Monday, April 20, 2009

"Yeah, Right!"

My husband considers himself a lucky guy when he sends me to RedBox to pick out a movie and I come home with Hellboy II. I don't tell him it's because it's 7 PM on a Saturday night and the good stuff was taken and everything else was either college raunch or kiddie cheese. Besides, as with most fiction, I can usually always find something redemptive in a fantasy film. I'm dorky like that.

So we're watching the movie and there's a part where Hellboy is standing next to a row of lockers and the magic-smoke-guy is making all the lockers open and smack him all over. He then precedes to gradually fall down from the battery of locker doors, to which I emphatically replied, "Yeah, Right!"

My husband started laughing. "After all the stuff that has happened this seems incredible to you?"

"Yes," I said, "because two scenes ago he was fighting with a virtually indestructible troll-thing for a full two minutes and even though he was continuously pummeled and even lost a tooth he never once withered like he did just now from a couple of aluminum doors."

See, the problem wasn't that I found a magic-smoke-guy pushing locker doors open unbelievable. It was the fact that they didn't follow their own rules. This is such a basic concept in speculative fiction that I'm amazed how often, particularly in film, the rule gets broken. You can make anything happen in fiction. ANYTHING. But if you establish that your protagonist is strong enough to withstand blows that would kill any other mortal, without so much as a shake of the head, then you can't break that rule and have him wilt later at a series of much lesser blows. When you create a world you have to create its rules. It's the keeping of those rules that makes an audience able to suspend their disbelief.

Hellboy II is RedBox worthy, but don't pay more than a dollar to see it. The fantasy characters were intriguing (though I'm still wondering why the elves looked like vampires) but the action fell flat.

4 comments:

sexy said...
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strugglingwriter said...

I HATE when they don't follow their own rules.

You will probably think me lame but this is why I didn't like From Dusk Till Dawn. If felt like the vampires didn't fit into that Universe (in my defense I knew nothing of the movie going in). There are far more egregious examples of this I'm sure, but I'm drawing a blank.

Hoodie said...

I'v never seen From Dusk Till Dawn, so I have no opinion of it.

Whenever it happens though I always think, "Do they really think we aren't going to notice the inconsistencies?"

Vesper said...

"Do they really think we aren't going to notice the inconsistencies?"I imagine they think they can get away with them, at least for the majority of viewers... :-)