Monday, August 13, 2012

The Importance of a Solid Conclusion

Warning, there are spoilers in this blog.  I'm discussing The Bourne Legacy.  So if you don't want the movie ruined, turn away... NOW!

My wife and I went to The Bourne Legacy on Saturday, and I was excited to see it.  I loved the first three movies, and I enjoyed the simple, formulaic plot.  It's a simple formula: Bourne discovers there are people after him for one reason or another, he finds out why, takes the battle to their home-turf, and then wins.  (NOTE: I HATE it when people say "This movie sucked because it didn't do what other movies do" when those movies are based off of books and follow the books very closely.  The Hunger Games got a lot of complaints because idiots who never read the books thought it was a stupid movie.  With that said, I never read the Bourne books.  I don't know how accurate the movies are in comparison to those movies, but I loved the movies based on Ludlum's work.  This criticism is EXCLUSIVELY about the plot of the films, and it's relevant in light of any books that new authors might be writing.)

The Bourne Legacy COMPLETELY turned away from that formula.  I know Ludlum didn't write the book this movie is based on, but a formula existed, and it worked!  The tension was great, acting was entertaining, Aaron Cross (the protagonist) wasn't a copy of Bourne, in fact he was a VERY different character, and quite engaging in my opinion.  But after Cross learned people were trying to kill him, he came up with a solution to survive, to get away from the bad guy, and then he disappeared.  He didn't confront the bad guy, he didn't really FIGHT the bad guy.  He ran away, throwing punches at people who got in his way, but never CONFRONTING THEM!

The movie was incomplete.  The final confrontation is crucial to a solid conclusion.  Without that conclusion, the audience feels (justifiably) cheated.  I was invested in the character, his struggle, and I was looking forward to a final fight between Cross and the bad guy.  I was even expecting to sit in the theater for another hour to get it.  But then the movie ended.  And I had no resolution.

Remember that when you sit down to plot out your book.  Your conclusion MUST tie up the loose ends.  At least enough of them to make the reader willing to come back for more.  If you leave ALL of the loose ends open and floating, the audience will abandon you very quickly.

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