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Thoughts on Edits–Rogue One Version (with Chompers)

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be putting aside graphic design and covers to finish this edit pass of Overseer.

The bones and muscles of the story are laid down, the things that need to happen. Now comes the skin and the connective tissue: description and makings sure that reveals happen in the correct place, that everything happens for a reason.

But there’s also some mental pressure here to add tension.

Some writers really torture their characters. They throw everything in there, much like the end of Rogue One.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I really adored Rogue One, but close to the end I began to get fed up with ‘everything will go wrong’…especially when it began to look silly to me.  (I thought this the first time I saw it in the theater.)

There’s a scene where Jyn is climbing the tower to get to the communication platform. Multiple bad things have already happened, but as she climbs alone, she sees that she has to go through a vent that’s opening and closing regularly.

And my first thought on seeing that vent that could cut her in half? It was the chompers from Galaxy Quest.

Because there was no need for it to be there. Why would any engineer design a vent like that?

In fact, it was so egregious that it made me question everything that went wrong for her after that. You see, all she had to do was get up to the platform and insert the tape to play.

Instead she:

  1. Has to get past the chomper, but then when she inserts the disc, the dish is out of alignment, so she…
  2. Has to go out on a narrow walkway to realign the dish (like an advanced-technology dish wouldn’t do that automatically.) She does so, but…
  3. Is shot at by an Imperial fighter (who is incidentally firing at a person in an Imperial uniform on the most important communication dish at their own installation. Why?) The walkway collapses and…
  4. Jyn has to hang on as it slams against the tower. (Lots of upper body strength required!) Then she…
  5. Has to climb back up the now-damaged walkway without falling to her death. There she….
  6. Is confronted by her nemesis, who blocks her from hitting the send button.

I totally bought #6 because we saw him coming that direction, getting on the elevator and heading up there.

But the first five seemed…like contrived tension to me. Because the first was obviously a chomper scene, (“This episode was badly written!”), it made me doubt the rest.

 

My point in all this being that tension in a story needs to be reasonable. It needs to follow from the story because if it doesn’t, after a while it becomes clear that an author is doing it…just to do it.

We make up all the troubles that befall our protagonists, but we can go too far.

So the next couple of weeks I have to make sure that all the troubles that befall my protagonists actually make sense. That they follow from the plot, and aren’t just chompers.

Harry Potter, 6 years on…

This week I’ve been re-watching all the Harry Potter movies. I hadn’t watched them in a while, and since I had some time, I decided to do all 8.

Most notably, the films hold up pretty well. Despite The Sorcerer’s Stone (’01) approaching it’s second decade, it doesn’t look dated. The young stars seemed a bit ill-formed, but they were pretty young….and became more sophisticated as they went along.

This time around–possibly because of the rosy glow of time passing–some of the things that bothered me in the past weren’t as bad.  

I started having problems reading the books at around Book 5, (Order of the Phoenix).  Harry annoyed me to death with his constant whining about how bad his life was, and that colored the next two books for me.  I was SO done with Harry.

(Sorry, in OotP, Harry had just turned 16, and it was hard for me to relate to a kid being so whiny at that age.   A)I taught HS, and most kids that age are past the whiny stage, and B)I was a sophomore in college at 16, so I wasn’t -in- HS at that age, and therefore struggle to relate to that whole environment anyway. And yes, I know Harry had worse-than-average teenage issues, but…)

Anyhow, one perq of watching the movies instead or rereading the books is that you perceive less of the whiny-ness. The first time I saw that movie, I had recently read the book, so the book experience tainted the movie. This time, I actually liked OotP much more.

The same lack of “recently-read-the-book” taint also made the last three movies better for me, as did being able to watch them in quick succession. In those two books, my main beef was the extraneous subplots and gazillion unnecessary characters…many of which the movies skipped over.

Therefore, this time around it was a much better viewing experience.  I have a greater admiration for JKR as a story teller at this distance, and hope to watch these again in another 6 years.