Saturday, March 10, 2007
Dorothy pours the water on the witch by accident, who screeches. "Oh, no!!! Stupid child!! What have you done. I'm melting!!! I'm melting!!!"
Darth Vader, trying to redeem himself, turns on the Emperor to save his son. Lightning crackles, tearing through him, piercing his defenses. He lifts his master and pitches him into the void. Having dones this, he sinks to face death, knowing that while his past deeds may be unforgivable, he has at least done one thing worthy
Dr. No, having almost successfully initiated a nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union, screams in rage as he faces James Bond. They clash. No, who isn't used to defeat, finds himself overpowered and shoved into a pool of boiling water. Ouch.
And these are just the D's
A matinee where the good guy and the bad guy clash in epic battle is never so satisfying as the moment when the villain buys it. But it's not enough to just cash in the chips. That villain needs to exit in a grand style, with a departure that befits his or her various crimes. Think about the endings of Dr. Octopus, the crazy Gary Busey character from the original "Lethal Weapons", the death of the giant in "The Amazing Colossal Man". Now that makes for some good popcorn eating.
Of course, the above death of Darth Vader, now that we have seen the first three films, in no way makes up for his earlier crimes (slaughtering the children at the Jedi Academy), but we didn't know any of that when watching "Return of the Jedi".
But Darth Vader aside, when I opt for mindless escapist fare on a Saturday afternoon, I want to see life and death writ large. I'll forgive all manner of plot holes and character flaws if only you'll wow and dazzle me.
Stun an audience...and they'll love ya.
Bore them, and they'll only look for flaws.