Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Practical Lawn Mowing and Red Glass Doorknobs

The following article contains spoilers for The Lawnmower Man (1992) and The Sixth Sense (1999).  If you have not seen either of these films and wish to see them unhindered of foreknowledge please return back to read us next week.  Thank you.

Impressions and insinuations can be an important part of the story telling process.  As much as writing is best when it shows not tells there are different ways to show ideas and concepts.  Scenes where some fact is apparent but unspoken, the elephant in the room as the saying goes, are effective on different levels.  They can be very illustrative of the story's reason for the scene and at the same time demonstrative of different points both in line with the scene's raison d'être and counter to it, or at least on a different vector.  What happens when the proverbial elephant is camouflaged and nowhere to be scene, but still, say, smelled?  The taint is still there.  When the illusion of the camouflage is pierced and the information revealed understanding shifts.

Anyone who has seen the two versions of the movie The Lawnmower Man has seen the difference that a few extras scenes can make.  The director's cut of the film presents some characters different than the theatrical version does.  Father McKeen is more balanced character, caring as well as abusive of Jobe.  In the longer cut Mrs. Angelo is less abrasive and more sympathetic.  She doesn't leave half way through the movie never to be seen again.  Her shooting death by The Shop agents is stronger justification for Dr. Angelo's shock and horror than Jobe's disassembly of the agents.  These small changes smooth out the film, provide deeper characters and alter emotional undercurrents.  The two versions are different and divergent, something that can be put to greater use.

The Sixth Sense does not rely on deleted scenes.  It changes the meaning of scenes and revises events in the audience's understanding in flashbacks after the revelation that Dr. Crowe is dead.  Scenes play out exactly the same; same characters, same events, same outcomes, and same dialog.  The meaning though is different because of the missing information on the first pass through the scenes.  The situation that makes this reality shift happen is very specific in the Sixth Sense and all pointed toward Crowe's condition.  This need not be true in every case.  There is great leeway afforded by not hinging the changed meanings on a single twist but on several scenes and varied alterations.  This process can all be geared toward a particular story type or used to enhance any type.

Mood: predatory.
Music: Know Your Enemy by Green Day and You Give Love A Bad Name by Bon Jovi.

Green Day: 21st Century Breakdown
Or get MP3s.
Now at Amazon.COM NOT CA.

Buy these at Amazon.com
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Bon Jovi: Slippery When Wet
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