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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Plots that Go Askew

    This seems to happen to me a lot. I'll sit down to watch a movie or TV show or read a book. Quite often something I've heard good things about. The story will star off OK and move along with a basic plot. And then suddenly, the plot goes askew and you sit back and have to wonder ''what the heck is going on?''. What was once a nice story with a plot, just suddenly goes the wrong way. Often it's quite simple, the characters just pick 'route B', but some times it's just down right crazy. And you can't help but think, if they would have just stuck to the basic plot the story would be much better.

    Total Recall is a good example. You have the basic plot: Joe Nobody finds out he was a Secret Agent(based on a classic sci-fi story). The move quickly turns into an all out action flick with tons of bullets and explosions and fire...and that's all fine. But then the 'big secret' is giving Mars air? And your like: What? It ruins the whole 'action movie' with that lame sci-fi crap. Why not just have the bad guy be a 'normal' evil Mr. Burns type?

    So any other people out there know this feeling?

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamer Girl View Post
    But then the 'big secret' is giving Mars air? And your like: What?
    True, though I suppose there's a wee bit of justification if you interpret the film's ending as that he dreamed the whole thing up as part of the Recall package he bought. The movie certainly leaves you to decide for yourself.

    One movie with a plot that totally went askew for me: X-Files Fight the Future.
    It starts as the oddest way to kill a caveman and then picks up with some kind of conspiracy to cover up something, which then hints at the "illuminati" type group, then Running From Bees! and I forgot how it makes the jump to the UFO in Antartica. I've seen the movie twice and still head-scratch at places.

    But I guess part of it is I hated the entirety of the Alien Colonist arc for the show.
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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    For me, this happens most often with anime (and/or other indie/non-mainstream-western animation). You'll have a perfectly good beginning and middle, and then... not much of an end.
    The examples of this that most readily come to my mind are:
    Porco Rosso. There's just no resolution to a bunch of the problems in it (iirc).
    Howl's Moving Castle. I felt, at the time, that this could be explained by the fact that it's based on a book, so a lot of the stuff that happened at the end that seemed so far out of left field may be explained by bits that were left out of the book or something. But still.
    A movie I can't remember the name of, western, with a very important book and some sort of wolf and it's sort of Celtic or something. Really beautiful animation, but... that ending. Just went... Plthbt.

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Howl's Moving Castle. I felt, at the time, that this could be explained by the fact that it's based on a book, so a lot of the stuff that happened at the end that seemed so far out of left field may be explained by bits that were left out of the book or something. But still.
    By the "at the time" addition, I assume you read the book and realized that no, the anime just made everything weird because why not
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    For me, this happens most often with anime (and/or other indie/non-mainstream-western animation). You'll have a perfectly good beginning and middle, and then... not much of an end.
    The examples of this that most readily come to my mind are:
    Porco Rosso. There's just no resolution to a bunch of the problems in it (iirc).
    Howl's Moving Castle. I felt, at the time, that this could be explained by the fact that it's based on a book, so a lot of the stuff that happened at the end that seemed so far out of left field may be explained by bits that were left out of the book or something. But still.
    A movie I can't remember the name of, western, with a very important book and some sort of wolf and it's sort of Celtic or something. Really beautiful animation, but... that ending. Just went... Plthbt.
    What problems did Porco have? It resolved everything.
    The book is very different from the film of Howl. There's no war for one thing and the black door goes here not to the future. So left field stuff is pure Miyasaki.
    Secret of Kells is the Irish film you're looking for. I think the ending is very mature. The kid grows up and writes the book, the mentor dies peacefully and the abbot learns the error of his ways.

    In terms of askew plots, Heroes. And movie adaption of golden compass.
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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Sluggy Freelance. While I really enjoyed the comic to begin with (and the latest Safehouse arc) the main plot makes my brain squeak. Hereti-corp, trnasdimensional evil dopplegangers, Crusheto...?

    I have no idea what's going on in the main story line.

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Quote Originally Posted by shadow_archmagi View Post
    By the "at the time" addition, I assume you read the book and realized that no, the anime just made everything weird because why not
    Nup, I've just bought the book but haven't read it yet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    What problems did Porco have? It resolved everything.
    Well, it's been a while so I can't remember exactly, but the biggest one is probably that he's still a pig. Maybe that's not a bad thing, but it's a long way from the sort of story I'm used to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    Secret of Kells is the Irish film you're looking for. I think the ending is very mature. The kid grows up and writes the book, the mentor dies peacefully and the abbot learns the error of his ways
    Okay, again, it's been a long time so maybe I missed something, but from my memory of it, it's
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    everyone dies, the abbey is burnt down, and the boy never sees the girl again (or only many years later). The "resolution" is that the book survives, and the kid grows up, and that's about it.

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    For me, Lost. Started out as a basic castaway story: okay, sounds fun. Then the island is populated by supernatural stuff: okay, that works too. Then there are weird conspiracies, and hidden messages, and codes, and inexplicable stuff, and inhabitants of the island, and people are betraying each other and then they're not actually on the island except they are and . . . what?

    I spent the first half of Season 1 trying to figure out the plot. Somewhere around the second half of Season 1 I realised that the writers didn't have a plot. They were just throwing more and more confusing stuff in there with no plan for making it all make sense. So I quit watching.

    On a similar theme, the new Battlestar Galactica. It's such an awesome premise: the battlestar with its fleet of civilian ships containing the remnants of the human race, fleeing the Cylons who are trying to wipe them out. All they had to do was play it straight and it would have been an awesome series. But instead we get told over and over again that the Cylons Have A Plan, and this gets used to justify all kinds of inconsistent behaviour until no-one has the faintest idea what these guys are actually doing anymore. Just like Lost, it never gets explained in any way that makes sense.
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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    That was a very sensible decision Saph. I watched Lost all the way to the dreadful ending. My eyes then climbed out of their sockets and slapped me for having wasted their time.
    Last edited by The Succubus; 2012-03-19 at 09:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Nup, I've just bought the book but haven't read it yet.Well, it's been a while so I can't remember exactly, but the biggest one is probably that he's still a pig. Maybe that's not a bad thing, but it's a long way from the sort of story I'm used to.
    Okay, again, it's been a long time so maybe I missed something, but from my memory of it, it's
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    everyone dies, the abbey is burnt down, and the boy never sees the girl again (or only many years later). The "resolution" is that the book survives, and the kid grows up, and that's about it.
    He's not a pig. You never see his face after he beats Carlos, who exclaims "your face!"

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    The stone tower is not burnt down and a few people did survive, including the really tall Abbot. The boy and the girl were not even the same species (boy +fey) and they accepted that (plus she saved his life). The book does not "survive", it gets made. Plus the kid goes back to the abbot, who apologises.
    But you ain't seen it for ages so fine.

    Other disappointing endings! Avatar and The Incredibles.
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    It's nice to see someone saying it isn't for once, the forum IQ did just go up. Please have a cookie Sunken Valley.
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    I thought Sunken Valley eloquently covered the points I wanted to make.
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    Yes, exactly.

  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    probably that he's still a pig. Maybe that's not a bad thing, but it's a long way from the sort of story I'm used to.
    Except that yeah, being a pig is never a problem in the story, and for the character himself. He's content on being a pig, that might even be his choice, and everyone simply has accepted that he's a pig, so really, it's never a problem from the beginning to the end. Unlike these other two examples.

    Do you find shrek's ending where the princess stays as an ogre instead of being a beautiful woman problematic as well? That kinda surprises my mother anyway, eventhough I'm sure that she find it as a good ending.

    Another story that end this way is Brother Bear. After spending the whole movie trying to turn himself back into human, at the end, the character stays a bear, though I forgot whether it's his choice or because there isn't actually a way to turn himself back into human. That kinda surprised us as well, but we decides that in the character's culture, I guess being a totem animal isn't a bad fate.

    Mind that I don't find the plot of those two examples problematic! They're just examples about people who aren't transformed back into human.
    Last edited by Fri; 2012-03-19 at 10:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    I think we can ascribe this to a couple of factors:

    1) Disconnect between the audience and the writer as to where things were going. Namely you as the audience expect certain things and begin to write the story yourself in advance then feel inherently disappointed when you brilliant idea is not taken up.

    2) The writer changed their mind in the process of writing. This is both positive and negative. Sometimes an idea in the writer's head (or bullet point idea) doesn't work out on paper, or they think of something "better" later on. Or alternately writer's block, they legitly didn't know where they were going and ended struggling to put anything out.

    3) External factors. An outside force interferes with the story, maybe executives demand action and/or romance in the story, or the director of the film doesn't agree with the script, or the script is a collective work that passed through multiple parties in the first place

    Quote Originally Posted by Serpentine View Post
    Well, it's been a while so I can't remember exactly, but the biggest one is probably that he's still a pig. Maybe that's not a bad thing, but it's a long way from the sort of story I'm used to.
    Interestingly Miyazaki wants to do a sequel to that one. I'd also point out that Porco's curse is not really the point of the movie and more of an underlying theme.

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    For me it's film series. We have decent first movies like X-Men and Spider-man, but the sequels are so crappily done that by the time the third one limps out of the box office they see fit to reboot the whole thing. It just kind of grinds my gears and I'm not entirely sure why.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    For me, Lost. Started out as a basic castaway story: okay, sounds fun. Then the island is populated by supernatural stuff: okay, that works too. Then there are weird conspiracies, and hidden messages, and codes, and inexplicable stuff, and inhabitants of the island, and people are betraying each other and then they're not actually on the island except they are and . . . what?

    I spent the first half of Season 1 trying to figure out the plot. Somewhere around the second half of Season 1 I realised that the writers didn't have a plot. They were just throwing more and more confusing stuff in there with no plan for making it all make sense. So I quit watching.

    On a similar theme, the new Battlestar Galactica. It's such an awesome premise: the battlestar with its fleet of civilian ships containing the remnants of the human race, fleeing the Cylons who are trying to wipe them out. All they had to do was play it straight and it would have been an awesome series. But instead we get told over and over again that the Cylons Have A Plan, and this gets used to justify all kinds of inconsistent behaviour until no-one has the faintest idea what these guys are actually doing anymore. Just like Lost, it never gets explained in any way that makes sense.
    I have come to the conclusion, Saph, that you are, in fact, me, but from some mirror universe where I live in London and have managed to get a publishing deal. (I had the exact same reactions to both Lost and BSG, in precisely the way you describe.)
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    The third book of the golden compass series. The ending is so messed up it ruined the entire series for me.

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Quote Originally Posted by Muz View Post
    I have come to the conclusion, Saph, that you are, in fact, me, but from some mirror universe where I live in London and have managed to get a publishing deal. (I had the exact same reactions to both Lost and BSG, in precisely the way you describe.)
    Some of my friends actually watched all the way through both of them. I asked them a while later if they ever found out exactly what was going on. They said "no".
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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Bleach ...... . So much potential.


    Not me personaly but when my mum first watched From Dusk Till Dawn she thought it was a kidnapping movie for the first half because she didn't know anything about it before hand. Then all of a sudden the vampires showed up and she wondered if she was watching the same movie. She loved it but still found it wierd.


    And Fable. The first game was amazing and had a brilliant plot and my favourite villain ever. The second one starts out good but the ending ............ . Not good at all. You unite the 3 heroes then find out it was all pointless. Then when you come back from the dead and find the boss he dies in one hit then you get kicked out the plot. Cheers for getting rid of Lucian and getting me this tower, now bugger off. Your kid will need me in Fable 3 but I'm done with you.
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    Terminator 3. Starts as a parody, rather funny. Ends... well, let me put it like this. Imagine the Joker from Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker in his first dying scene, when he mutters "This isn't funny... this isn't funny".
    Well, like that, only not as cool.
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    For me the biggest offender here is Heinlein's Cat Who Walks Through Walls. The first 3/4ths are quasi-hard sci-fi on an orbital habitat/the moon with the main character running from/fighting an unknown conspiracy. It's excellent sci fi. Then it turns into an incestuous space orgy. With time travel.
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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Quote Originally Posted by Weezer View Post
    For me the biggest offender here is Heinlein's Cat Who Walks Through Walls. The first 3/4ths are quasi-hard sci-fi on an orbital habitat/the moon with the main character running from/fighting an unknown conspiracy. It's excellent sci fi. Then it turns into an incestuous space orgy. With time travel.
    Doesn't that describe Heinlein's entire career?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Weezer View Post
    For me the biggest offender here is Heinlein's Cat Who Walks Through Walls. The first 3/4ths are quasi-hard sci-fi on an orbital habitat/the moon with the main character running from/fighting an unknown conspiracy. It's excellent sci fi. Then it turns into an incestuous space orgy. With time travel.
    So, just skip to the end for the good stuff then?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soras Teva Gee View Post
    Doesn't that describe Heinlein's entire career?
    Only the last bit of it, which I guess qualifies it for a career that went askew in this context, I suppose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamer Girl View Post
    This seems to happen to me a lot. I'll sit down to watch a movie or TV show or read a book. Quite often something I've heard good things about. The story will star off OK and move along with a basic plot. And then suddenly, the plot goes askew and you sit back and have to wonder ''what the heck is going on?''. What was once a nice story with a plot, just suddenly goes the wrong way. Often it's quite simple, the characters just pick 'route B', but some times it's just down right crazy. And you can't help but think, if they would have just stuck to the basic plot the story would be much better.
    While I don't necessarily agree with the Total Recall example, I do think that you've hit on a couple of trends that are really disappointing:

    "The Rugpuller" - There's probably something on tvtropes all about this, but for me it seemed to really blossom into a problem in the first couple of years following The Sixth Sense. Everybody (maybe every producer/production company, not every writer/director) felt the need to cram rugpulling reveals into every project just so the story might go from omg! to ZOMG!?!. Of course, that only works when (a) it is well-written and developed as part of the actual story devised by the writer/s; and (b) when the entire audience doesn't spend the first 75% of the story looking for the rugpuller.

    "The X-Files Redux" - Every TV series should have a complex, multi-phasic overarching plot, rife with conspiracy, unknowable truths, and crazy plot turns, that takes X seasons to resolve, where X is unknown to everyone involved, thus can not possibly be written in a fashion that will have internal consistency or be comprehensible to anyone - even if they have the writers notes and a plot chart. Why is X unknown? Because that's how long the series will air on television, of course...

    So instead of writting a good story, everyone's trying to land the next big thing, the next must-see-TV, the next "We're so clever we should get awards" script. That, and the power of the focus group with input, or the production meeting with network execs like those from Simpson's episode who suggest that "Upping the cool quotient by 17%" will make the main character a winner.

    Yup, sometimes the basic plot, well written and acted, wins.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mordar View Post
    Yup, sometimes the basic plot, well written and acted, wins.
    Unless it's on FOX.

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    I think the stories written just because someone wanted someone else to like it generally turn out the best. For the most part.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muz View Post
    Unless it's on FOX television.

    I normally hate the "quote something and edit it" thing, but I had to do this one.
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    Is it bad to mention Buffy? Because man, going from season 3 to 4 was… well… Unpleasant to say the least.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xondoure View Post
    Is it bad to mention Buffy? Because man, going from season 3 to 4 was… well… Unpleasant to say the least.
    I didn't think going from season 3 to 4 was that bad, some changes needed to be made and so the show changed. From season 5 to 6 was when it really went off, with an extremely anti-climactic big bad and an overal plot that was far too anvilicious.

    One thing that i think most people can agree with, but Evangelion went wholly off the rails with both the series, End of Evangelion, and the most recent rebuild movie, though at least 2.0 did have an ending which made sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquillion View Post
    If you're ever in a situation where you can't survive, go for the broke and fill all of creation with chickens. Just imagine the reaction of people halfway around the world when every square inch of space in their world is suddenly and completely full of chickens.
    Homebrew
    1st in Iron Chef XXXIV with a Warforged bard

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Quote Originally Posted by Sunken Valley View Post
    Other disappointing endings! Avatar and The Incredibles.
    How was the ending to The Incredibles disappointing?

    Did you expect a big fight scene against Syndrome? He was just a nerdy kid, not a super. The whole point of the ending was that the family overcame their problems and learned to work together.

    Or wait, are you referring to the whole mole men fake sequel-bait cliffhanger ending? If I can get over the one from Super Mario Bros., then I can get over that.
    "Nothing you can't spell will ever work." - Will Rogers

    "What you must learn is that these rules are no different than the rules of a computer system. Some of them can be bent. Others can be broken." - Morpheus, The Matrix

    Quote Originally Posted by Krellen View Post
    Remember, Evil isn't "selfish". It's Evil. "Look out for number one" is a Neutral attitude. Evil looks out for number one while crushing number two.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    DigoDragon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Plots that Go Askew

    Quote Originally Posted by Soras Teva Gee View Post
    I think we can ascribe this to a couple of factors:
    "Three sir."
    Though to prod upon #2, and agree with Mordar, I think the idea of authors changing their idea partway through the story for a "Rug Puller" is some kind of modern fad going around where an author has this idea come up to try their hand at making some kind of twist ending because "everyone is doing it".
    Maybe that's why a lot of stories work well from beginning through the middle, but flop on us at the end.

    For example, I think if LOST played it straight and kept the story as a conspiracy plot about crash-landing on an island inhabited by people who are spying on the world and doing odd experiments like in the early seasons it could probably turn out alright. But that's my opinion. A friend of mine thought it ended fine and I could only shrug about it.
    I personally hoped the island would blow up.
    Digo Dragon - Artist

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    "For your astounding work in the field of punnery, you have been awarded one (1) internet." -Lix Lorn
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