Looking for the UnExpected
One of my most anticipated activities, during extended times at home, is going to the movies. Alas, I am always surprised with how busy I become, and so, I haven’t been able to see as many as I’d hoped — which means that I have more to look forward to.
Brenda and I drove up to the Regal last night to see Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Junior. The movie was all that I’d hoped it would be. It was visually rich, the characters were real, the script was fine, the action was almost overwhelming, the audio was loud (even for me) but effective, and the special effects were as transparent as I’ve seen. Yet, it was missing something. The movie wasn’t very interesting. Walking away from the theater, Brenda and I both agreed that we were bored — a mystery to me, because I couldn’t think of why.
Getting back home a little too early for bed, I posted comments about my disappointment on Twitter and Facebook, and just now (6:50 AM) scanned through a surprisingly large number of responses. Many people agreed, but just about as many people seemed to love the movie, mentioning the attributes I have already listed, especially the FX.
Then my friend Gail Lovely hit it.
We found it to be boring… I think part of the problem was they forgot to include the audience in the mystery and in solving the mystery. There was no way you could watch the movie and say “why didn’t I see that clue?!”
For an icon of “mystery,” there was no mystery. You knew the villain the first time you saw him, and regardless of his court-ordered demise, you knew — well enough spoiler. I agree with Gail’s observation. I was not a part of the show. I was not invested. I was merely a spectator, and for that, I felt short-changed and wondering why.
It reminds me a bit about some research I explored a while back (can’t find the blog post) showing that we learn well, what surprises us. It’s the unexpected discovery that impacts our memory.
No impact in this movie. Though Robert Downey Junior, Jude Law, and Rachel McAdams are all three memorable visions — no surprises will, no doubt, leave no lasting impressions.
Surprise your learners!