Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lee Adama Puzzle Pieces

A few days ago I posted about my desire to dislike Lee Adama (from Battlestar Galactica) because he was a character who never had to achieve anything on his own; he has every promotion handed to him and never strives for a higher position of power, though he still makes it to presidency. I want to dislike him for his passivity, but he also possesses many of the traits I consider heroic. I finally realized the core of my conundrum.

It goes back to my childhood, in which I was never allowed to watch cartoons...

No, wait. Scratch that. This one is about plot versus character.

We've all read plot-driven novels and character-driven novels, or seen plot-centric movies which are very different from character-centric movies. I'm a big fan of character-driven novels and movies. I think that there's so much more enjoyment in following a well-thought-out character through a tale, discovering their dimension and personality as defined by their reaction to events than there is enjoyment derived from watching a two-dimensional character placed within an exciting plot element/scene.

Think Ironman vs. Spider-man. Ironman is an interesting character who uses his knowledge to change and grow throughout the movie/story. Spider-man is a rather two-dimensional character who gets placed in some pretty amazing CG scenes, which make decent video games. Both are comic book characters, but what a world of difference!

Think The Princess Bride vs. Made of Honor. The Princess Bride relied on strong characters to flush out scenes and bring the story to life. Made of Honor relied on generic genre characters and predictable plot points to push through a Hollywood "chick flick" during the wedding season.

Think Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark vs. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In Raiders, Jones was still being developed as a character. The story was still formed around him, and the choices he made as a character directed the action (to a point). In Crystal Skull, there was no character development whatsoever. The director/producer/writer expected you to be familiar with the characters, to expect certain actions out of them, and the movie was one plot gimmick after another, each seemingly contrived to get the characters to the right CG point.

Which brings me, a bit belatedly, back to my point. Somehow, Lee Adama is a character who functions like a plot. He's too flat. Too bland. There's no development happening with him. All his storylines are plot-driven, not character-based. That is the root of my distaste for him. He may be part of a heroic plot line, but he's not a three-dimensional hero.


Anonymous said...

Really? You were NEVER allowed to watch cartoons?? I cannot believe that! What mean and evil parents you have.

Rebecca Chastain said...

Dear Mom, ahem, I mean, Anonymous,

I'm sure I was allowed to watch the occasional cartoon special, but I honestly don't remember getting to watch any Saturday morning cartoons. Unless, perhaps, I watched the cartoons during one of our many family vacations to Hawaii, Rome, and the Bahamas...