The Detail You Missed

Or, How A Novel from 1985 and a Movie from Last Year are Related in My Head

Had an opportunity to rewatch The Last Jedi yesterday and noticed something that made the plot make better sense.

One of the things that annoyed me about the B-Plot was how Vice Admiral Pink-Hair’s escape plan ends up being incredibly non-functional. Like, your entire idea was to let the big ships get blown up and hope they don’t notice the escape pods? Isn’t noticing escape pods something the Empire/First Order generally does?

But on the rewatch, I noticed that the First Order only notices this because Benicio del Twitchy tells them that. And he does that because they got caught. So if Poe had never sent Finn and Rose on that wild goose chase, the plan would have had a better chance of working.

Okay. That makes better sense now. I don’t quite know how I missed that in the theater, but it does make things fit better.

Had a similar experience reading the end of Less Than Zero on Saturday. My existing Goodreads review of the novel is as follows:

Less Than ZeroLess Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really don’t know if I like this book or not. It weaves a compelling, melancholy vision, that much is certain. But it does so within the first few pages, and then it doesn’t really do anything else. There doesn’t seem to be anything like an arc or even much of a plot. Because to have these things you need a conflict, and this novel’s protagonist seems to lack any semblance of emotional ties to anything. Which, of course, us the point. But it does repeat after the first hundred pages.

Supposedly Ellis hated the movie version, and one can see why: the film barely resembles the book at all. But how else this story becomes a movie is beyond me.

View all my reviews

And the Encounter with Nihilism is not the less present on the re-read. But I caught a scene on the end, perhaps glossed over before, in which the protagonist Clay is forced by sorta-girlfriend Blair to confront his emotional coldness. And he sort of does. Now, as typical with Ellis, this confrontation brings no catharsis. Indeed, in the next scene, the same two characters are right back in the thicket of her neediness and his dysfunction as though the previous scene had not happened. Because Confronting your Reality doesn’t always pay off in real life like it does in literature. Still, the protagonist approaching Awareness of his situation, rather than simply inhabiting it like a ghost in a mausoleum, does put a kind of capstone on the book.

All of which speaks to the need to read/watch things more than once. Because the detail you missed can be the detail that changes your perception.


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