The Visual Hook

We talk a lot about “hooks” in the movie business. A hook is usually defined as the element of the plot that captures the audience’s interest, whether in marketing, a review, or during the actual movie.

The hook for Jaws is  “killer shark”. The hook for White House Down and /or Olympus Has Fallen is  “it’s Die Hard, but in the White House!”  The hook for Oblivion is (let’s be honest here) is  “Tom Cruise is in a big-budget sci-fi movie!”

I’m beginning to think a lot of major movies have another kind of hook, though. A visual hook – a scene, or rather an image, that occurs about ten to fifteen minutes into the movie and encapsulates something of the tone and theme of the movie. A moment of awe and emotion.

In White House Down, it would be the explosion at the Capitol. In Pacific Rim, Gipsy Danger looming out of the Alaskan mist. In Star Trek Into Darkness, the Enterprise rising from under the sea  (quite an early one, that).

Is anyone else noticing these, or am I over-thinking this?


2 comments on “The Visual Hook

  1. I would say that hooks are about mystery, and you can create mystery in many ways. So it’s not overthinking, it’s just different ways of making the viewer go “What’s that about?”

  2. Marc says:

    You’re absolutely right. Iron Man 3 has Tony’s mansion falling into the ocean. Despicable Me 2 has the car driving into the water. Catching Fire has Katniss diving into the arena. (So basically anything having to do with water.)

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