Monday, December 16, 2013

Storyteller's Rulebook #202: The Internal Conflict Must Climax at the Same Time As (or After) the External Conflict

A short one today before the big climax tomorrow...
All-Too-Common Flaw #11! 

Pacific Rim feels like it’s over 90 minutes in, (which would have been a much better length, as Gravity showed us). Our heroes have successfully overcome their personal problems, learned to work together, killed every monster on Earth and received a hero’s welcome. But, as it turns out, there’s still 40 minutes left! To fill up the rest of the time, they have to generate up a new personal storyline, involving their boss’s illness, but it’s too little too late.

If they were going to stick with the mind-melding idea, then they would have needed to create a finale in which our heroes can’t finish the final monster off until they resolve the problem that’s been keeping them back the whole time. Then one of two things happen: either we see them solve it moments before they use the resulting power to kill the monster, or we see them kill the monster, then let them have a conversation later about how they were able to pull it off, and only then realize what they’ve achieved.
The point is that the flaw should be resolved either simultaneously with or after the external challenge is resolved, because as soon as the internal challenge end, the rest “all runs downhill.” An external challenge gives your movie visceral thrills, but the internal challenge gives it emotional power. If the thrills continue long after the emotion is gone, then it will feel empty and ultimately boring.

Which finally brings us to my biggest problem…

1 comment:

Emily said...

Thor: The Dark World was in every respect a pretty bad movie, but this was the thing that really annoyed me! The stuff between Thor and Loki gets resolved (or so it seems), and you still have another 30 minutes of bad science, boring secondary-character romance, and things blowing up.