Radiation Level: Binary Electrograms from San Onofre
Listening To: Blue Jeans by Lana Del Rey
I’ve been doing a lot of head-scratching at movie screenings lately. Not because the movies are bad or confusing, but more because the hero or heroine doesn’t have a goal. In film school, they always ask, “what is the protagonist’s objective?” or, “What does s/he want?” Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz wants to go home. Simple. Without this “want” she would be a mere passive tourist in Oz. The ruby slippers would still be lovely, but without the tie to Dorothy obtaining her goal, they wouldn’t be iconic. Clicking your heels three times would not resonate on such a deep level.
All this may sound obvious, but I’ve seen two movies recently where the protagonists did not have a goal. Nothing. One of these movies is based on a fairy tale and had a very large budget – what could be the excuse? I’ll admit that the objective of most “Princesses” tend to be shallow, but still they exist. Cinderella wants to marry the prince. Little Red Riding Hood wants to get to her grandmother’s house. (Not terribly complex, but still, they have something they want to accomplish.) Snow White wants to..? What? Hello? Is there NOTHING Snow White wants? Is she not interested in finding out what happened to her father? Or why her stepmother is such a bitch? Or marrying a prince? I find this lack of desire quite shocking. Without it, the main character cannot “arc” as they say. They do not grow or change. They stay the same. Ugh.
As I struggle with this, I wonder if maybe I have it backwards. Maybe the Evil Queen is the protagonist and Snow White the true villain? It seems the Queen has a lot more at stake – being the “fairest one of all” is a big responsibility. Maybe Snow wants to ruin the Queen’s life. Probably not, but this would have made for a much more interesting story. At least the costumes were good.