Wars" fans who wrote in, there was no question that a do-over would help "The Phantom Menace." When the film came out in 1999, there was a fan revolt over one cartoonish character that spoiled the movie for many.

Listener Drew Lienau of Seattle spoke for many with this suggestion.

DREW LIENAU: My movie do-over is three words: Jar Jar Binks.

BLOCK: Thanks to everyone who wrote or sent in their audio comments. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

View this story on npr.org

Sign up for ReCap

and never miss the top stories

Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Check out a sample ReCap newsletter.