So… big week for the geek set, eh? A trailer for both Jurassic World and the new Star Wars movie? Well, that’s news.
Of course, this being the internet, people are complaining about them. And people are complaining about the people complaining. Brace yourselves: I’m about to complain about the people complaining about the complainers.
I mean… this is the internet, after all.
Quick background, first. The trailers dropped and some people noted things in them that ruined their suspension of disbelief (no feathers on the dinosaurs, trained velociraptors running alongside a be-motorcycled Chris Pratt, a lightsaber with a hilt). Then some other people told them to lighten up, along these lines:
Are you really going to complain about dinosaurs without feathers? It’s just a movie; let me have fun!
Are you really going to complain about the impracticability of a laser sword in a film with space wizards? Your objection to one but not the other makes no logical sense!
Here’s the thing: those people are, rationally, entirely right. Jurassic World is just a movie; have fun! Star Wars is silly; objecting to just one silly thing in it is nonsensical.
And yet, I think they’re missing the point.
Those things that bothered people, rational or not, did bother those people. Enough that it popped the delicate bubble that is the willing suspension of disbelief. Whether it makes sense or not, whether it’s fair or not, whether it can be argued away logically or not… doesn’t matter. All that matters is the effect of the thing. Namely that people were pulled out of the films. Like it or not, the willing suspension of disbelief was broken for these people, and that means, in a very real way, these films (or at least the trailers) screwed up.
“But, but, but, Chris,” I hear the objection, “here’s why, logically, people’s suspension of disbelief shouldn’t be ruined by those things…”
Stop. Doesn’t matter. You’re trying to logic something that isn’t related to rationality. Suspension of disbelief is, in many ways, pre- or a-rational. Logic doesn’t come into it. A piece of fiction either works or doesn’t. And little things — things that don’t matter, things that logically shouldn’t pull someone out of a film — they can get into that a-rational part of the mind and make something stop working.
Or, if done properly, they can make something work that otherwise wouldn’t.
So, look. I get being irritated that people are complaining about things that don’t matter to you — I’m not at all bothered by the things people are complaining about in these trailers. And I get wanting to argue, logically, against complaints that you think are wrong because they don’t make logical sense.
But, people… it isn’t going to work. Suspension of disbelief isn’t about logic. A film either has it or it doesn’t, and no arguing will change that. Moreover, it’s subjective — it will work for some people, and not for others.
And that’s okay.
It works for you? Fantastic, have a great time. It doesn’t work for you? Fantastic, you don’t need to like a film if you don’t want to.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, here. Probably just that trying to argue against someone’s subjective, a-rational opinion of a thing isn’t only a crappy thing to do (“You’re wrong for liking/not liking thing X!” is aggressive and minimizes other people’s ability to have their own thoughts), it’s hopeless; it just won’t work.
What I’m trying to say, I suppose, is that everyone has opinions, they aren’t going to all be the same, and that’s okay. Can’t we just, you know, be nice about things that, in the end, don’t really matter?
Oh, right… internet. I forgot.
(And, yes, all of this also applies to people bothered by the trailers who tell people not bothered by them that they shouldn’t like the films because of what broke their suspension of disbelief. Of course it does. But I’m not really seeing a lot of people doing that; I’m seeing a lot of “You should like the film because your reasons for not suspending your disbelief are silly.” So that’s what I’m responding to.)