June 26th, 2006


Spoilers and the gotcha moment

Following on from my post of last week about neophilia and the pleasure response people get from working things out, I realised that this ties in very well to the way that people feel about spoilers. The whole point about plot twists and turns is the emotional response you get from them. If you weren't supposed to get a kick from finding out that Keyzer Soze is actually a woman, they wouldn't bother putting that bit in the film. They could, after all, just have had someone mention it in an early scene and not worried about it at all.

But no, they chose to put it near the end, after ramping up the suspense, giving you some twisty-turny stuff in order to confuse you, along with some actual leads so it was _possible_ to work it out, just not easy. All these various things are in there for a reason - to heighten the effect of the reveal when you get to it. Knowing about it in advance diminishes that significantly. It's still possible to get caught up in things, just much harder.

None of which means that you can't experience these things a second time. I thoroughly enjoyed rewatching Fight Club and spotting all the places where the director practically stands there with a big placard shouting at you "Look, he's his long lost dad, it's obvious!". And obviously in things where the twisty-turny bits aren't all you get you can still enjoy all the other bits.

But some of my strongest memories are of the shock of the reveal, or of working things out 6 seconds before we're told (I said "Fuck!" extremely loudly when I saw Fight Club and people several rows away looked in my direction). I understand that those bits aren't what some of you read books for/go to the cinema for. And clearly there has to be a statute of limitations (those people who didn't know that Darth Vader is actually Luke's unconscious mind made manifest, or that Rosebud was the nickname for Kane's first girlfriend's clitoris will just have to live with it). But personally, I like that part of the movie-going experience a lot.

And that's why I'm very glad that those people talking about Dr Who on Saturday nights for the last few weeks have been keeping their posts behind lj-cuts. And also why I'm begging all of the Americans who read this to keep any discussion of Superman similarly hidden until July 14th, that being when it comes out over here...

(And yes, I had great fun making up the plot twists above, only one of which is true)

Saturday's Dr Who

Oh My God That Was Shit.

(And I could qualify it by saying that it had some nice lines, a few good scenes, a good setup reminiscient of Sapphire and Steel, but really. Oh. My. God.)