zoethe: (Flying monkeys)
I am writing this entry solely so that I can tag it and link to it every time I get into a debate about what a movie/book/TV show "means." These rules seem obvious to me, but from what I see on journals, they apparently aren't. Actually, screw "rules" - it comes down to one rule:

If it's not supported by the content of the original, it isn't a valid subject for debate.

In other words, if someone says to me, "The ending of The Prestige makes no sense. Why did they burn down a warehouse?" and I point out that the warehouse was full of dead clones and that person then says, "Oh, I get it now!" then I have pointed out something supported by the content of the movie. But if someone says, "I don't understand why the Christian Bale character would leave his daughter with the Michael Caine character" and I say, "Well, clearly he wants the Michael Caine character to raise her to be the queen of Bohemia," then I am speculating with nothing to support this theory.

I feel it is necessary to point this out because I have seen any number of debates of late wherein one party says, "This plot point makes no sense," to which other people then jump in, not by pointing out some bit of foreshadowing or subtle point that explains the quandary, but with speculation, reinterpretation, and extension into conjecture completely unsupported by what is shown on the screen or written in the text. This is not in and of itself a bad thing - I've had more than a few movies that I have actively chosen to ignore a portion of what screened in preference for my superior take. But you can't use such preferences as a matter of debate for what was actually put before you. Yes, your version may be better. You don't get to use it, or your speculations about what was happening "offscreen" and never mentioned, as proof that the story was much better than it really was.

Even worse? When the whole debate devolves into hashing out something that never happened in the original.

Please. Share your "in a better version" of the story with the understanding that it's not a defense of the original. The flying monkeys will thank you.

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zoethe

September 2012

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