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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 September 2016 at 9:19am | IP Logged | 1  

Recently I rewatched FANTASTIC VOYAGE (1966), and while it still holds up as an entertaining adventure, I was reminded that the ending really does not work.

SPOILERS:


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Altho the four surviving humans make it to the tear duct and are removed from the patient's body before they expand to normal size, the submarine is left behind, with no explanation of what prevents it from expanding just as they did.

Similarly, the end of THE ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND…

SPOILERS:


 INVISO TEXT (Click or highlight to reveal):
…depends heavily upon the hero getting some kind of "message" to the girl, arranging for her to meet him when, in context, there is no reason she would.

Lots of movies are like this -- the ending kinda depends on the audience not remembering what happened earlier in the film, so a "happy ending" can be achieved.

How many can you think of?

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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 11 September 2016 at 9:50am | IP Logged | 2  


EDGE OF TOMORROW (aka LIVE, DIE, REPEAT)

Thought I'd missed some sort of set-up or logical explanation as to why it ended the way it did... nope, pretty sure the filmmakers deliberately ignored their own rules and gave us the happy ending, just 'cause!


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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 September 2016 at 9:55am | IP Logged | 3  

I'll add GRAVITY, the ending of which works...


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...only as a metaphor for the Sandra Bullock character dying and going on to "heaven" to be with her dead daughter. In fact, the dead daughter serves only to set up this metaphorical ending.

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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 11 September 2016 at 7:29pm | IP Logged | 4  

Recently I rewatched FANTASTIC VOYAGE (1966), and while it still holds up as an entertaining adventure, I was reminded that the ending really does not work.

***


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The novelization explains they had to lure the white corpuscle that swallowed up the Proteus after them, so the enlarging wreckage wouldn't kill the patient. The novel ends with the 4 safe, and a pile of corroded metal fragments (plus whatever microscopic remains of Donald Pleasence's character) next to them... But yeah, they never showed that in the movie.



 INVISO TEXT (Click or highlight to reveal):
There supposedly was an alternate ending where the patient did suffer memory loss, and doesn't remember the vital information they were saving him for
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 12 September 2016 at 12:10am | IP Logged | 5  

Theatrical release of Blade Runner.  Fixed in the directors cut.  The ending of the theatrical release undoes the whole point of the movie.

Hollywood Confidential.  Another "bolted on" happy ending that really doesn't fit.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 September 2016 at 6:07am | IP Logged | 6  

I have only seen the theatrical release of BLADE RUNNER, tho I have seen that several times. What about the ending "undoes the whole point of the movie"?
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 12 September 2016 at 6:53am | IP Logged | 7  

I think BIG has a troubling "happy ending" if the events in the movie are taken seriously. 


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A pubescent boy overnight inhabiting his grown adult form, having intercourse with an adult woman? That alone might keep Josh on the analyst's couch for decades! And what about his adult girlfriend? Wistful but mostly smiling with sweetness at the end she appears, yet I could easily imagine her psychologically shattered too. And, cruelest of all, perhaps is the effect on Josh's parents, the torture this movie puts them through makes it unwatchable for me. 
I have no problem taking the fantasy aspects of the story on its own fun, frolicking terms. But to tell the tale in a way that doesn't give it the out of an unreal event demands the audience must ignore a host of what could only be very real suffering.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 September 2016 at 6:58am | IP Logged | 8  

Tacked on happy endings have ruined a lot of movies for me, but EDWARD SCISSORHANDS was ruined by a tacked on UNhappy ending.


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A whole flock of people witness the final confrontation between Edward and the "bad boy." Did they not step forward to report what happened? Why does Edward withdraw to solitude, except to tack on some "poignancy"? And, hey, I guess Gran'ma Winona got over her "perfect love" for Edward, huh?

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 12 September 2016 at 7:05am | IP Logged | 9  

The "happy" ending of FORREST GUMP I also thought problematic:


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The entire movie clearly shows that Jenny does not love Forrest. She ends up with him first at her moment of suicidal desperation, going back to purge the ghosts of her childhood abuse. And then "returns" to him only because she's terminally ill, has a child, and Forrest is incredibly wealthy. She takes advantage of his being of extremely low mental ability and his lifelong desire to be with her. One might even question whether her child was Forrest's biological son at all. Forrest adored Jenny, fairly worshiped her, and yet had virtually nothing of her, "winning" her only because she knew she wouldn't have to live with him but a short while so that her son would be taken care of by this trusting, kind, super-rich dope.
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 12 September 2016 at 7:38am | IP Logged | 10  

Rachel's life expectancy.
GAFF: "It's too bad she won't live.  Then again, who does?"

The studio wanted to make a happy ending (her being doomed to die in less than 4 years didn't seem happy), so they had them add some voice-over to say Rachel was "special" and didn't have the four-year lifespan.  This largely negates Tyrell's observation that "The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long - and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy." And of course Roy's wonderful speech at the climax about the tragedy of so short a life.  Though she's a replicant, it doesn't apply to her--she's like us.  Maybe better.  Happy Ending!  This was removed in the director's cut.  The screen goes black and the credits roll after they get in the elevator following Gaff's line.

The tragedy of death when you desire more life (emphasized by the replicant's short lifespan) only applied to the antagonists.  The ending of the theatrical version doesn't wreck the movie, but I think it damages it by comparison.  

If the mood strikes you, check out the Director's Cut.  I believe it to be in every way a superior film.  No redundant voice-over explaining what you are seeing, etc.  Joanna Cassidy even came back 15 years later and donned the clear plastic outfit to re-shoot Zhora's death scene so that it wasn't obviously a stuntwoman doing the action.  It's really a different film.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 September 2016 at 8:49am | IP Logged | 11  

Disagree. Altho Rachel has a longer-than-four-year life expectancy, we are not given any indication of how MUCH longer. Eight years? Eighty years? Gaff's comment puts it in perspective. We all know we're going to die, and the replicants carry the burden of knowing when. Rachel doesn't, but that doesn't alter the fact that she is "mortal."
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Thom Price
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Posted: 12 September 2016 at 8:58am | IP Logged | 12  

My first thought was I AM LEGEND (2007) but I must admit that my memories of both the film and ending are vague, other than being really irked by how it concluded.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 12 September 2016 at 9:12am | IP Logged | 13  

My first thought was I AM LEGEND (2007) but I must admit that my memories of both the film and ending are vague, other than being really irked by how it concluded.

••

The ending "works," it just doesn't work well. There are many alternate endings that could have played out based on what was set up.

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 12 September 2016 at 1:24pm | IP Logged | 14  

Return of the Jedi.

Luke had a funny feeling that old, genocidal Anakin was secretly good underneath all that surface gloss of torture and murder.

Anakin tells him "You were right. You were right about me... Tell your sister, you were right."

But it felt so very wrong.


Edited by Peter Martin on 12 September 2016 at 1:25pm
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Steve De Young
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Posted: 14 September 2016 at 8:30am | IP Logged | 15  

My first thought was I AM LEGEND (2007)
----------------------------------------
The original ending to that movie was released on the DVD at one point.  It worked much better, and was true to the actual concept, and title, of the original story.  But it wasn't a happy ending.
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 15 September 2016 at 3:59am | IP Logged | 16  

I think BIG has a troubling "happy ending" if the events in the movie are taken seriously.
------------------------------------------------------------ ----------------------
I find BIG really difficult to watch now whereas as a child (well, teenager) I had no problems.
At the time, it was 'he's an adult now yes'? But now, it is clear to me that, mentally at least, he is not an adult at all and so we have a film where an underage teen has sex with an adult.

I truly wonder if this film would be made nowadays.
Similarly, and off topic, I wonder if anyone would side with Jack Nicholson in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST nowadays, given the nature of his crime.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 September 2016 at 7:31am | IP Logged | 17  

Similarly, and off topic, I wonder if anyone would side with Jack Nicholson in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST nowadays, given the nature of his crime.

••

One of my favorite movies is GROSS POINT BLANK, in which the Hero is a hired assassin seeking to change his life for the better. There's no real getting around the fact, tho, that he's a HIRED ASSASSIN and has killed many people. All "bad guys," we are told, but by whose definition? Especially in the context of his last assignment.

Parenthetically, since I was a kid I have been bothered by stories of "innocent men" who set out to prove their innocence, and in doing so commit all kinds of crimes, usually involving massive amounts of property damage. It really does make for endings that don't work (to suddenly veer back onto topic) since the final scene should be the cops saying "Congratulations, you proved you didn't (fill-in-the-blank) but now you're under arrest for multiple counts of (fill-in the blanks)."

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James Woodcock
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Posted: 15 September 2016 at 8:31am | IP Logged | 18  

I totally agree JB. One of my pet peeves in a lot of films is that the solution to a stalker film is that the stalked KILLS the stalker. Pretty much every time.

Is that the only way those films can end? Why not with an arrest and jail?
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Brian Skelley
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Posted: 15 September 2016 at 3:42pm | IP Logged | 19  

 James Woodcock wrote:
Is that the only way those films can end? Why not with an arrest and jail?


Part of the formula is that law enforcement are powerless to stop the stalker. To have it end with the stalker getting put in jail would mean that law enforcement weren't powerless as we were lead to believe, and creates a massive plot hole.

There are other endings. Most horror films involving stalkers are about the victim surviving, a victim starting off completely helpless and finding strength to beat the stalker. It ending with the victim killing the stalker is the most empowering ending for the victim. That's why it's used over and over.
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Stephen Robinson
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Posted: 15 September 2016 at 4:31pm | IP Logged | 20  

James, I think audiences have come to crave catharsis. There is perceived
"anti-climax" in the shot of the bad guy just being put in the back of a police
car.

One of my favorite SNL sketches (perhaps because it was re-aired every year
around Christmas when I was a kid) involves the discovery of an "alternate"
ending to IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE where George Bailey and the entire town
go over to Mr. Potter's and beat the crap out of him. Even today, I hear from
people who complain that Mr. Potter is never 'punished' for his crime.

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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 15 September 2016 at 6:57pm | IP Logged | 21  

That's one of my favorite SNL sketches, Stephen.

And there was no need to see Potter punished in the movie.




Edited by Brian Floyd on 15 September 2016 at 7:04pm
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Gregory Harshman
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Posted: 15 September 2016 at 7:00pm | IP Logged | 22  

It has been forever since I've seen it, but at the time I remember not liking the ending of WISDOM (1986).
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 16 September 2016 at 1:13pm | IP Logged | 23  

The Verdict was a bit of a dodgy ending. I really liked the movie, the ending works emotionally... but not so much when scrutinised under the cold light of logic. Overturned on appeal, methinks!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 16 September 2016 at 1:25pm | IP Logged | 24  

Yeah! When I saw THE VERDICT I thought it played as if Newman's character was Perry Mason, but in context he was the prosecutor.
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Don Zomberg
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Posted: 16 September 2016 at 9:13pm | IP Logged | 25  

I love the ending of 1978's INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, but really, why would Veronica Cartwright's character make the assumption that she does?
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