I watch a lot of movies. I read about movies. I study movies. You would think I wouldn’t be so easily taken in by their formulaic, predictable plots. I have often been surprised when, while watching a movie for the first time, my sister leans over to me twenty minutes into it and whispers the oh-so-obvious “reveal” that will take the next hour and a half to unfold. Admittedly, often these movie endings are anything but formulaic, but there are, nevertheless, so many people like my sister, who see it coming all along. But not me. I’m always shocked. I had no idea he was dead the whole time! How could I have predicted it was his twin all along? Wait, seriously? They’re the ghosts? You meet no end of people who will eagerly tell you the moment, twenty-two minutes in, when they figured out that the entire 19th-century community was walled inside a present day forest. But we don’t watch movies to discover the secret, to learn how the hero will eventually come out on top, or how the seemingly impossible scenario will resolve itself; we watch movies for the experience. For the magical experience of living in another life, in another world for 120 minutes or so. Even if you figured out that he had multiple personality disorder in the first half of the movie, it’s still a great movie! Because of the story, the feeling, the characters, the colors. And that’s why I think I’m taken in every time. I believe so faithfully in the colorful world the director presents to me. Yes, the narrator told us it wasn’t a love story in the beginning. He basically told us she was going to lead him on and break his heart in true heartless girl fashion. But at the end, I was outraged and hurt right along with the antagonist. I knew it was coming, but I had just spent the last hour and a half feeling his feelings until I was as shocked as he was at the end. Every time I give myself over so fully to the fictional world, that every new revelation is had by me right along with the characters in the film. But, whether you knew the son was dressed up in his dead mother’s clothes the whole time or not, it’s the experience that matters. And that’s why we watch movies over and over again. The ending doesn’t change and all the actions leading up to the ending are always the same. But that doesn’t make it any less magical.
Seriously though, was there anyone who honestly predicted Luke Skywalker’s parentage??*
*Besides my dad. Who says he had already written that story. George Lucas just had the budget to make it into a million dollar movie before he could. Some people have all the luck. And all the cash.