Always Deliver on the Promise of Your Story (Not Like “65”)

Every bad or mediocre movie starts off with a good idea. In the case of “65,” the idea is that a man is stranded on Earth 65 million years ago and must survive against dinosaurs until he can get to his rescue ship.

So the main idea of “65” is no different than “Jurassic Park,” which is surviving against dinosaurs. The big difference is that unlike “Jurassic Park,” “65” fails to deliver on its promise.

The main appeal of “65” is a man fighting and surviving against dinosaurs, yet the dinosaurs never represent an increasing threat like in “Jurassic Park.” Instead, the dinosaurs pop up at random times to threaten the hero, but most of the time the hero fights the environment such as getting trapped in a cave, falling in quicksand, or struggling to climb a cliff.

While interesting, it takes away from the promise of the story, which is to see a man fight and survive against dinosaurs.

Strip away the promise of your story and you literally have no story. That’s the major fault of “65,” which you can see in the trailer here.

While the trailer makes it look like the hero fights dinosaurs, the actual movie spends far too much time without any dinosaurs at all. Imagine “Jurassic Park” where the people never have to worry about dinosaurs at all. There’s no point in the story. In “65,” long stretches of the movie go by without any dinosaurs threatening the hero, making the movie less about fighting dinosaurs and more about simply surviving in the wildness with dwindling supplies.

The basic lesson is to identify what is your story about. Then make sure you deliver that promise constantly with increasing tension until the very end.

In “The Shawshank Redemption,” the story is about hope so the hero constantly delivers hope to others while living in seemingly hopeless circumstances until he finally gets out. Then he helps his friend discover hope as well.

In “65,” the story is about a man trying to survive against dinosaurs, yet the dinosaurs don’t play a prominent enough part in the story.

Study any mediocre movie and you’ll often find the story’s promise isn’t delivered in the actual movie. Watch “Mortal Engines” (cities on wheels that consume each other), “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” (Shazam fighting against gods), or “Cocaine Bear” (a rampaging bear high on cocaine).

Each of these movies has a compelling idea, but each of these movies fails to consistently deliver this promise from start to finish.

Don’t do that in your own story. Make sure your story promise is clear and make sure you deliver on that promise over and over again.

If you don’t deliver on your story’s promise, you have no story at all.

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