True Grit: Suspension of Disbelief

I don’t seem to be able to enjoy science fiction and superhero movies because in those cases I just can’t “achieve” suspension of disbelief. Basically, it’s what most people do when the story involves supernatural elements. You have to assume that dudes in skin-tight spandex costumes can indeed fly and/or shoot spiderwebs from their wrists. If you can’t easily assume that, then I don’t think you can enjoy the movie / book.

I’m not criticizing the many people that do enjoy these genres. The reason I’m writing this post is because for some reason I can achieve suspension of disbelief in the world of Tolkien (ogres, goblins, dragons, mages, etc). Moreover, I enjoy the hell out of the historically-absurd genre of westerns or the Clint Eastwood-style film. “Go ahead make my day” has never seemed cheesy to me. Why do I have this double standard in my brain? Star Wars is arguably a lot more realistic than Lord of the Rings, and yet the former is a lot cheesier to me than the latter. Like most things, it probably has to do with my upbringing, and the dozens of computer games I played as a kid that were based in Tolkien’s world. It surprises me that no matter how many Nietzsche, Camus, Kafka, Dostoevsky books I read, I can still enjoy The Lord of the Rings.

I’ve noticed that these “suspension of disbelief” genres have gotten less cheesy over the years. The superhero movies now have darker human drama and character development, and westerns are no longer over the top with Arnold Swartznegger style one-liners. A perfect example of that is True Grit, a recent remake of a 1969 classic. Though Jeff Bridges will always be The Dude to me, he does an incredible job of playing a drunken badass, the opposite of Clint Eastwood in the best possible way:

0 thoughts on “True Grit: Suspension of Disbelief

  1. Azeez Hayne

    Paradoxically, I can achieve suspension of disbelief more readily the less realistic the setting is supposed to be. If the “physics” of the Marvel Universe allows for wall-crawling, that doesn’t bother me. On the other hand, people leaping from speeding cars onto other speeding cars in “our” world does bother me.

    P.S. – That trailer looks great!

    Reply

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