“Nope” is the much anticipated film from Jordan Peele. After the superb “Get Out” and the decent “Us” horror films, “Nope” got decent reviews about the story’s theme. Yet if you focus just on the main characters, there’s really very little story.
The hero is a man who loses his father when strange debris rains down from the sky and hits him in the head, killing him. Strip away the theme of exploiting animals for spectacle and what does the hero want? How does the hero change in the end?
The complete lack of answers for these two basic questions makes “Nope” a strange critically acclaimed film. There literally is no story because the hero has no specific goal he’s struggling to achieve and doesn’t change in any meaningful way. Even worse, the hero isn’t even responsible for killing the villain in the end. His sister does it by doing something that isn’t really set up ahead of time.
Study “Get Out” to see how the hero has a strong goal (to escape with his life), overcomes severe obstacles, and finally wins out in the end. Then look at “Nope” and try to identify what the hero is trying to achieve, what obstacles are getting in his way, and how he wins in the end. There’s a huge difference.
“Nope” is visually interesting to watch, but strip away the visuals and you’re left with an empty shell for a story. Sometimes watching good movies can be depressing because you’ll feel you can never match that quality. That’s why watching mediocre movies can be inspiring because you can always feel you can do much better.
“Nope” isn’t a bad movie, just not a very good one that feels like a jumbled rough draft of ideas that never quite explain the motivation of any of the characters. When you study “Nope”, you can see what not to do.