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Monday, May 19, 2008

The Good Guys Hearts Are Pure (or Something)

This is Steven Petrick Posting.

One of the most common occurrences in fiction (particularly in the visual media such as the movies) is the unfailing presentation of the heroes being able to beat superior numbers of bad guys. It is so embedded in the mythos of Hollywood that this is true that they cannot even see when they are utterly failing to make the bad guys as threatening and powerful as they are supposed to be.

Take the new film "Prince Caspian". The background information pretty much establishes that the bad guys military machine managed to march into Narnia and destroy the central castle from which the heroes reigned in the past. (This is implicit in that the castle has been destroyed by catapult stones). None of it logically holds together. If Narnia's trees were able to act in its defense as they did at the end, and if the river itself could rise up, then when the bad guys first ever marched in they would have been massacred.

This is the thing. Nothing in the military capability of the bad guys as presented was able to face off against an awake and active Narnia, therefore there was never any chance that they ever previously marched into Narnia and subjugated it. It could not happen. Any prolonged conflict between the two sides would have resulted in the bad guys being routed.

The whole plot literally fails on this point (perhaps it was better explained in the book, I do not know, I have not read any of the books in this series).

Everywhere you looked, the typical outcome of a clash between the Narnians and their enemies was mass casualties for the enemy. Their only advantage seemed to be that they could breed soldiers like cockroaches and just keep feeding them into the Narnian meatgrinder, taking an exchange rate that looked worse than five of them for every Narnian casualty in the big fight in the castle. And this was at the height of their power and the nadir of Narnia's?

Certainly there was very valid reason for the bad guys to fear the Narnians.

But no reasonable explanation of how they had previously defeated the Narnians and driven them from the height of their civilization to the depths they occupied at the start of the film.