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Starting with the Ending (1 Viewer)

Do you like when they start a movie with scenes from the ending?


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Indy Guy

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I love the bookends created for the movie version of Camelot. (Possible spoiler follow for the 55 year old film!)

The opening shows King Arthur on the eve of defeat, contemplating what led to the downfall of his dream. Merlin sends Arthur back to the beginning to understand the turning points that brought him to this impending fate.
Cut to the end which returns to the same moment. There is a chance encounter with young Tom of Warrick just before Arthur's final battle. The lad brims with passion for Arthur's Camelot and the King sees the young boy is the way to keep Camelot alive...not through battles but by sharing the stories with all who will listen. Tom stands in for the audience who have been brought to the same sad moment of contemplation.
Far more emotionally centered than the Broadway show where the ultimate tragic outcome is not foreshadowed.
Movie audiences were informed at the onset...Camelot will not be a fairy tale musical. Good or bad, the journey will include the missteps and consequences leading to the downfall of Arthur's dream.
 

jayembee

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"Star Wars" was neither "Episode IV" nor "A New Hope" when initially released. Those got added later:

He said that in his posting:

You are certainly right that "in medias res" as a storytelling device goes way back. Homer's Odyssey a case in point. Even the original concept for" Star Wars" was designed with that in mind, as Lucas' plan was for nine films (which eventually happened). Subsequently, "Star Wars"was eventually given its original subtitle "Episode IV: A New Hope", and thus, the" Star Wars" saga does indeed begin "in the midst of things". However, starting out in the middle of the story is not the same as beginning with the end which was the point the original poster was making.

His point is still valid. Even though Star Wars [Episode IV: A New Hope] was the first film released, it was still acknowledged as starting the story arc in the middle.
 

SamT

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Infidel (2019) - Cyrus Nowrasteh

At the beginning showing the main character already kidnapped. Worse, seeing who will be the kidnapper. Kills the tension before it happens and we should not know who this guy is before the actual kidnapping. There are several scenes with the kidnapper before it happens.
 

sleroi

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RE: the Last Duel. I jokingly responded to you in the last duel thread, but in seriousness I have to disagree with your assessment.

The opening of the film shows the two combatants begin a duel, and the first blow. We know there is to be a duel because of the title, so nothing is spoiled. The result of the duel, or even of the first blow, is not revealed. The only thing revealed is who the combatants are and how intense they seem.

For me, that brief glimpse provides a necessary tension between the two men as we see their relationship progress. Without that opening scene we would just be watching two men meander through their lives and circumstances until eventually something happens. I would think the film would be kind of boring or confusing without it.

The consensus seems to be it's just a storytelling technique that people don't mind if it's done well. You seem adamant that it not be used at all. I'm not sure what to tell you other than sorry it bothers you. I'm sure we all have our pet peeves.
 

MartinP.

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The ads [...] didn't give away the actual conclusion, but they revealed like 85% of the movie's story - maybe more.

And I think "WLB" and "Castaway" were the same.

The trailer for Castaway was infuriating. The trailer leaves no suspense for the viewer for nearly the whole movie while he's stranded. From the trailer we know he's saved, so for most of the movie you sit there with no feelings of danger, suspense etc. ...survival's assured. Ho hum.
 

SamT

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As to the original post, I was a bit shocked at how simplistic and forest for the trees it was, especially in a forum like this.

Can you be any more condescending? There is nothing simplistic about it. This is a real issue and it was raised for discussion.
 

SamT

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Even if the name of the movie is The Last Duel and yes we might know there is a duel, it is not OK in my opinion to show it at the beginning. It is supposed to be something built over time with tension and it's our reward to get it at the appropriate time.

So it is not entirely about spoilers. Imagine the well known duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan. Everyone knows it. Do you think it would have been OK? Can you imagine Revenge of the Sith start with the Obi-Wan and Anakin duel?
 

cinemiracle

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Does anyone remember the American remake of RASHOMON called THE OUTRAGE? We screened it where I was working. It had a star-studded cast incl Paul Newman.
 

Colin Jacobson

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The trailer for Castaway was infuriating. The trailer leaves no suspense for the viewer for nearly the whole movie while he's stranded. From the trailer we know he's saved, so for most of the movie you sit there with no feelings of danger, suspense etc. ...survival's assured. Ho hum.

See, I don't mind that because it's already pretty much a given that the Hanks character will survive.

The movie's interesting because of the way it tells its story.

Yeah, it'd be better if the trailer didn't telegraph his survival, but it's not exactly a shock that he lives...
 

jayembee

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Even if the name of the movie is The Last Duel and yes we might know there is a duel, it is not OK in my opinion to show it at the beginning. It is supposed to be something built over time with tension and it's our reward to get it at the appropriate time.

So it is not entirely about spoilers. Imagine the well known duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan. Everyone knows it. Do you think it would have been OK? Can you imagine Revenge of the Sith start with the Obi-Wan and Anakin duel?

It depends. OK, I confess that I haven't seen Revenge of the Sith (seriously. I haven't. And don't want to.) but my point is that it depends on what is shown, as well as how much of it. The entire thing? Yeah, that might be a problem. But I've seen so many films or TV show episodes that start with a scene that's just WTF? How Did Things Manage to Get to This Point? And it's followed by "24 Hours Earlier..." The point isn't that we know what's going to happen, but that we don't know how things will progress in order to get to that point. And more often than not, it whets the appetite instead of ruining it.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I think it is very theoretically possible to tell a great Star Wars story beginning with the Mustafar duel and then backtracking, but I also think it’s a poor example for discussion because Star Wars “episode” films have an established, defined, rigid structure that does not allow for that kind of flashback.
 

David_B_K

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Sunset Boulevard, anyone?
Frankly, I don't care how the author uses the method to tell the story, as long as the story is told well.
@Josh Steinberg , your definition of "in media res" is accurate, but it does not mean starting at the end, as in Sunset Boulevard. It would require starting somewhere in the "middle of the story," go into an elaborate flashback, and then proceed to the end.

I often see the in media res approach on TV shows which start with an action sequence that usually ends with a major character appearing to be killed or seriously wounded. Just as we're saying "WTF!?", a caption appears that reads something like "24 Hours Earlier" and the story then starts at the beginning and works its way back to the WTF moment. I guess they feel they will grab you right away with the WTF moment and make you watch the rest of the show to see how it happens (or not). It is over-used so often I can usually spot it right away.
 

SamT

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But I've seen so many films or TV show episodes that start with a scene that's just WTF? How Did Things Manage to Get to This Point? And it's followed by "24 Hours Earlier..." The point isn't that we know what's going to happen, but that we don't know how things will progress in order to get to that point. And more often than not, it whets the appetite instead of ruining it.

For TV I agree. A series that did this to perfection was Firefly. I loved it. It started with a strange situation and I could never predict how we will get to that situation at the end of the episode.

That's why it is fascinating to me. Why it works and I love it for Firefly but I dislike it for movies. It's probably because with Firefly it is something that you cannot predict. And with movies it's part of the main story that you should not see in advance. I have to think more about it. And again it's not always about being spoiled.
 

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