The hero being captured



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  • The hero being captured

    Let´s say that your hero is hiding outside the villains fortress in some bushes and then CLICK, one of the villains henchmen hold a gun to his head and the hero is captured. Is this just poor writing? An easy solution? How do you motivate the failures of your Hero? Could you show examples of good solutions and bad ones?

  • #2
    The hero being captured

    Any James Bond movie. He is usually captured while heroically failing to save the girl. The villains always massively outnumber him and generally use some sneaky means to overcome him.


    • #3
      I wouldn't regard the hero's being captured as a failure. Depends how he uses it to his advantage. Aha, they're taking me inside their secret volcano headquarters where they will show me their fiendish plans and put me in a death machine that doesn't work, etc. Martial artists might make a fast play for the gun to show off their speed. It's not how they get into the situation that matters, it's how they get out of it.

      If you haven't already, take a peek at Bill's current tip, "What's The Worst That Could Happen?"

      My Web Page - naked women, bestial sex, and whopping big lies.


      • #4
        In LETHAL WEAPON, when Riggs is killing mercs from a thousand yards away, the head bad guy, Colonel Something?, clicks an M-16 beside Riggs' ear. Yeah, it stopped a cool scene dead, but it was believable because we knew the Colonel was ex-special forces and it was reasonable for us to expect he would be looking for any and all threats to his operation.

        If a "regular" henchmen guy catches our hero, it should be in a spectacular way or because the hero makes a silly blunder...something that reminds us he's still human.


        • #5

          Yes Tomasz that is bad writing. There is no greater cliche than the bad guy sneaking up behind the good guy with a gun. Hey Pal look out behind you already!

          I know you can do better. I believe in you.


          • #6
            Re: Reply

            The hero being captured is not bad writing. It's cliched to have the villain sneak up behind him and put a gun to his head, and say "freeze sucker!" but the allegorical value of the hero entering the villains lair is very important to the viewers understanding of the character's arc. For instance:

            WIZARD OF OZ: What happens to Toto and Dorothy just after the Wizard sends them on their mission to get the Witch's broom? They get captured, and she reaches a new low point in hope as a result. All that is left for her, in her captured state is an emotional plea for help. And she receives it, when her allies save her and ultimately achieve their mission. That emotional plea is a moment of emphasis for the character's desires. It is critical for the viewers understanding of what is at stake for the character.

            TITANIC: What happens to Leo just as the boat is beginning to sink? He get's caught with the jacket and the necklace, and he's locked up down in steerage. He has no way out, and only Winslet, his ally, his lover who has just witnessed his supposed crime, can save him. She does, by placing her faith in his innocence. In doing so, she displays the value of what their love means to her. Her fiance, Zane, then becomes an out and out rival to her as well, not just Leo. It is a crucial scene in the viewer's ability to understand the value the characters place in one another.


            • #7

              protag must encounter obstacles. your example has been done one million times (exactly, we've kept count). that doesn't make it bad, though. it depends on other factors

              hero sneaks up on villian and destroys him at end act I - no problem. now that would be bad writing



              • #8
                It's not a cliche. The trick is doing it when the audience least expects it. Which means making it look completely different from the thousands of other scenes where the hero was captured.


                • #9
                  I just want to point out that the example has nothing to do with my writing. I read the column on Worldplay called "Successive failure" and thought about all the gun-to-the-back of the hero's-head-while-hiding in a bush scenes I´ve seen.


                  • #10

                    I never said that hero being captured by a villian is bad writing but using a cliche to tell it is. Don't read into the text yo!


                    • #11
                      Re: Fairtrax

                      Just think, there would have been no MacGyver or A-Team if it wasn't for the gun to the head capture scene.

                      I pitty the foo who calls that cliche.


                      • #12
                        I never said you said this. I didn't even read your post. I was answering the man who asked the question.
                        Stop making everything about you.


                        • #13
                          As I'm sure everyone has already said (sorry, I'm super lazy today and just skimmed through the preceding posts):

                          It doesn't have to be bad writing. If this is how you're going to present a potential problem, then I would say go for it. One more obstacle for your hero to overcome. On the other hand, I would be aware that your script isn't the first ever to do this, so unless you can't add something unique and original, you may want to think of something else.

                          Good luck.



                          • #14
                            Prosecution (kill bill 2 spoilers)

                            was teasing both of you.
                            Get a sense of humor.

                            Now, back to the subject.

                            Everybody makes mistakes and hero's get caught. They are still human and getting captured may be be vital to the story.

                            Your job is to have it happen in a way that reveals something about the hero and the villian. And in a way the audience isn't expecting and hasn't seen before.

                            Every story is cliched, everything is cliched. It's ALL been done before. BUT, Being able to take the cliched and make it new and fresh again (or not an obvious ripoff) is a sign of GOOD writing. There are several ways to skin a cat.

                            By the way, I thought it was bad writing to have the Bride just throw open the door to that one hicks trailer and allow him to rock salt her in the chest.
                            She knows he's there, she can safely assume he knows she is coming for him, and a trained master assasian goes right for the front door? Yeah right.

                            I'm just a housewife and I know better.

                            The ONLY reason for that behavior was so she can get shot and get buried.
                            Better writing would have been to have the cowboy out smart her and able to shoot her REGARDLESS of how clever she was trying to be.


                            • #15
                              Its not a mistake to get caught, sometimes its just the most probable outcome of a nash equilibrium scenario with viral marketing gone wrong. Make the stakes high enough and some people will go to any length to find you, its not that your fear of it caused it to happen, only maybe it was meant to happen, and the hero's going to learn loads from it.