Saturday, December 1, 2012
A little while ago I watched a scyfy movie called Alice. The story is a modern girl falling into a dystopian version of Wonderland. Under all the trappings, the plot is a basic love triangle. There's Jack, Alice's real-world boyfriend who has more connections to Wonderland than first appears, and Hatter, a sort of con-man who acts as Alice's self-appointed guide/protector after she falls into Wonderland. Normally I'm not a big fan of love triangles, but this one really worked for me. Both guys care about Alice, and both show their affection in different ways. With Jack, it's all gifts. A couple minutes into the movie, he's bringing her roses. Later, when he wants her to go with him right now, he tries to give her the mcguffin ring, and later he tries to prove he can be trusted by slipping her her missing father's watch. His attempts at reaching Alice are all solid objects. Hatter gives Alice exactly one gift; a coat when she's dripping wet. Everything else is about actions. He talks her across the ledge when she's afraid of heights. He gets between her and a gun, and fights off a Jabberwock for her. He rescues her from the villains once and tries to do it a second time which doesn't exactly work out, but hey, it's the thought that counts.
There's this book called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. His theory is that everyone has a love-language, a way of being shown affection that especially speaks to them. I was thinking about that in relation to characters. Sometimes you'll read a book or watch a sitcom and the guy is there changing the girl's tires in the rain and twisting himself into a pretzel to get her tickets to her favorite concert. It's obvious he's crazy about her, and what does she say? `I just don't know if he likes me. He's never said the words.' Am I the only one who wants to smack that characters with a get-a-clue stick? Then you have the characters who are told the words -repeatedly and with sky-writing- and they say `talk is cheap.' It's not that the character isn't listening, it's just that the guy isn't speaking her language.
Of course, as soon as the characters get in sync, you get all sorts of lovely scenes that are unique to them because it'll pull on everything that has happened before in the story, all the mistakes and mishaps, only this time they can laugh and get it right.