By all rights, "Knight and Day" should be a thoroughly crappy movie: it's a string of cliche's. The action/romantic-comedy movie opens up in an airport where our heroes meet by accident and and are chased by spies and assasins who want an increadibly-valuable-but-also-highly-portable-object that one of them carries around.
The movie includes car chases, and shootouts in exotic locations and it turns out the mysterious stranger was really telling the truth all along. Oh, and I'd hate to spoil the ending, but those crazy kids wind up together.
Thing is, I had a lot of fun watching it, maybe because it starred these guys.In "Illusion of Life" Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston claimed the building blocks for (their) Disney Pictures were Personalities; that the beginning and the end of a good film was interesting characters, as opposed to plot, pacing, the world the story takes place in, research, context or meaning. Granted, Thomas & Johnston's viewpoint was that largely of actors. Also, if such a philosophy produced these profitable and widely beloved franchises, who am I to argue?
From a traditional screenwriting standpoint, "Bambi", "Pooh" and "the Jungle Book" aren't very coherent screen stories.
In Jungle Book, Mowgli doesn't pursue his desire to stay in the Jungle so much as run into one eccentric personality after another. Winnie-the-Pooh's many adventures have little or no relation to each other and are padded out with the Sherman Brothers' Music... well just because. Bambi has no desire or dramatic need throughout his story, and consequently, no goal to challenge or obstruct, making the entire film a cross between a ballet and a tone poem of beautiful, though tenuously related, animated sequences.
But rather like Diaz and Cruz, the characters in these films are fun, interesting to watch, entertaining, even compelling. From cute/obnoxious Thumper to Tiggers that don't like Honey, these are Stars.
Even "bad movies" have their memorable stars.
So is a collection of good characters enough to make a bona-fide good story as Thomas and Johnston seem to claim, or is it enough to persuade an audience to forgive an otherwise dumb or crappy story?