Monday, April 25, 2011

A Break From Elvhen Lesbianism

Okay, my female Hawke (whose name is Bella, for reasons that will be explained in a coming novel, sort of) has finally managed to bang Merrill. Nothing gets a Dalish girl's motor running like reassembling a historically significant magic mirror belonging to her ancient ancestors.

(No really, I've done weirder things for a chick in real life. An arulin'holm is peanuts, seriously.)

I'm watching Top Gun, not for the first time (I was born in 1973, after all). Homoerotic, yes. The template for Jerry Bruckheimer's entire future career, certainly. But it's also a masterclass in how to pace a piece of fiction. You really can't go for more than a minute in Top Gun without something happening - something personal, something philosophical, something to do with aeropl - sorry, airplanes: it doesn't matter, something happens every minute. That's how you keep people interested, that's how you make them remember an (let's face it, fairly run-of-the-mill) action movie with great fondness a quarter of a century after it was made.

I try to do the same in novels, and always have, perhaps because of a childhood spent watching films like this. I saw Tron: Legacy the other day and really enjoyed it: it adheres to the plot, manner and (hurrah for Daft Punk) music of the original very well... but where it doesn't quite keep pace is with the, er, pace. The plot stops dead sometimes (the scene in Flynn's refuge; the one in the bar with Michael Sheen struggling to extract any dynamism from his role, poor sod; the meandering on the Solar Sailer) but goodwill keeps you involved, assuming you remember the first one.

I am uncertain why this is. Eighties films are frequently disparaged for their simplicity of morals, their black-and-whiteness... modern films revel in their 'grittiness', but feel the need to explain it at great length, assigning specific events with meaning instead of simply accepting things as they are - Darth Vader (yes, I know, I've said this before) is an evil bastard, this doesn't need

XXXXXX

explaining - which, I think, dilutes their message. The Breakfast Club only works because Mr Vernon is a total bastard: if he has issues that explain his being such, everything falls apart in a morass of vagueness.

If you're wondering what the XXXXXX bit is there for, it is meant to represent the unexpected Watford-wide power cut that took place while I was writing this. I know, I know, I didn't think this kind of thing happened in real life either. I mean, this isn't LA or anything.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, the vague Eighties. I think we have a tendency to overthink here in the 21st century, to assume that everybody's viewpoint is justifiable and understandable from a certain point of view. As anyone who watched Return Of The Jedi knows, this is bollocks: a thing either is or is not, in movies and in life, at least to the extent that we as finite human beings can understand it.

It's important to understand the viewpoints of others, it really is. But in real life, the reason it is important is so we can dismiss it when the facts demand that we do. So we can say to ourselves "well, I've considered your arguments fairly, and decided that both rationally and instinctively you're full of shit".

Consideration does not necessarily demand acceptance. Tolerance does not necessarily demand capitulation. I've seen The Human Centipede, and frankly I don't need to understand the motivation to know it's dumb.

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