Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Short Changed

Still here ... and still writing ... and still contemplating the world. I'm fond of the idea of folded proteins at the moment. I wonder if they could fold into little yachts or even umbrella shapes - a thought I hope to develop into a song for my literal (literary musical). Every Protein Folds.

A few movies have disappointed of late, despite solid, reasonably intelligent plots and controlled emotional topography.
As I left the cinema, I wondered why I wasn't buzzing about the latest Indy film. A few minutes of thought later I had the answer. Easy to demonstrate:

[Little baby spoilers start here ...]

In Indy 1, a jeep-load of Nazis plummets over a cliff; in Indy 2, a cart-full of Thuggies cartwheels into a flaming abyss; in Indy 3, a tank rolls into a ravine plunging a horrified bad guy to his death ...
In Indy 4, a vehicle laden with Russkies nearly goes over ...

In Indy 1, the bad-guys' faces melt; in Indy 2, chief baddy falls into a ravine and his shattered body is dismembered by crocs; in Indy 3, chief baddy ages a hundred years in a matter of seconds ...
In Indy 4, chief baddy sort of just vanishes.

Sure, Indy 4 has its candy store moments (the bomb blast and the ants come to mind), but too many set-ups fall short of expectations.
Similarly, in Hannibal Rising, some guys are killed in reasonably tame ways, and often the viewer isn't even invited to witness their demise. Certainly the ending limps apologetically into the credits with none of the visceral pay-offs we so fondly remember from Silence of the Lambs or Hannibal.

[Little baby spoilers end here, folding into little baby protein cranes.]

Sequels are inherently imbued with mass expectations and preconceptions formed by their predecessors. Our latest game, Haze, suffered in part as a result of expectations that were not fulfilled.
However, we have no excuses for failing to hit the highs and lows, the tapestry of moods, the gasps and the tears that the reader so rightly deserves. And, as McKee observes, once we create a high, we are obliged to subsequently raise the bar: the reader should feel as though his journey is intensifying rather than waning (or, at least, that it is altering direction), for it is such expectation which entices him to turn the next page.