I am not sure if it is because of the kind of entertainment I enjoy or it is a commonly occurring event, but there are a lot of missed opportunities in literature and film. We have all read a novel and came across a point where a subject matter or a character can catch our attention and we say to ourselves, “Hey, this is interesting. I want to know more” but find out that the item that interests us is either A.) Hardly mentioned or B.) Put on the sidelines for what is currently going on in the story. Fair warning, this editorial will have some spoilers in it, so if you want to avoid reading the endings to certain books or movies, please check out one of the many reviews on the site.
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An example of this would be in the novel, They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? by Christopher Buckley. In the novel, a small group of individuals in an attempt to create an ad campaign against China, almost start an actual war as the situation escalates out of their control. . Towards the end, it is revealed that the anticipated war between China and the United States was a plot by the main characters to gain military funding for a defense company and it seems like the story is going to escalate from there. But the story ends with a bitter sweet ending where the characters are mostly untouched from what they have done and seemingly get away from it. Now, from the reader’s perspective, it is seen as a lot of build up that goes nowhere.
From the film side of it, let me tell you a story. The other day, I took someone out to the local movie theater to see the new Horror/Comedy film Krampus, a story about a dysfunctional family who have to come together to survive the holiday wrath of the anti-Saint Nick, the Krampus, and his minions. We thought the movie was great in the story aspect, the characters and their development, and the practical effects along with CGI were amazing. Albeit the horror came off more comical and campy rather than scary in the movie. My one complaint would be towards the end, about the last twenty minutes, where the Krampus was coming after the family himself, starting off with the grandmother (which is a very poignant and touching scene). After the main character Max is left alone, he pursues the Krampus in order to save his family and pleads to him to spare his family and take him instead. This could have become a very bittersweet and emotional ending, where the Krampus takes Max and forces him to become one of his creatures, leaving the bell to the family on Christmas as a ‘gift from Max’ as a symbol of what must be sacrificed for family. But instead, the Krampus throws him into the firey pit of Hell and they all wake up the next morning for Christmas before Max realizes they are in a Christmas like Purgatory in the Krampus’ lair. What could have been built up to be amazing leaves a abrupt and disappointing ending that was so meta, that Deadpool would be calling it out.
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So, I have to question; Why are some concepts and ideas overlooked in literature and novels? Why are some ideas that could be considered brilliant and interesting pushed aside and briefly mentioned?
Well, all I can guess is it is based on the circumstance. One reason to why some ideas and subject matters are not explored more in a medium such as a novel or film would be that it would have caused a diversion from the main story that could hinder the final product. Perhaps, the creator is saving the ideas for a sequel/prequel where they can be given more of an opportunity to flesh out specific ideas. Some people might think that exploring or discussing something else might overshadow the main story. But I can understand why some of them would not want to discuss certain topics that might arise in the novels or films. It can be difficult to talk about and branch out on every subject matter in a novel/film, even if it is something you don’t know that much about like Transhumanism or Social Psychology.
While I would want to see more authors and filmmakers try to touch more on subjects they scantly cover in their projects, I can’t imagine how it could be done for every creator.