Adventures & Insights

One man's adventures in the physical and intellectual worlds…

Mad Props to Mad Props!

George couldn't find voice for his love; Meredith was speechless.

Wolf Brother and I were watching Moonraker last night and as we enjoyed the action sequences something dawned on us – for all the credit that gets thrown around once a movie is completed, there is none to be had for the stunt dummies. I am here to change that today!

The movie industry is enormous and has countless moving parts. From the big name actors to the catering staff, if you’ve ever sat through the rolling credits at the end of a film you’ll know that EVERYONE gets a mention. Even the animals that weren’t harmed in the making of the movie will get a textual high-five. Sure, the stuntmen-and-women get pretty good billing too, given what they put themselves through. For a period of time back in high school I wanted to be a stuntman; I thought their job was the second most glamorous job ever. Only just behind being a treasure-hunting archaeologist. Reality though, has led me down a different alley – for a while at least.

Anyway, action movies in particular are seen for the stunts. The chases – on foot, motorcycle, car, boat, plane, skateboard, hoverboard, and whatever else you can think of sit right next to the fight scenes as the bread and butter of the action movie genre. Storyline exists solely to link one fight/chase scene to the next. Many action films do this well, even managing to throw in a decent chunk of intelligent writing to add that little bit extra into the mix. Way to go writers! See, credit.

The stuntmen-and-women do excellent jobs to bring to life the sequences in the movie, and after all the editing, creative rework and post-production we’re (usually) left with a great little thrill-ride and a long string of credits. But when the stunts involved in a movie would kill anyone who attempted them – take the “oops, our boat is about to go over an enormous waterfall!” scene from Moonraker or basically any movie scene in which a vehicle carrying passengers is blown up, the stunt dummies are called into duty. And they never hear anything in the way of thanks.

To the brave dummies that were in the boat that went over that waterfall, I salute you. To those who have been blown up in car chases or aeroplane crashes, you have my heartfelt thanks. To those of you who have had your heads exploded, limbs rent or have been lowered into a molten steel smelting pot without ever uttering a word – just giving us all the thumbs up, I say you  deserve an Oscar. My movie experience would have been quite different without you.

These men and women are the silent glue that holds the action movie genre together, providing plausibility (and even enjoyable implausibility) to the many movies I have seen. That you never make outrageous demands, never argue or shy away from doing what is asked of you is just more affirmation of your great intestinal fortitude and character. I worry also for your future. You have given the industry so much love and time, and yet technology is rapidly replacing you. Instead of employing your services, movie-makers are relying on the intangible constructions of CGI to bring elements of their stories to life. Fair play I guess, but nothing will ever replace you guys in my mind.

Kudos, Stunt Dummies. May your story be told for generations.

2 responses to “Mad Props to Mad Props!

  1. michelle September 6, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Buster from MythBusters is probably the only stunt dummy acknowledged for his greatness. So many others, so little mention.
    http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbusters-buster/

    • OpentoAdventure September 6, 2010 at 8:26 am

      You’re absolutely right, I’m a big fan of Buster’s and it’s good to see that he’s making ground in this area and thanks to Adam, Jamie and the rest of the crew I hope to see this as the start of something bigger for stunt dummies everywhere.

      Thanks for reading too, I love seeing new faces!🙂

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