Smart Ass

In my most recent post, I'd mentioned that a reviewer who defended the atrocious plot holes of Prometheus had said we are to suspend our logic because this was a science fiction movie. For any storyteller, we know that's not true. We suspend our disbelief. Logic is the hallmark to any good story. Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn't -Mark Twain

Again?!

Again?!

I had watched several flicks with the backdrop being aliens invade the world. More often than not, we humans at the very least kick enough ass to survive: Independence Day, Battle Los Angeles, Battleship. Of course the only way we could win is by dumbing down the aliens' tech.

Come on.

It be right here

It be right here

It's fairly common knowledge that Alpha Centauri is around 4.4 light years away from us. So common that I had to look it up. It's more common knowledge that it would take us hella days to get there. Shit. We don't even have the tech to do that. As a freakin' result, any alien peeps that could come here would have weapons beyond any common man's imagination. I would think they'd kick our asses, if they so choose. They'd be like, "Nuclear missiles? Are you kidding? What is this? The Stone Age?"

When I created my antagonist, the bad dude, I knew two things. As a former actor, one of the pillars of acting is not to judge your character. For example, if an actor was hired to play Hitler, the last thing he (or she) should do is judge the character. Or else you're playing character (scowl and yell and be a real meany) instead of being Hitler. I think he truly wanted to improve the world by creating an Arian race and committing genocide on the Jewish. We know that's wrong, but that's for the audience to decide.

Secondly, he had to be smart. If I dumbed down the bad guy, any wins the good guy accrued would mean nothing. Any losses would make my good guy look stupid. They complete each other.

Samurai male pattern baldness

Samurai male pattern baldness

The movie 13 Assassins is a great example of this. Lord Matsudaira Naritsugu is just an asshole. He rapes and kills simply because he can. He's sadistic. So a government official realizes that things would get worse once this Lord ascends his political position. So he hires a Samurai who then gathers a dozen more, the best of the best, to assassinate the Lord. You'd have to. Any Lord in Japan during the Edo period is gonna have awesome Samurai to protect them. Thirteen against the Lord's countless horde. Odds are against the thirteen. If they lose, it's to be expected. If they win, monumental accomplishment.

Now. Imagine this. Lord Matsudaira Naritsugu has a squad of twenty Samurai who are dufuses. Type of guys who wouldn't know how to use toilet paper. Don't know if they had toilet paper in the Edo period. Then this government official hires thirteen of the most ruthless, skilled Samurai to kill the sadistic Lord. Not much tension or conflict.

What did you do!?

What did you do!?

The antagonist doesn't always have to be a person or a group of people. One of my favorite Samurai movies is Twilight Samurai. Here, we have a father, a Samurai on the floor of the totem pole. He lives life, saves money by not taking baths and reeks of fish, and wears rags for clothes. He makes wooden cages for pet grasshoppers that aren't in great demand, and barely has enough money to feed his two daughters and ailing mother. He can't get ahead and the need for Samurai dwindles. We're told ronin are becoming the norm, Samurai with no Lords looking for independent work. We know from hearsay our hero is a great swordsman, so we are guaranteed an eye-popping sword fight. He down plays his skills, which only speaks truth to the rumors. But where is the bad guy? Where and how will this epic event happen?

Then I realized something. The antagonist is society, his situation, ultimately, himself. Light from the heavens beam down all over me as I jump for joy. Angels sing as the warmth of my ego's hug tighten. In the end, we do see a great and very realistic sword fight, but it symbolizes his view of himself. He becomes the person he should be, completing his character arch.

Moral of the story: run away from aliens, sadistic dudes should watch out for thirteen assassins trying to kill ya, and don't make dumb assess of your bad guys.