A Polar Bear Named GabraelSometimes unrealism is a problem though, like when characters act in a way totally against the rules or the nature of their story. I don't mind if artists take creatitive tweaks with changing science or whatever. It's fiction. I'll roll with it. But if you set all these rules, don't break them. I enjoyed both "Law Abiding Citizen" and "Collaterial". I really loved "Collaterial". At least until the ending of both. I just couldn't believe the endings. Both guys were far to smart, skilled, and prepared to get those endings. Jamie Foxx is the spoiler of both. Go fig. :P My boyfriend always harasses me because I am the kind of person who can't help complaining at the work out loud, (book, movie, whatever) as if it can really hear me. But it is really that fustrating when I am invested in a good plot or quality characters, and the whole thing takes a nose dive right through the structure that actually made me start to care in the first place.
Collateral, though, I think that was kind of the point. At the end it came down to pure luck, and the irony of the villain dying in the way he foreshadowed earlier in the film. Meanwhile, our shell-shocked heroes are left in a kind of So What Do We Do Now? situation. I found it very consistent with the dark theme of the movie.
edited 8th Jun '12 10:18:41 AM by Fighteer
CitizenWhat you're complaining about is Consistency, not Realism. It's perfectly valid to complain that a work isn't consistent with what has already been established. An otherwise smart character falling for a simple trick may be inconsistent. But on the other hand, it may fit into a character flaw. For example, what's the flaw of most genius villains? Overconfidence and underestimating their opponent. But the story needs to establish at some point that the villain is overconfident in order to make his defeat flow naturally from the story. There are plenty of flaws that should lead to a villain's defeat that need to be established. Short-tempered. Greedy. Insane. But you're right. Having their defeat come counter to everything we know about them is good cause for griping.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
A Polar Bear Named GabraelI understand that's what they were trying to do, but because they made Vincent so skilled, it seemed they had to jump through hoops to make a situation for him to fail. It was forced and unbelievable. It was almost as if they were in the writing room saying, "We need to research hit men, have him do a perfect Mozambique technique, not just once, but twice! He needs to dress and talk like a special forces/CIA kinda guy...Oh shit. Jamie Foxx is a simple taxi driver who is supposed to take him down in a ironic and meaningful way...hmmm... Just have him blindly shoot through shit! Yeah! On a subway! (Never mind that the subway is almost never vacant anytime of the day and there is always a human conductor who magically can't hear bullets.) That'll do it!" It's even more frustrating for someone who has a working knowledge to appreciate the detail of how everything was put together, like even Tom Cruise's trigger discipline and grip style, and then see it all thrown away to a big WTF ending? A lot of video games are really bad about this, setting up parameters of believably and then shutting it down. Characters are an easy target. Sequels are notorious for butchering this. And yes, I understand that this is a continuity problem, but it is also realism. If a character has acted in a very guided way, then all of a sudden changes course without any real plot motivator, then one can make the argument that it's not real. Like if Clarice Starling magically developed a crush on Hannibal Lecter. That's breaking realism. Clarice Starling getting to comfortable and forgetting to double check if she passed him a paperclip with the files she wanted him to examine, that's continuity. To me it's a matter of degree. One is more plausible and can make sense in the world of the story, the other is just out of left field.
Spit takerI think a big part of that problem stems from the production times of works. On one hand, you have the works that have to be produced on a tight schedule. Therefore, the creators may not have the time to think through the possible outcomes and just go with what comes to mind. It can result in weaker and less consistent work, but it's a necessity in some cases, particularly in more "professional" works. On the other hand, you have works that take so long to make, that the people in charge don't honestly remember everything they started out trying to do. This comes up more in a long running series or franchise, where the creators could have grown older and changed their views somewhat (or newer creators have taken their place). Human memory is fallible, after all, and that can lead to Character Derailment. Obviously, the best solution is to finish a work consecutively while still keeping a solid schedule. (Either that, or work any changes into longer-running stories as the characters themselves growing older and thus changing.)
"These days they have a stat for how many times a guy goes for a cup of coffee." -Mark McGwire
Here's a post I made earlier regarding a show that I find entertaining but that other people freely lavish their dislike on. It brings up a point that I mentioned earlier but wish to continue exploring, because I think it's key to this debate. It's this concept of "objectively bad". I don't accept that it is possible to establish definitive criteria for the quality of a work that everyone will agree on, and it is a basic fallacy to try. To be sure, there are lots of individual things that you can look at as guidelines for an assessment of quality, but when it all comes together, it's solely and entirely a matter of individual preference. There is nothing objective about "badness" or "goodness" when it comes to media. I think that the failure of people to understand this is what leads to fan rage and this whole false dichotomy we're talking about.
edited 18th Jun '12 9:02:36 AM by Fighteer
@Fighteer: You're assuming too much good faith, there. "I don't like it, therefore, it should not exist" is a perfectly reasonable summary of a lot of haters' attitudes. "I'm personally offended by the existence of Twilight/Eragon/NASCAR/Rapelay." It's not a failure to understand, it's either a failure to agree or a failure to care, and it's not even irrational in all cases (just most). Don't Like, Don't Read is, thus, a valid response to a Periphery Hatedom. You don't really have much grounds to criticize a work if you're turned off by the premise itself; constructive criticism focuses on implementation of the premise.
A Polar Bear Named GabraelI am going to disagree with if you haven't seen/read/watched it you still can't have a valid criticism. It all depends on the audience. For example, I would have never read Twilight unless it was assigned to me in class. This is mainly because if it is something that gets 30+ year old women to justify their lusting after a 16 year old boy with he excuse he's really a vampire...no. I can criticise the audience very well. I hate Nascar not because of the sport really, but because of the culture that surrounds it. If the culture of a work is so strong and pervasive, you can judge something off of it. Are all Nascar fans drunk rednecks? No. Are all Twilight fans immature girls with misguided self esteem? No. But these groups make up enough of the fandom that it's a valid consideration for criticism. I don't need to watch torture porn or extravagant rape scenes to know it's shit. I can look at the audience and it's effects. (There are plenty of interesing experiments that came from this in the social psychology field.) Another way I consider this is from being an art undergrad. I have heard horror stories from professors about what shit people tried to pass through evaluations. (You fail evals, you have to change your major.) I knew my fellow students enough to know the chances of their work being crap. (As they did me.) No one was surprised on who failed evals or not; we didn't even have to know what the piece was. That just comes from experience though.
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