Monday, January 27, 2014

Some thoughts on Endings and the Rescuers movies

The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under are both fun movies, but Down Under is a little more re-watchable.  I think this is partly because the mood is more up-beat.  Lots of bright sunshine as opposed to the swamps of The Rescuers, but the biggest thing, I think, is the endings.  

The Rescuers ending is (in my opinion) flawed.  We have this incredibly tense scene in the underground treasure trove with skeletons for atmosphere, a ticking clock provided by the rising water, and the villains showing exactly how evil they can get.  It feels like the climax -but it isn't.  The story moves into the actual end involving fireworks and fuzzy animals running every which way.  The general high-jinx feels anti-climatic.

The Rescuers Down Under is smart enough to keep the ending streamline.  Once Marahute is captured, everything narrows down to keeping Cody from getting killed now that he's no longer useful to the villain.  There is no lengthy scene after the climax at the waterfall.  In fact, the comic relief (Wilber) is stuck on baby-sitting duty and out for the count. 

Endings are, in my opinion, the toughest things to write.  Everything is supposed to come together, but often there's a few bits poking out higgly-piggly, that just don't want to be braided in.  And then there are all those minor characters, and what happened to them?  Sometimes you need an aftermath.  `Watership Down,' for example, wouldn't be nearly as awesome to read if it didn't go on to explain how the events of the story shaped the future.  But Richard Adams didn't kill his tension with it.  His climax is still the most suspenseful part of the book -and that's what the climax should be. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  Welcome to 2014.  It's a good day to pause and reflect over the past year (or groan and try to get over the `I stayed up way too late last night' headache).  So I thought I'd post a passage from Matthew I came across recently, since it got me reflecting.

Matthew 25:31-46

New International Version (NIV)

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

  I was just struck by how incredibly similar the two situations are.  I can think of a time or two when I walked right by someone outside the mall holding a Will Work for Food sign.  And I can think of a time or two when I stopped and helped someone even when I didn't feel like going out of my way.  

I suspect that both the condemnation and the praise could be said to just about any of us and be perfectly true.  The only difference is that those who accept Jesus forgiveness, well He forgives everything, even the sins of omission.  That's why the times you did the right thing stand out.  They're just there over the white background of forgiveness, instead of lost in the black and red, like a picture too messy with paint and scribbles to see clearly.