We Have to go Back (Reflecting on Lost)

lost statue

This past week was the 10th anniversary of Lost which you might have already known if you’re a fanatic of the TV series like me. I know I’ve talked about Lost on here before, but I just really love Lost – a lot. I came into the show late and watched it for the first time about a year and a half ago on Netflix. I remember mentioning to a guy at my college that I was on x season and that I was enjoying it and he shook his head with a weary grin stating, “You’re going to hate the ending.”

“You’re going to hate the ending.” I knew there was a controversy with the ending because my senior year of high school we had a Lost fan in the class. The day before he was bright eyed and bushy tailed and the next he came in battered with a look of defeat. Every time any series finale was brought up either online or in person there was always a voice saying, “How about that ending to Lost? No one understood that!” I never knew what the ending was because no one ever said it. They only said that questions go unanswered or I’d hear the infamous explanation “they were dead the whole time!” They were dead the whole time? Did you watch the show?

The biggest issue most had was the fact that so many questions went unanswered. Why can the island move? Why did so and so go back in time, but so and so didn’t? Why does the island cure? Why does the island take away?

There’s a humorous yet well done article on Cracked.com where someone goes through and answers almost every common question brought up in Lost, but I’m not here to repeat all of that. I want to talk about the finale in general and how it goes back to the premise of Lost. The reason why some felt that they didn’t receive answers was because the show never spoon fed explanations to the audience. It didn’t feel the need to and it didn’t have to. The island was a mystery that slowly became undone little by little and the audience was learning along with the characters. If the character didn’t know something, chances were we didn’t know either.

As the series went on the concerns shifted along with the story arch. By the end, I didn’t care so much as to what exactly created that pool of light because it didn’t matter. I was more worried about the fate of these characters I’d grown attached to. Will Desmond and Penny reunite? Will Claire get to see her son? Is Vincent doing okay? Will Hurley make it out alive? Please tell me Hurley makes it out alive. If anything the show was more about survival for these characters. They landed themselves in a Wonderland/Willy Wonka world in the form of an island. It wasn’t so much a matter of figuring out every phenomenon to a tee, but to adapt to the strange nature of the island and live through it all.

The island was this holy grail of energy and light complete with a personality. It was a living entity and it played games with these survivors, but it also tried to help them. And as Harry Potter-ish as it sounds – the island was magical. It was a source of life and death and kept everything in the world balanced – hence why it needed to be protected. The characters slowly started to recognize that they were dealing with something beyond what they’d grown up believing.

Suddenly magic and mythology was real, but science still played a valuable role into it all. It was a strange combination that felt unreal to them and so they had to learn to navigate around it and also adjust their own beliefs to understand what it was they had stumbled into. I’m sure that some of the surviving characters still didn’t fully understand what had happened on the island, they just knew it happened. What they experienced was real and while it was bizarre, horrific, and enlightening at times, it wasn’t a dream or limbo – it was reality.

What I took from the series was that life won’t always make perfect sense and that sometimes a person can be thrown into a world that’s a distorted image far from what they know. The solution isn’t necessarily figuring out an answer to every detail, but adapting to the new situation. Learning from it, growing from it, and deciding what they believe is right and wrong and then finding justification in those choices. If the person tried to answer every burning question with long winded explanations, they’d drive themselves crazy. Is looking for answers wrong? No, but it’s a reminder that life is more about you and the people you put into it and the choices you make rather than why the earth gravitates.

That’s what I feel the core of Lost was about. It was also meant to be placed into a mystery/sci-fi/fantasy/suspense genre which gives it permission to be a little surreal. Like I said, they landed themselves in a Wonderland. The genre was a unique mixture and one that I’d like to see more of. I have a lot more to say about Lost, but I won’t bore you anymore than I already have. If you’re a Lost fan, then Happy Lost 10th Anniversary! If you’re not, then give the show a try if it sounds like your type of series. You might just end up loving it.

But what was up with Walt?

Hurley takes him to the island and trains him to become the new protector because he’s “a chosen one.” Again, like Harry Potter. Watch the epilogue, it’s worth it my friend.

Fall Reading

belle readng

Summer is over and I have not read a single book. Needless to say, I’m disappointed with myself. I’ve picked up a few and read at least 3 chapters of one, but then my thoughts drift and five pages go by without a single word staying with me. Maybe it’s because I flung myself into a rabbit hole of unnecessary stress and cynicism that I’m just now climbing out of.

So my goal for the next few months here is to actually read. I borrowed a Douglas Adam’s book from my dad which I’ve read a few chapters of already. I wanted something with humor and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy never let me down (except for the movie, but we don’t talk about that) so I don’t see why Dirk Gently should either. Then I plan to work my way up to Lord of the Rings because I’m ashamed to say I’ve only read half of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Will I be able to do it? I sure hope so. I also need to write more because I’ve been lacking on that as well. I have some great ideas, but nothing’s made it out to my keyboard yet.

The lazy summer is over, here’s to a productive fall (hopefully)!  Anyone else have a reading list for the autumn?

 

Side note/update: I want to start posting more often, maybe twice a week. I noticed WordPress is a little dead during the week so I want to post shorts like this on Thursdays and then do a post about films/writing on Saturdays. I have a few written and waiting in my draft piles so I guess I’ll see how it goes!

Why Movie Characters Don’t Follow the “Common Sense” Rule

spidermaan

(The Amazing Spider-Man, 2012)

 

It seems like every time a new blockbuster hits theaters, there will be a number of humor articles that go along the lines of “5 plots solved in 5 minutes”, “If  <insert movie title> was 10x shorter and more honest”, “Problems in <insert film title> solved using common sense”, and you get the point. I mean these articles are all in good fun and I always enjoy reading them and nodding my head going, “That’s so true!” Yet, I also don’t think a character’s poor judgement regarding their situation makes the film less believable or poorly written. It’s a common accusation, “If so and so used common sense then this and that would have never happened.” True, if film characters used common sense more often than they do, they’d get themselves out of a number of awful situations. Clearly those events need to take place in order to make a film longer than 15 minutes. From a marketing and storytelling view, it’s difficult to have a character with the audience’s eyes who can evaluate the situation from a distance and give a “well, duh” type response.

But look at it from the character’s point of view.

If someone placed you in a high stress situation – let’s say aliens are minutes from invading the earth and the odd yet wise character has given you nothing but a flashlight and a frying pan, the love of your life has just run off in tears because he/she believes you care more about the stupid aliens than your relationship (not to mention you missed their birthday party you jerk), you’re still struggling with your own inner demons from your tragic back story, and you’re in the middle of a crowded street – would you make an intelligent and logical decision concerning the events taking place? And again, you may be thinking, “Sure, I can make a good decision”, but can you? The audience sometimes forgets that they look at the film through a special lens. Even Shakespeare played with the idea that the audience is this see all, know all entity. It’s like when a friend asks for advice. It’s easier to figure out a solution for them than it would be if it were you asking for help.

Since these characters are thrown into danger and high stress conditions, common sense becomes much less common. Same thing when a person is stressed out and they tend to think less clearly and logically. Also, these characters are going to be flawed just like any ordinary person. People make terrible mistakes every day so of course these characters will do the same. So yes, character x could have used plan y to avoid this momentous chain of events, but it’s easy to make that decision when the audience is sitting in a controlled and relaxed environment watching as a third party.

I actually like when characters mess up because that’s more realistic to me than the character having the ability to think straight in a jumbled environment. I like seeing how the character deals with the aftermath of the mistake because suddenly they become more human and I get more out 9f the film.

And of course, those humor articles are a lot of fun to read and I like seeing how viewers come up with the most sound decision for the insane situations that happen in movies. For the characters though, those choices are never as evident as they should be, but that’s a pretty accurate reflection of the real world.