The Big Picture: Destined for Disappointment, Part 1

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

Destined for Disappointment, Part 1

MovieBob looks at the overuse of "Destiny" as a plot point in recent superhero movies.

Watch Video

The Star Wars prequels? Hmm, I guess Anakin's fall into the Dark Side was part of some destiny, especially since all of the other characters predicted it and actively tried to stop it, leading to Anakin only being pushed further into it because the only comforting voice to him was that of one of the last notable figureheads of the Dark Side.

But good episode, it didn't even seem like an excuse to bash The Amazing Spiderman again.

Now that is one hell of a stinger. I think I see where its going since almost nothing is connected to Vader from my he get go.

Interesting take, Bob.

Makes me wonder where you'll go with this Big Picture series.

lets hope that does not happen to our BatVSSup movie.... or is it too late for that too?

Yea I'm really tired of Hollywood lazy. This destiny bit nicely nails how fictional universes are getting smaller and less interesting by the concept. It even seems to creep into cartoons.

So since we are ripping Hollywood a new one can we have an episode about how lazy and uncreative writers are for just kill enough bad guys, robots, or aliens to call it an ending?

You do seem to be making an assumption that the turtles were created as part of SOMEGUY'S (or as I call him, the GOD of character actors William Fichtner) plan to create heroes. Okay, but the trailer does not say this, only that he created the ooze. It does not say that the ooze coming into contact with the turtles was his intention. But I may simply be giving the movie the benefit of the doubt because the Michelangelo mask scene made me smile.

I can't wait to see how you justify the Star Wars prequels as a good use of destiny as a plot device. If anything it skews in the completely wrong direction. Instead of condensing a story/motivation like destiny typically does (so a film can jump right into the action without focusing so heavily on the "why"), they padded that inevitability out into three relatively pointless movies.

I completely despised your review of "Into Darkness" because of how much it came across as fanboy butt-hurting, but I will grant you that they did play up the destiny thing (especially because I've recently been gorging on episodes of the original series and can more readily see the differences).

Also, like so many others, I'm surprised your example of almost doing it right is the Star Wars prequels. But that's only because I'm used to everyone but me having nothing but bile for them. In terms of overall plot, I do feel that Lucas did it right. The dialogue and the progression of the romance could've been a lot better, but still. I'll be interested to see what points you raise.

"Thirsty for the rest." It doesn't make sense otherwise if it's not from the one explaining it. Hope to see it soon. BTW, Bob: when will you make that 2nd part of MARVEL MESS you promised but got sidetracked by Bioshock Infinite? Cliff-hangers...

Nice Bob, but here is my question:

Why can you argue the matrix did not rely on prophecy and fate, but statistical proability, when the oracle set neo on his path by her choice of actions, but at the same time say this is not the case when future spock, a vulcan and being capable of supreme foresight and logical calculations sends kirk and his younger self on their path? He is basically the humanoid equivalent of a supercomputer.

Man of Steel has got to be the worst recent offender. It wasn't enough for Kal-El to be sent to Earth as a baby to be an idol for humanity, the last (or one of the last) survivor(s) of a dead planet with incredible powers beyond those of mortal men... but he's also the DNA Jesus of Krypton, too.

Was there really anyone in that writer's room that genuinely worried that Superman wasn't special enough already?

Ashley Blalock:
So since we are ripping Hollywood a new one can we have an episode about how lazy and uncreative writers are for just kill enough bad guys, robots, or aliens to call it an ending?

Hollywood's had that one ripped for a while. Ever watched Mystery Science Theater 3000? Schlock has always existed and always will.

Not to be 'That Guy' but:

'Buddhist karmic destiny'

Karma in the Buddhist sense has no relevance on your destiny, at least not in the sense that
'You did good in a previous life so this next one is gonna rock.'

Karma is the notion that wholesome actions create a wholesome state of mind, unwholesome actions create an unwholesome state of mind. There can be no destiny in Buddhism since everything is impermanent, a person's future can't be mapped out.

Rakschas:
Nice Bob, but here is my question:

Why can you argue the matrix did not rely on prophecy and fate, but statistical proability, when the oracle set neo on his path by her choice of actions, but at the same time say this is not the case when future spock, a vulcan and being capable of supreme foresight and logical calculations sends kirk and his younger self on their path? He is basically the humanoid equivalent of a supercomputer.

I think the main thing about the Matrix NOT being an example of destiny done right is that the plot isn't very interesting or innovative. Admit it: We didn't go to see the Matrix for the plot. We went to see it because it had more ammo than the Battle of Normandy. And from what I understand, people didn't go see the Spiderman reboot for plot either. They went to see it because Spiderman.

And now there will a Turtles movie. Directed by Michael Bay. Who in their right mind is planning to see THAT movie for the plot?

I think this can be summarized into two major points:

Bad use of destiny: Whereby certain events happen because they need to happen and not because they would happen (Star Trek, Amazing Spiderman[1]).

Good use of destiny: Whereby the character's arc tries to grapple with destiny in an attempt to defy or change it (Oedipus Rex, Star Wars I-III).

[1] Not willing to put TMNT on this until after the movie premieres and we can determine if this point is valid

I'm actually not sad about what he said about Harry Potter, because it's actually kind of true... not to mention, he actually apologized for it, unlike other Internet personalities who basically say the same thing without remorse (the Nostalgia Critic and Nostalgia Chick come to mine). Nice cliffhanger at the end, though now everyone assumes he's either joking because it's April Fool's Day or already upset that he's going to say something positive about the Star Wars prequels, despite Bob saying that they ALMOST got it right. ALMOST, not 100%.

Is it because in the Star Wars prequels Anakin was the "chosen one" and that he was going to "bring balance to the Force", but no one ever bother to elaborate what that means, and because it was the good guys who kept repeating it, everyone assumed it meant something good, but, in an universe in which the Sith numbered less than 5 and the Jedi in the thousands, "bringing balance to the Force" could have meant taking the Jedi down a peg or two?

On destiny, I must bring up a quote from Valkyrie Profile's Lezard Valeth...

Destiny? Ha! I prefer to forge my own path in life, and call it destiny once the cards have settled.

My wife and I saw Divergent (Ugh...) a week or two ago, and I thought it had the most pointless shoe-horning in of Destiny there ever was. The main character is Divergent, which means she's not shoe-horned in to one of the five groups (Even though any one can choose which group they go into) so they want to kill her. This Destiny bit has almost nothing to do with the rest of the movie. It makes her really good at the dream stuff, but they could have just said she was really good (Or she could lucid dream, something many people can do).

It just made me weary, and it was only 15 minutes into the movie. "We can't give you a good reason you should care about this character, so she's just the chosen one."

Whatever their other faults of the new Star Trek movies might be the cramming destiny into the plot isn't one of them, it isn't about prophecy or what will be and is more along the lines of what "should have been". Before Nero broke the timeline Kirk went through his life and career and the crew of the Enterprise all came together organically, Kirk only became Captain after Captain Pike was crippled.

But Neros actions shattered the timeline and changed the course of events, from old Spocks perspective he saw how the past was and now sees young Spocks future developing differently but with some correlation to past events. He isn't a supernatural wizard or prophet, he just sees how things should have been.

Anyway it could make a great plot for a future film if they can sort the writing out, have old Spock give Kirk and young Spock a bunch of advice about something trying to help them but because of the differences in the time line it was the absolute worst thing they could have done.

I thought it was going to be Cloud Atlas, which is one of the few examples I know that have done destiny well.

Then again, he said series...

Still,CA is a really good example.

Rakschas:
Why can you argue the matrix did not rely on prophecy and fate, but statistical proability, when the oracle set neo on his path by her choice of actions, but at the same time say this is not the case when future spock, a vulcan and being capable of supreme foresight and logical calculations sends kirk and his younger self on their path? He is basically the humanoid equivalent of a supercomputer.

I believe the point is that Neo is not "that special". It is said in numerous times in the movies that "the chosen one" is part of the program and it is a controlled anomaly that has happened several times before. In other words, if Keanu Reeves didn't end up being the most special kid in the block, the real chosen one would be revealed down the line. It is not that he is unique and chosen by a higher power to do something no one else can do, but that he was THE one that won the cosmic lottery... There is always going to be a chosen one, it was only a matter of who.

I can see where MovieBob is going with the SW prequels and their destiny thing. I always enjoyed that the jedi knew from the beginning that Anakin was "the chosen one" to bring balance to the force and it was a mayor theme of the series, but they misread the message. Instead of bringing balance by making peace between the two sides of the force, he brought balance by destroying the hegemony the light side had on the universe, pummeling the jedis to the point they have their numbers reduced to match the number of siths.

templar1138a:
I completely despised your review of "Into Darkness" because of how much it came across as fanboy butt-hurting, but I will grant you that they did play up the destiny thing (especially because I've recently been gorging on episodes of the original series and can more readily see the differences).

Also, like so many others, I'm surprised your example of almost doing it right is the Star Wars prequels. But that's only because I'm used to everyone but me having nothing but bile for them. In terms of overall plot, I do feel that Lucas did it right. The dialogue and the progression of the romance could've been a lot better, but still. I'll be interested to see what points you raise.

Well, the fun thing was that, from actually looking some things up, the original scripts for the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy and what were shown in theaters were two completely different things. The reason Lucas changed it is pretty much the same reason why Stargate Universe sucked for the first season. People didn't let the writers write could have been something fantastic, and when it wasn't well received, they were ever so quick to throw the writers under the bus.

Wait you are going to talk about the Star Wars prequels and how they did something right? Why don't you just set yourself on fire it will be quicker than having the fanboys do it.

GalaxianEX:
Is it because in the Star Wars prequels Anakin was the "chosen one" and that he was going to "bring balance to the Force", but no one ever bother to elaborate what that means, and because it was the good guys who kept repeating it, everyone assumed it meant something good, but, in an universe in which the Sith numbered less than 5 and the Jedi in the thousands, "bringing balance to the Force" could have meant taking the Jedi down a peg or two?

That is my read too...

Yeah, I figure it's about time for Kung Fu Hustle rewatch.

OT: I thought Osborn Corp was suppose to be the stand-in for the Stark Corp. Tony's Dad made Captain America's shield and helped creating the super-soldier serum which was based on the same science that created the Hulk. The serum explanation made sense. If some technology turned a human invincible, it makes sense that the military would study and try to apply it. Captain America's shield, on the other-hand, used destiny as a crutch.

Or not. Those events only happened after Captain America wasn't some random guy. The Amazing Spiderman and the Turtles were never random guys to begin with.

hermes200:

GalaxianEX:
Is it because in the Star Wars prequels Anakin was the "chosen one" and that he was going to "bring balance to the Force", but no one ever bother to elaborate what that means, and because it was the good guys who kept repeating it, everyone assumed it meant something good, but, in an universe in which the Sith numbered less than 5 and the Jedi in the thousands, "bringing balance to the Force" could have meant taking the Jedi down a peg or two?

That is my read too...

After looking into some of the lore such as books and comics, becoming a jedi wasn't as white knight as they make themselves out to be the Prequel Trilogy. First of all, after a child is born, and it test positive to being a jedi, then the baby is taken away from the parents and lives the rest of it's life in the jedi training academy because the child is destined to become a jedi and nothing else.

Later on, after the events of ROTJ and Luke sets up another jedi training academy on a planet (I forget which), the kids leave their parents like they're going off to a boarding school (but I forget if it's the child's and/or parent's choice to in the first place).

So, I guess Anakin did bring balance to the force in a way. He got rid of all of the jedi who numbered in the thousands and weren't as pure as they had lead themselves to believed, then he rid the galaxy of the Sith by killing Palpatine and finally dying, and leaving Luke to be the only one left who knows how to use any amount of the force.

I doubt it was intentional, but I can't help but point out that Bob said the Star Wars prequels did something right... on April Fool's Day.

This is only tangentially related, but I wanted to mention that the new TMNT cartoon is way better than it has any right to be. http://www.nick.com/videos/clip/tmnt-209-clip.html

J Tyran:
Whatever their other faults of the new Star Trek movies might be the cramming destiny into the plot isn't one of them, it isn't about prophecy or what will be and is more along the lines of what "should have been". Before Nero broke the timeline Kirk went through his life and career and the crew of the Enterprise all came together organically, Kirk only became Captain after Captain Pike was crippled.

But Neros actions shattered the timeline and changed the course of events, from old Spocks perspective he saw how the past was and now sees young Spocks future developing differently but with some correlation to past events. He isn't a supernatural wizard or prophet, he just sees how things should have been.

Anyway it could make a great plot for a future film if they can sort the writing out, have old Spock give Kirk and young Spock a bunch of advice about something trying to help them but because of the differences in the time line it was the absolute worst thing they could have done.

See, you're thinking of possibilities, but so far all I've seen the movie do is, "Hmmm, we need to develop a sense of camaraderie between to two people who loathe each other? Nah, just make Old Spock tell Nu-Spock that they're supposed to be best friends. Need to develop a sense of dread about a villain new to this ST09 canon? Nah, just make Old Spock tell them how dangerous Khan is." That's literally what he has become - a wizard who creates a predestined path for them. Instead of Spock and Kirk evaluating the nature Khan by themselves, Old Spock basically gives them directions on how they should feel.

That's not very good writing.

The Gentleman:
I think this can be summarized into two major points:

Bad use of destiny: Whereby certain events happen because they need to happen and not because they would happen (Star Trek, Amazing Spiderman[1]).

Good use of destiny: Whereby the character's arc tries to grapple with destiny in an attempt to defy or change it (Oedipus Rex, Star Wars I-III).

Very well put!

Now to add a little in the hopes of further answering Avaholic03's question.

Anakin's destiny as the chosen One was to bring balance to the Force. He was born (of a Virgin) with off the chart Force powers, and starts out as a really open, loving, swell little fella. Except that there is a Secret that only Yoda knows about Little Orphan Annie's Destiny: The Imbalance in the Force is towards Good, and therefore all the Jedi have wrought must Perish in order for Anakin's Destiny to manifest. Now you have not only a Destiny but a Tragic one: The great hero, that everybody believes comes to fulfill THEIR ideals of Good comes with his exact stated purpose: balance. To do this he must be the Hand that Destroys all that he not only Loves, but which made him who he is. The entire time we watch Anakin become the Jedi Qui-gon envisioned, all the while buying into his Vision of Anakin removing all evil from the Force, allowing everybody to achieve personal Balance with It. Then Destiny hit you with the Old bait-and-Switch (although, I thinks it's a marvelous example of the Wizard's First Rule) and BAM! Anakin's goes all Charlie Manson on a bunch of Kids, wife dies, get's thrown in Lava, montage! Darth Vader. Force Balanced, prophesy fulfilled, Yoda face-palms.

[1] Not willing to put TMNT on this until after the movie premieres and we can determine if this point is valid

The Gentleman:
I think this can be summarized into two major points:

Bad use of destiny: Whereby certain events happen because they need to happen and not because they would happen (Star Trek, Amazing Spiderman[1]).

Good use of destiny: Whereby the character's arc tries to grapple with destiny in an attempt to defy or change it (Oedipus Rex, Star Wars I-III).

Very well put!

[edit] lag induced double post, sorry.

[1] Not willing to put TMNT on this until after the movie premieres and we can determine if this point is valid

Couldn't help but think of this through the entire episode. I figure that not only will April's father be Master Splinter, but Casey Jones will be some long lost brother. That, or they'll remake him into some teen girl's pretty boy fantasy instead of the macho man he is.

ZZoMBiE13:
I doubt it was intentional, but I can't help but point out that Bob said the Star Wars prequels did something right... on April Fool's Day.

I think I may have just lost April Fools Day.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here