- It feels like a cheat to place the motivation and emotional investment outside the bounds of the present story. It highlights the fact that the writer has failed to generate enough reason to care or act based on what the hero sees or experiences in the current storyline. We want to be on the hero’s shoulder and go on an emotional journey together. We want to share the motivation and emotional investment as it arrives. We want to feel it at the same time. We don’t want to be told, “Oh, sorry, you missed all that, but we’ll give you glimpses of it.”
- It doesn’t really feel emotionally true for a hero to carry feelings about one group of good guys and bad guys over to another group of good guys and bad guys. Have you ever said, “I’m helping you because you remind me of someone”? No, that only happens in movies.
- In movies such as John Carter, the whole “trauma from the past” element comes in late, as a way to prop up the story once the original motivation turns out to be too thin. In this movie, we get the flashbacks right away at the beginning: It’s his initial motivation, not supplemental.
- It takes advantage of the dystopian setting and writer/director George Miller’s ability to create surreal, iconic mythology. He convinces us that life has entered an elemental state in which “victim” and “victimizer” are both spelled with a capital-v. Max need not save his own family or confront their killers, because all good and all evil have become universal monolithic entities: Saving anybody saves his family, and fighting any evil become fighting all evil.
Next time: More girl power!