When I’m not working on my novels my brain tends to go in odd directions in an attempt to keep itself occupied so I figured I’d share these thoughts from time to time in a segment I call Things I Think About. Today, I post about how the happy endings of some movies just don’t sit right with me. Bear in mind these aren’t necessarily movies I hate, it’s just that sometimes even your favorite movies can have holes big enough to drive a truck through.
The Running Man
Loosely (as in copied the title of the book before tossing it into the shredder) based on the Stephen King novel, this movie covers the story of Ben Richards, a cop who goes against orders to fire on a crowd of hungry unarmed civilians and is sent to prison for insubordination. He manages to escape and comes across some old friends who are planning to overthrow the corrupt government but all he wants to do is spend the rest of his life basking on a beach in Hawaii. Because when you’re an escaped convict with the knowledge that the government gave you orders to kill thousands of innocent people, moving to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no where else to go is an excellent idea.
Anyway, he goes to his brother’s house (because again, the government would never think to find him there) where he finds the man has been taken away to be brainwashed/killed and a hot Latin chick who writes jingles for ICS is living there now. Knowing Amber believes what she sees on TV (like the rest of the country) and isn’t about to help him, he decides to kidnap her and drag her to the airport to board a plane to Hawaii with him. It’s at this point Ben Richards confirms he’s a moron.
She blows the whistle on him at the airport, he’s recaptured and the news broadcasts about how he went on a bloody rampage before getting caught which has Amber wondering if she made a mistake in not helping him since she realizes officials are lying about the incident. He ends up being a contestant on The Running Man where he meets up with two of his rebel friends who tells him they can get to the station’s satellite from the playing field and jam the signal to broadcast the truth to the public and STILL Ben wants nothing to do with it because not only is he a moron but possibly even a coward. Meanwhile Amber starts snooping in the company files where she finds the real video of the massacre Ben was blamed for, and subsequently shoves said videocassette up her snooch for future use, before getting busted and thrown into the game with Ben and his friends.
Long story short they manage to get to the satellite and the rebels take over the station with the help (FINALLY) of Ben Richards. The people are disillusioned, the game show host is killed and Ben and Amber walk off into the sunset and all is right with the world. Right?
As we’ve witnessed throughout the movie, the government is seriously corrupt, crime and the economy are really bad and the people aren’t happy. Rather than actually trying to solve these issues the government decides to distract the public with a series of super violent and malicious tv shows on the ICS station which apparently the people lap up like mother’s milk because their mindset is in Jerry Spring on Steroids mode. Yes, there is every possibility that this little uprising set off many others as many people wake up from their fog and realize they’ve been deceived and over the coming years society rights itself again. However, there’s also the possibility that in the meantime while the group of teenagers and the old man who led them as well as Ben and Amber are mowed down the instant they leave the building by the leagues of Swat teams waiting for them outside and/or storm the building since it never occurred to anyone to put the damn building on lockdown!
Another futuristic movie this time brought to you by Disney and Pixar. A Walmart type company essentially destroys earth and ships the inhabitants into deep space for several hundred years while they attempt to fix the damage only to give up when it got too hard and leaves everyone out there for generations. The last working robot on the planet is apparently little Wall-E who happily works to clean up the planet while jamming to the movie Hello Dolly until he meets the sleek and sexy Eve who’s sent to Earth periodically to find any sign of biological life. She slowly warms up to Wall-E and they zip back to the ship when he shows her the plant he rescued from the broken refrigerator. On the ship we discover mankind has evolved into a bunch of puffy boneless couch potatoes who drink their meals while staring at TV screens all day. When the captain gets news of the plant he’s ecstatic to be going back home, especially when he realizes that the Earth needs some TLC to help it come back to life. Unfortunately the main computer has other orders and gets downright mean in its attempt to prevent the ship from returning to Earth. In the end though, they make it back, Wall-E gets the crap kicked out of him but survives and all is right with the world. Right?
During the end credits we discover that the ship’s computer didn’t actually go into full-blown Hal mode and decide to murder everyone onboard because they wouldn’t follow its prime directive and the people manage to kick start the planet into a clean and livable place again. However, I doubt everyone was as excited to climb off their chairs for the first time in their lives in order to not just take care of themselves but to start the labor intensive farming and clearing activities necessary to get Earth back on track.
As we saw in the film, exposure to artificial gravity has caused everyone’s bones to shrink, which made them more reliable on the floaty chairs. This coupled with the fact that none of them have actually done anything physical in at least a century and it’s virtually impossible that these people would have been able to walk very far on the planet never mind doing anything else without a great deal of pain and bruising. Add this to the level of fear and uncertainty many of the passengers would have felt at this sudden change in lifestyle and mix with the very nature of some humans to just be outright lazy and we have a problem.
You can’t tell me there wasn’t a faction of people on that ship or any of the others floating around that said “To hell with this! Why should I bust my ass to save a planet I know nothing about? This life was good enough for my parents and their parents before them etc. and it’s good enough for me!” And assuming this faction didn’t just up and fly away with the ship while everyone else was toiling in the fields leaving them to fend for themselves and probably succumb to all kinds of injuries and illnesses as their bodies get used to life on Earth, how did they procreate? Did they keep using the lab or did John and Mary discover that inserting Slot A into Slot B = Baby and were put in charge of Sex Ed by their fellow Weebles?
Of course I never really expected the movie to cover this last bit since Disney’s idea of a sex talk is this:
This seems to be a common issue with futuristic movies involving the overthrow of a Dystopian society/lifestyle change and is the same beef I have with movies like Logan’s Run and V for Vendetta. They end with the celebration of freedom for the people but in reality the societies in these stories are in for years, perhaps decades of unrest and hard times as new ways are established and civilization is rebuilt. It’d be nice to see at least one Sci-fi story address this.