Saturday, May 24, 2008

On Indiana Jones

George Lucas and crew need someone to say "Woah, guys, that's a little much. Back it down a notch. Sure, nuclear explosions look cool, but we're really trying to hard here."

They also need an editor. You're supposed to cut out the "extended scenes" and save them for the DVD, not release the version with the joke that lasts 30 seconds longer than it should.

Finally: this is a series that includes a lot of fantastic elements that stretch believablity (see the 1500 year old crusader in the previous Indy film). That's cool. But they worked because the movie never tried to explain every last thing. So, why are they trying to explain things so much now? Are they that concerned that people will not be able to make the jump from suggestion to imagination?

One of the reasons why people hold Halo's story in rather high regard is because it doesn't always try to explain everything (this is especially true in the first game and in the terminals of the third game). Rather, it draws you in, suggesting something fantastic and grand, and then leaves it to your imagination with where to take it.

The most powerful stories are the ones which don't try to answer everything. Rather, the best stories create a universe for which you can step into and let your imagination take you for a ride. Sequels of beloved stories are often difficult for this reason - not because the sequel's expansion of the universe is bad, but because it must toss aside some of what you have constructed with the "official version".

To all storytellers, and a note to self: resist the urge to explain everything. Or you end up with the latest Indiana Jones movie - getting the formula right, but missing that special spark of wonder.