The Downside to Critical Thinking

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Posts for the next (and past) few weeks will be patchy due to a fun combo of massive work deadlines plus house hunting, but please be assured that I’m still alive and thinking. A bit.

Anyway, today’s blog is largely inspired by the raptor and I going to see Oblivion last week. It’s a decent futuristic sci-fi boy’s own adventure (with a love story kind of tacked on like a sidecar – inelegant and throwing the weight off). A year ago I’d have loved it. The aesthetics were lovely, the scenery was wonderful, the initial set-up was a great platform to tell interesting stories from, and the action was well-filmed. But I walked away with a distinct sense of dissatisfaction and, talking it over with the raptor, I worked out why.

The whole story is irrelevant. The central tension is an issue because the hero isn’t who/what he thinks, which ultimately leads back to the question of why the big bad has him in the picture at all. The initial set-up is utterly unnecessary to the world as it is presented at the end, so the story shouldn’t really exist. Serious red thread problem, basically.

A year ago I wouldn’t even have noticed. I’d have enjoyed the pretty pictures and big bangs, and then gone home happy. Thinking more critically about structure has inevitably had an impact on my perception of stories when they’re presented to me. In a way this makes me sad – I’m no longer able to enjoy as many films, TV shows, etc. because I’m less willing to accept their flaws. On the other hand, it means I appreciate quality more.

Oblivion, sponsored by IKEA

Oblivion, sponsored by IKEA

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2 responses »

  1. What there is to truly enjoy is the process of unpacking the narrative structure, whether it is a good or bad or somewhere else work. The life of the mind is the great joy. The platforms which incite thinking are only endless stimuli for that joy.

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